Spirit Singer by Edward Willett is a compelling YA mesh of various popular genres. Readers will find a bit of fantasy and horror mixed with the classic fairytale lure reminiscent of Disney and the suspense of a traditional mystery. First published in 2002 by Awe-Struck E-Books, it is easy to understand why Tyche Books decided to introduce this award winning book to their growing list of loyal followers.
There are three distinct spirit worlds. The Lower World is where the living spirits reside. The Upper World is the sanctity of the light that lies beyond. But connecting the two is the dark void aptly known as the Between World where spirits can get lost if not lead by the wise comforting guides called Sprit Singers. After somebody passes away, these specially gifted individuals transcend from the Lower World through meditative dream states into the void and safely escort the recently departed spirits along the path to the Upper World.
Amarynth is a young apprentice Spirit Singer. She lives under the tutelage of her grandfather who is the aged Spirit Singer of their small village Covedrift. But after her grandfather is mysteriously killed while guiding souls in the Between World, Amarynth is forced to seek out a new Spirit Singer to help finish her own training while investigating the evil presence threatening to control the land of the living as well as that of the dead. From her small seaside home, she journeys to faraway lands to discover there is more to fear than just the beast residing in the Between World, and how evil can span between the worlds of the living and the dead.
The story matter can be quite scary for the younger readers and might even cause lengthy discussions of faith and mortality (not necessarily a bad thing), yet the resilience and determination of Amarynth is the kind of heroic role model many readers can learn from. The character development seems gradual, but this allows the reader acceptance to grow concurrently and works well with the subject matter.
The name Spirit Singer is more than just a title for the guide through the Between World, Spirit Singer represents a strong character with fortitude to continue on under the most distressing of circumstances. This is not necessarily a vital element in the books success, but it is a noteworthy aspect readers might find intriguing and worth discussion after reading it.
Weighing in at less than 150 pages, Spirit Singer by Edward Willett is a delightful YA adventure in what could be a dark and painful place. This might sound like a contradiction, but that is what this story is about. It is a challenging journey filled with both joy and sorrow. In the end, the Spirit Singer becomes a comfortable companion, guiding the reader along in search of answers and an eternal bright light.