The rather insidious and disturbing theme that rears its ugly head in this book is one of control and the lengths that some people will go to in order to maintain that control. As the novel develops, we begin to understand more and more about how the Council of Guardians, a body of leaders that have total power in Kira's community, cynically manipulate people and control them, even to the point of killing them, in order to maintain their power. One example is the way in which they spread the lie that there are beasts in the woods to ensure that nobody strays from restricted areas. When Anabella however tells Kira defiantly that there are no beasts, and she passes on this information to Jameison, she dies shortly after, and it is suggested that she has been killed. It is only when Matt returns that he is able to tell Kira authoritatively that the only animals he has seen in his travels are rabbits and deer.
Likewise, as Kira begins to discover, the Guardians have killed the parents of Thomas, herself and Jo so that they could gain and control their magical gifts of woodcarving, sewing and singing. When she sees the way in which the old Singer is painfully shackled, she understands that the Guardians wish to control them, not giving them the freedom to express their gifts as they would like. Note what we are told about Kira at the end of Chapter Sixteen:
She wanted her hands to be free of the robe so that they could make patterns of their own again. Suddenly she wished that she could leave this place, despite its comforts, and return to the life she had known.
Gradually, Kira realises that she, Thomas and Jo have been seized so that the Guardians themselves can control the future by making sure that the three children use their gifts to express the version of reality and the future that they would have them create.