Above the Veil (The Seventh Tower) by Garth Nix

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Above the Veil (The Seventh Tower) by Garth Nix

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: Milla and Tal continue in their quest to preserve their word from the spiritshadows of Aenir. It's more of the same really, but you can't help but love it.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 285 Date: June 2009
Publisher: Harper Collins
ISBN: 0007261225

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Tal and Milla live in a world that's dark. It's covered by a magical veil that protects it from Aenir. Aenir might well be bathed in sunlight, but it's also full of shadows that could threaten the world below. Sunstones are this dark world's most precious commodity and, as in any world where particular resources are stretched, a strict and hierarchical society has evolved which restricts access to them to the rich and powerful.

Tal had grown up as one of the Chosen, with access to sunstones. Milla, though, is an Icecarl, and her upbringing has been much harsher, out on the ice with hardship and constant threat from predators. They've been thrown together by political machinations they don't understand. It's not an easy partnership but if they don't protect it, they know that their world is in mortal danger.

This fourth instalment of Garth Nix's Seventh Tower series sees them back in the castle of the Chosen and part of another uneasy alliance, this time with the rebel Underfolk, led by the unpredicatable Crow. Can they unite for long enough to work out what the wicked Shadowmaster Sushin is really up to? Can they reseal the Keystones? Or will they fail before they have begun?

It's always difficult to know quite what to say when reviewing a middle book in a fairly long series. You've already talked about the overall standard of the sequence in previous reviews, and so you just end up repeating yourself. As we have said three times already in these here parts, Seventh Tower is a spiffing fantasy series. It has efficient prose, effective worldbuilding, and a rattling and pacy plot. The central characters are both interesting and credible, and there's a goodly spark of conflict between them that maintains interest.

Above the Veil is more of the same. It ticks all the boxes and there's as much energy as ever; it shows no signs of flagging at all. If I had any criticism to make, it's that the wrapping up of this particular episode was slightly less satisfactory than before. It's creeping ever-so-slightly towards the cliffhanger - my particular bugbear, as you'll know - and although it's not there yet, I'd prefer to have finished the book feeling satisfied as well as hungry for what happens next. It's a mere nitpick though, and I'm sure fans of the series won't mind at all.

It's efficient and enjoyable fantasy writing, and it comes recommended to all keen readers of nine and up.

My thanks to the nice people at Harper Collins for sending the book.

They might also enjoy Cybernation by Erica Blaney, whose fantasy world also features snowy wastelands and horrible predators. Dragon Orb by Mark Robson is also great fun.

Buy Above the Veil (The Seventh Tower) by Garth Nix at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Above the Veil (The Seventh Tower) by Garth Nix at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Above the Veil (The Seventh Tower) by Garth Nix at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Above the Veil (The Seventh Tower) by Garth Nix at Amazon.com.


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