Castle (The Seventh Tower) by Garth Nix

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Castle (The Seventh Tower) by Garth Nix

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: A enjoyable second volume in a seven part series. The two protagonists continue in an uneasy alliance in a smart and pacy adventure, typical of Nix's remarkably successful style.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 233 Date: October 2008
Publisher: Harper Collins
ISBN: 0007261209

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With the aid of a map from the Ruin Ship's Mother Crone, Tal makes it back from the dark ice to the bright castle with Mila in tow. Mila is still injured from her battle with the Merwin, but she is determined to fulfil her quest. She needs a sunstone if she is ever to become a Shield Maiden of the Icecarl. Tal needs a sunstone just as much if he is to have any chance of protecting his Chosen status. But the castle is fraught with danger. Sinister forces are conspiring against them and Mila finds herself imprisoned in the Hall of Nightmares with Fashnek himself attempting to control her dreams.

When I read Garth Nix, the word that springs to mind is always efficient. Now I type it, it doesn't sound particularly complimentary, but it is. His books are always enjoyable - the fantasy worlds are well-rounded, the characters are clear and distinct, the action has great energy and pace, and the writing is clean, tidy, and expressive. Junior fans of fantasy lap up everything he writes and so they should, because he ticks every box so wonderfully well. I say efficient, because I somehow imagine that these stories all exist already inside Mr Nix's head, and the writing of them is almost like a conveyor belt of production. Jacqueline Wilson says the same to me. There's a never ending supply of stories inside the heads of some writers, I think.

In the Seventh Tower series, the entire world is blocked from the Sun by an enchanted Veil which protects it from the creatures who inhabit Aenir - a spirit land full of magic and magical beasts. Aenir is lit and warmed by the Sun, but the Dark World uses sunstones - crystals grown and charged with light and heat in Aenir itself. And it's this need for light which spurs on the two central characters. Tal and Mila come from very different societies and are very different children, but their motivation is the same - survival. They must learn to overcome their prejudices and work together and they display the kind of courage that is an essential ingredient in fantasy for children.

It's super stuff, perhaps not quite Abhorsen, but it's certainly recommended by Bookbag.

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

Junior fans of the quest fantasy might also enjoy Runemarks by Joanne Harris.

Buy Castle (The Seventh Tower) by Garth Nix at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Castle (The Seventh Tower) by Garth Nix at

Buy Castle (The Seventh Tower) by Garth Nix at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Castle (The Seventh Tower) by Garth Nix at


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