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Singer in the Snow Paperback – February 15, 2007

4.4 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews
Book 4 of 4 in the Singers of Nevya Series

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 7 Up–Set in the same sphere as the Singers of Nevya trilogy (Ace), this is an engaging tale of a world in which only the psionic powers of the Singers (those who use music to focus energy and light) can create enough warmth for survival. At the Conservatory, Mreen is a Singer who cannot speak but can communicate psionically. Emle is the opposite; she has a beautiful voice but cannot control her psi to produce warmth and light. When Mreen is assigned to be a Cantrix at Tarus, Emle accompanies her to act as her voice. There they meet Gwin, a girl with the Gift who is abused by her stepfather. In their efforts to help her, both come to terms with their respective issues. Astute readers will guess from the start that Emle's difficulty lies in a childhood trauma, and that Mreen's muteness may be linked to her shame about her mother, a Cantrix who broke her vows of celibacy. Nevya itself is a fascinating world, reminiscent of Anne McCaffrey's Pern. Some elements are not fully explained; for example, why summer only occurs every five years, or even how long it lasts. Still, the story should attract science-fiction fans and may inspire them to seek the Nevya trilogy.–Karyn N. Silverman, Elizabeth Irwin High School, New York City
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Gr. 8-11. This follow-up to the Singers of Nevya trilogy (1995-1997) features two young Singers with the psi-Gift who journey from their beloved Conservatory to the remote House of Tarus near the Frozen Sea. Mreen, a mute young woman of exceptional power, is Tarus' new Cantrix: one who uses music and magic to summon the light and heat necessary to survive the planet's deadly cold. Emle, whose musical talent is sublime but who for reasons unknown cannot summon a thing, acts as Mreen's interpreter. While Mreen adjusts to her new life, Emle explores the flaws of her gift and connects with a psychologically burdened stable boy. The two young women discover Tarus is a potentially dangerous place where they must work together to identify foes, find allies, and protect those who need it. Marley's unforgiving ice world is replete with both science fiction and fantasy elements that support a suspenseful and, at times, gritty story of friendship, self-acceptance, healing, and growing up. This is satisfying fare for fantasy lovers and an easy entry point for teens new to the genre, although the glossary of terms may challenge some readers. Holly Koelling
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Firebird (February 15, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142407488
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142407486
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 0.8 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,950,301 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Louise Marley, a former concert and opera singer, writes stories of the fantastic. Sometimes set in the past, sometimes in the future, and often in a curious present, her novels tend to be feminist, often musical, occasionally dark, but always with compelling, colorful, and complex characters. Louise is in demand as a teacher of writing workshops for adults and young adults.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I am not sure why this is listed "juvenile" except that it could be read comfortably by middle school readers and adults alike. The "Sing the Warmth" series by Marley is one of sci-fi's great pleasures; a trilogy, now a tetrology, about a new world where everything is cold except for one infrequent summer, years apart. That's when the Visitor arrives, a second star that adds warmth to an Ice-Age planet.

Marley is as always, clever with language. It's great fun to read her books and discover how she originated the words for her world's creatures "hruss" and "tkir" and "caeru." The concept of the Gifted, people who can warm an entire cold estate with nothing but a flute or a lute and singing is dramatic and wonderful.

In "Singer in the Snow" we follow Mreen, the child of Isbel, who in the previous novel, gave up her status as Singer by committing an unforgivable crime. But the chief Singer in Conservatory, Magistrix Siri, committed an awful crime as well. This is something pondered by Mreen's flawed assistant Emle, who can sing and extend her psi but not create the "quiru" or warm umbrella of psionic warmth that heats a bath or a mansion.

The mystery of Emle, and the people they meet when Mreen is sent off to her first post as a singer is revealed with great care. You end up caring about the characters, even though this is not a very long or detailed novel. It's a worthy fourth to the series, and I hope Marley continues the series so we can finally find out about The Ship and why Observatory continues to watch for it.
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Format: Hardcover
Singer in the Snow is Louise Marley's best novel yet. It is a very intimate coming of age story, with strong, beautifully drawn characters that strike a chord from page one. The ice planet of Nevya is captivating and Marley's background as a musician brings a sense of realism to the psychic gifts of Mreen and Emle.

Ultimately this book is a rewarding blend of SF and fantasy in the vein of Anne McCaffrey's DragonRiders and I couldn't put it down. You don't need to read the earlier Nevya books to enjoy this one, but now I'm definitely going to seek them out. Highly recommended for readers young and old.
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Format: Hardcover
In this inventive and well-told fantasy, Marley creates a world bound by ice and snow, where the daily ritual of quirna is all that keeps its residents from death. Those who create the ritual are called Singers, their ability to channel their Gift - a psionic power - and create warmth carefully trained at the Conservatory before they are sent out into greater society to serve. Emle is training to be a Singer, but while her technical skills are perfect, she can't control her psionic power. Frustrated and angry at the unreliability of her gift, she wonders what she'll do with her life if she can't become a full Singer.

When she's sent to a holding named Tarus to help interpret for Mreen, a new Cantrix with a great gift but without the ability to speak, it may be her last chance to master her gift. The novel deftly switches between Emle's point of view, and her struggles to not be jealous of Mreen's greater gift, and that of Mreen, as she struggles with the great responsibility placed on her shoulders in assuming her new position at Tarus, and with her shame over the circumstances of her birth. When Emle and Mreen arrive at Tarus they step right into a difficult situation with the apprentice hrussmaster, Luke, who is trying to protect his little sister, Gwin, from their abusive stepfather.

Marley unfolds a story that is rich with internal conflict, as each of her characters has to discover their own strength and path in life, and yet keeps a quick pace. Not strongly action-oriented, her novel is more about her characters and the decisions they face.
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Format: Hardcover
Singer in the Snow is a delightful story. Ms. Marley's writing is nothing short of lyrical (which is appropriate for a book about singers!) I was captivated by the setting and well-formed characters, and pleased by a very satisfying conclusion. Although this book is categorized as young adult, I think it has universal appeal.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Ugh, this was immensely unsatisfying.

Let me start by saying that the author's prose is lovely. The characters are well-written and consistent. The world-building is intriguing. But the plot? The story? The character development?

The only real tension in the story <spoiler>(the abuse)</spoiler> is completely ignored. It's never resolved. The plot point that the author orchestrated to be the main conflict however, fell flat. Everything was tied up too neatly, too quickly, too easily. Emle's struggle with her Gift, also resolved too easily and neatly, with no real effort on her part.

<spoiler>What really floored me was how no one came forward to bring Axl to justice for his crimes against his family. He is finally brought to justice for what amounts to stealing and selling children (which, actually, is legal in this world, yet he is punished for it anyway), while his long years of emotional and physical abuse of his family (which at one point is actually stated to be illegal), is never addressed. He's never brought to justice for it. There was some judgy-ness and victim-blaming towards the wife, who continues to stick with her abuser straight through the epilogue and for the rest of her life, I imagine. The two main characters go all passive even though they are witness to the abuse's after-effects. Horrible, just horrible. If someone, any of them, had managed to work up to confronting this abuse and having it brought to justice.....it would have been so incredibly satisfying, much more so than the contrived conflict the author shoves on us instead.

As it stands, Marley's message to the reader seems to be, "If you or someone you care about is being abused, just chill out and wait for events to take care of things themselves.
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