Review: The Singer of All Songs. The Chanters of Tremaris 1 by Kate Constable

singerCalwyn has never been beyond the high ice-wall that guards the sisters of Antaris from the world of Tremaris. She knows only the rounds of her life as a novice ice priestess, tending her bees, singing her ice chantments, and dreaming.

But then Calwyn befriends Darrow, a mysterious Outlander who appears inside the Wall and warns of an approaching danger. To help Darrow, to see the world, and perhaps to save it, Calwyn will leave the safety of the Wall for a journey with a man she barely knows–and an adventure as beautiful and dangerous as the music of chantment itself.

304 pages
Scholastic
published in 2002

  1. The Singer of All Songs
  2. The Waterless Sea
  3. The Tenth Power

When I picked up this book I was actively looking for a short fantasy novel. And that is exactly what I got. There are a few things that could have been done better, but overall I enjoyed reading it and already want to continue with the second part.

Although it is the first part of a trilogy, it can be seen as a stand-alone. There’s no cliffhanger in the end and the storyline gets a solution. There’s still room for more but no questions are left unanswered and you don’t HAVE to read on.

The story is a traditional Quest Fantasy, that focuses on a small group of people who are trying to stop an evil from enslaving the world. Heard before? Yes, me too πŸ™‚ Magic plays a big role and can only be created by chantments. There are 9 different kinds of magic but every chanter is only able to use one. The magic system as well as the world are not very detailed, but it is enough to give me a good impression and not think it is lacking something.

Only a few characters are in the spotlight, mainly our little group of heroes. Calwyn, a 16year old priestess who knows ice chant, is our main character. She does have shades of Mary Sue but only slightly. She is somewhat special when it comes to her magical abilities but still acts like a teenager sometimes and makes stupid mistakes. All in all she is a likeable main character. The other characters include another chanter, Darrow, who can control inanimate objects, 2 of is friends who conveniently own a ship and later on a nerdy science fan and a rebellious wind singer. I liked to read about all of them and their interactions were well written and believable.

The main part of the story is basically a hunt for the evil sorcerer, Samis, who wants to learn all chantments and control the world. The characters, who are stuck on a ship for a good part of the action, clash with each other and struggle with their task. It’s not all happy times, ‘we are confident that we will defeat the evil sorcerer, yay yay!’. Lots of the characters need to be convinced to go on, not lose hope and be brave and one of them wants to run away all the time. There’s also a really nice slow burn romance. Nothing really happens in this book, so far there are only hints. I liked it a lot.

What I didn’t like was that some magical artifacts were thrown into the mix and how the group always suddenly met the mean guy in totally random spots. Like the middle of the ocean. I also don’t really know why it is so hard for normal people to master more than 1 style of chantment while it seems to come so easily to some. A bit more explanation on the magic system would have been nice. Ending was a let-down. Random, disappointing, lazy.

I will forgive the author for it because I enjoyed reading the book and will continue with the series.

One comment

  1. Somehow, I’ve never even heard of this! Weird because it sounds really fun, with the magic systems and the slow-burn romance- even if the plot relies on some coincidence, haha. Thanks for highlighting it πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

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