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Castle (The Seventh Tower, Book 2) by Garth…

Castle (The Seventh Tower, Book 2) (2000)

by Garth Nix

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Honestly I think this series has been overlooked by most, and that's a shame. I absolutely adored it when I was younger. Nix creates a unique and fantastic world. Alone, each book is relatively short and not especially satisfying, but the entire series is a wonderful adventure. ( )
  Tigerlily12 | Jul 9, 2014 |
I'll do a full series review when I'm done ( )
  ayla.stein | Jul 14, 2013 |
Like The Fall, Castle is a short and easy read, aimed at reasonably young children. It's quite simplistic, but that doesn't stop it being fun. It's not very complicated, but that makes it a nice read to relax into, and I do still love Nix's worldbuilding. There's more there in the background than you think, when you stop and wonder about it: for example, now I'm wondering about the Crones, about what's up with the dream stuff, about the origins of the Castle, about what exactly Aenir is, about Ebbitt, about... You get the drift.

Each book ends on a cliffhanger, which I'm already beginning to find irritating. Still, in the Keys of the Kingdom books, Garth Nix proved quite good at varying the formula of his endings and openings, so I have hope.

My medievalist trained brain wants to compare the Icecarls to the Norse -- drawing parallels along the way with Tolkien, and Northern Courage -- but I don't think that's quite right. Some similarities in society, and alliterative poetry but not quite of the same metre. ( )
  shanaqui | Apr 9, 2013 |
Strong male and female protagonists

- In medias res--can’t stand alone; some POV shifts weaken the tension

This is the second of a 6-book series intended for younger readers. If it is an indication of the next several volumes, they really should be read more as serial installments than as related but separate narratives. I will review them with that assumption unless a different approach is warranted.

Castle continues in a seemingly picaresque style, but as protagonists Tal and Milla progress in their quest, it becomes clear that their personal concerns are embedded in a much larger context of history, politics, and intrigue. These broader elements suggest that what appear to be unrelated plot points will be revealed later as part of a greater pattern. Certainly Tal’s adventures among the Icecarls appear to be more fate than accident from the vantage of the end of Castle. The penetrability of the Castle mirrors the vulnerability of the society of the Chosen. Presumably phenomena such as the Veil, rather than simply serving as a starting point to establish alienness, will ultimately be linked to this world’s history in ways that are not yet evident to Tal and Milla; indeed, they are only at the beginning of their realization that there are questions to be asked.

I would have liked to see more evidence of Ebbitt’s eccentricity and arcane knowledge in The Fall; in retrospect, he seems too sketchily drawn there, even considering Tal’s age and relative lack of interest. I found his role in the Hall of Nightmares completely plausible; his actions related to Tal’s ring much less so. Only another few sentences would have vastly improved this scene and underscored some of the differences between Sunstones; without it, the scene seems deflating. Why do everything Tal has done if the solution to one of his problems is so easy? If it’s so easy, why didn’t we hear from Ebbitt earlier? Alternatively, a sentence or two from Ebbitt about why he was not more forthcoming about his secret knowledge earlier in Tal’s life, or even earlier in his quest, would go a long way toward character continuity.

The mood of Castle is somewhat darker than The Fall, and the shadowguards and Spiritshadows evokes both Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy and the demons of Stroud’s Bartimaeus trilogy. Structurally, Castle is a good companion piece to Heinlein’s Orphans of the Sky (sadly, apparently out of print), mirroring many of its events and images. If I were still a high school English teacher I’d use the two as a compare/contrast activity to highlight how “story” may be similar but “plot” different in different narrative frameworks. ( )
  OshoOsho | Mar 30, 2013 |
After being pleasantly surprised by the first Seventh Tower book, I had slightly higher expectations for Castle, and they were met. While Tal and Milla aren't exactly the smartest or coolest characters ever, their adventure certainly is interesting and Uncle Ebbitt makes another appearance, and he probably -is- the coolest character ever.

I'm really liking the world of Seventh Tower, and I hope there's more information about what's really going on in the next books. ( )
  BrynDahlquis | Mar 17, 2012 |
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The Ruin Ship had rested in the foothills for many centuries.
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Upon escaping from the castle, Tal is found by Milla, an Icecarl marauder intent on killing the boy. But soon the two find that they must work together. As they struggle to find a place for themselves in the intricate Castle World, their two worlds collide, one a home for the spirit and intellect, and the other a realm of aggression.
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"The Dark World is a place of ice, wind, and fury. A veil of black covers the sky. In all the world, only the Castle shines with light..."

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