Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Seventh Tower - Castle by Garth Nix

First published in 2000.

I’m having issues finding a synopsis for just this book instead of the entire series and the book I have is a three-in-one so that’s not all that helpful either. So I’ll try and sum this one up for you.

Tal has bound himself to Milla, and vise versa, in order to get himself back to the castle. In exchange for his safe return, he must get Milla a Sunstone in order for her to take it back to the Icecarls. Getting back into the castle, since Tal hasn’t heard of anyone actually doing it, proves much more difficult than climbing up a mountain. He’s pushed to the physical and mental limits that even he didn’t know he had, not to mention he starts to question his own standing in life. When Tal and Milla are captured by henchmen of Sushin, Tal’s mortal enemy for unknown reasons, he has to figure a way out of the mess he’s in and help Milla because it is his fault, after all, that she ended up trapped in his world and incarcerated in the Hall of Nightmares.

I have to say, this one is much better than the first, not only in writing style but in exposition as well. I think it had a lot to do with it shifting back and forth between Tal being someplace foreign and Milla being someplace foreign so there’s a lot more explanation going on which helps to develop the story in my head a little better. That’s not to say it doesn’t have its moments of ‘what is that?’ because it just gives you a name without a basis for comparison, but it’s quelled a lot.

By the end Tal gets over his “Milla’s barely a step above Underfolk” superiority that he carried for a large enough chunk of this book that it was still annoying. The girl saved his ass time and time again yet he saw her as beneath him, in some fashion or another. Product of his upbringing, I know, but usually, when someone stops death from taking your life, you’re grateful, not expectant that that’s how it should be regardless. Granted Milla isn’t exactly a daisy to be around but at least she doesn’t have the caste mind that Tal has.

I was getting pretty annoyed with all of the conveniences that seemed to surround Tal to help him out of otherwise futile situations. The more I see and understand these Spiritshadows and shadowguards, the more I see them as deus ex machina pieces that serve to make the journey easier for the MC, to help him out of situations he’d otherwise get stuck in. A security blankie. The things just proved too useful.

As did Uncle Ebbitt. Aside from the fact that his “wacky” demeanor felt contrived, at best, he always seemed to appear at the most opportune moments to help Tal along. When he was in the Pit, that was supposed to be an illegal holding cell. You’d think it’d be under better guard and an Underfolk with a hacksaw in a cake wouldn’t be able to get by and give it to Tal. Or how Ebbitt comes in to save the day just at the moment Tal’s able to get out of the Pit.

I did like Milla’s ability to thwart Fashnek and his crystal globe of nightmares. That, to me, made sense because she’s not of that world. She holds powers that they don’t know of so to see her exhibit something that was otherwise unfamiliar was almost expected. The execution of relaying why she had that power seemed a little forced, but the power itself was pretty cool.

With Tal leveling out and doing things for the greater good instead to protect his image, not to mention the stilts of the story getting shorter, the books are getting more tolerable. It’s decent but I’m still leaning towards this kind of high type of fantasy to not really be my thing. It’s a little much, especially when the emphasis is on the world instead of the characters, the situation or the plot.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Blog designed by TwispiredBlogdesign using MK Design's TeaTime kit.