The Seventh Tower #4
Above The Veil
by Garth Nix
Published by Scholastic
Scott's Rating: 4 out of 4
First up, it is important to note that this is NOT a Star Wars book. It is a new series of fantasy books produced by Lucas Books, the publishing division of Lucasfilm. This is the fourth book in The Seventh Tower series.
Tal and Milla are pursued through the lower levels of the castle by Sushin and his henchmen. They escape and hook up with Crow and his friends (seen in the second book). Crow reluctantly leads them to Ebbit, Tal's uncle, who has been in hiding. There they finally put the pieces of the puzzle together and figure out Sushin's plan. He is going to destroy the Veil and allow the Spirit Shadows from the other world to invade their own.
Having reunited Tal with his uncle, Milla returns to the Ice. She must alert the Crones to Sushin's plan and face her punishment for returning from Aenir with a Spiritshadow. But will her fellow Shield Maidens kill her before she can deliver her warning?
Meanwhile, Crow and Tal go on a mission to recover one of the Keystones, one of the sunstones keeping the Veil intact. If they can snatch it before Sushin, they can foil his plan. However, Tal is suspicious of Crow's motivations for joining him. They make the perilous climb up the tower to again face the rogue Keeper Spiritshadow.
A lot of people wrote me saying this was the best book so far in the series, and I have to agree with them. Now that we firmly understand the rules of this world and everything in it, there's very little time spent on exposition. Every page is devoted to action, intrigue, and moving the plot along. Nix is freed up to flesh out the characters more, too. This makes it a very satisfying read for me personally.
Milla's return to the Icecarls is interesting. We learn a little bit more about those people and their culture. And since they're a rather violent lot, you know there's a good deal of action involved.
There are some more cool and bizarre locations in this story. The group visits a molten crystal lake that is beautiful and deadly. They also fall into a pit filled with large spiders. The final battle in the tower is also impressive. The book leaves off on a cliffhanger. Looks like the next book will be fairly impressive, too, if the trend continues.
If I was going to point out any problems, it would be that everyone Tal hangs out with wants to kill him. First Milla, then Crow. It's kind of the same song and dance all over again. But it's better than them both being close friends, eh? Too bad we have yet to find someone that likes Tal besides his own family.
And why do the characters look like they're wearing nightgowns on the cover? They don't exactly catch the eye of young readers passing by.
I wish the Seventh Tower series had been this engaging from the start. It would have given it a better shot. (Then again, sales may be increasing all the time. I don't know.)