Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Seventh Tower - Aenir by Garth Nix

First published in 2001.

The dream world Aenir is not a safe place. One wrong step can lead to danger, entrapment…or death. Tal and Milla must fight their way through this shifting landscape. They are searching for the Codex, a magical object that will decide the fate of their worlds. Many creatures stand in their way–from the cloud-flesh Storm Shepherds to a swarm of venomous Waspwyrms to a horrifying figure named Hazror. Tal and Milla cannot leave Aenir without the Codex. But finding it might endanger them more than they’ve ever dreamed… (

This book is by far the best out of the three that I read. The writing shifted away from focusing on the world and pushing the world and started focusing on plot and action and ‘are they going to make it out alive?’ About halfway through the book I remember thinking, ‘now we’re getting somewhere.’

So long as Tal doesn’t think because he definitely is a little on the pansy side, not to mention that superiority complex comes back into play every now and then. I don’t like reading about that because without Milla, Tal would be vulture food and he really hasn’t seen that yet. However I’ll give him points for pushing himself more than he ever has, especially with Hazror and the Codex, where he was essentially carrying a door with a dislocated shoulder out from under a mountain that was falling on them. I’d probably do the same thing without crying as much as he was but good for him for reaching beyond his comfort zone, at least physically.

While Milla is still pretty two dimensional, I’m liking her even more just because of how strong of a person she really is. Stubborn as all hell but strong nonetheless. The best moment for her is seeing her in her prime, fighting at the castle. She really is a warrior (not that I doubted that before), not to mention a real leader in a dire situation. Again, without her, Tal would have been captured because he never would have left his brother behind without Milla’s insistence. She really is a great character and is my favorite in the series.

And I really like the Geico gecko in Aenir. He’s something like a Kushkar (I believe that’s the name), this little talking, fighting, walking history book of a lizard. I want one. I wonder if he can save me money on my car insurance. I don’t know if he’s supposed to look like a talking gecko but that’s the image I immediately got from him.

There were a few things that bothered me about this one. There were a few instances of keyboard mashing here, especially with the lizard’s name and his language. It took me as long to sound out the name of his language as it did for me to read a page. Is that necessary? There were less conveniences in this one but they were still there in the shape of the Storm Shepherds and the Codex (although the Storm Shepherds were sometimes more detrimental than they were helpful so they get a partial pass). And some of Tal’s revelations just seemed kind of contrived. Like the guilt he had for taking Milla’s shadow. It’s only when he hears her name that he’s like, ‘oh yeah, I feel guilty about that.’ It just didn’t sit right with me.

Sushin is the biggest issue I have with all of the books. Even at the end of this one, with the reader getting an inkling of what he actually is, he just seems like a character there for no other purpose than to give Tal these struggles and journeys. He’s the antagonist but for no reason that we know. I want to find out what his problem is but at the same time I really don’t because I’m afraid it’s going to be something insubstantial. He’s nothing but a piece of motivating force for action at this point and I’m getting kind of aggravated by it. I like to know why my villains are the way they are. I don’t like just seeing them being evil without a point or used as a catalyst for plot in the stories.

If you can make it through the first one, I’d actually recommend reading these because they do get better as they go along. I’m not about to run out and buy the next book in the series to find out what happens (although finding out about the history of the wars and The Forgetting is pretty damn intriguing) but when I get a chance (who knows when that’ll be with the size of my TBR pile), I wouldn’t mind finishing them. I’m just not in a rush to do it.

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