31 July 2011

Review: Tower of Parlen Min

Tower of Parlen Min by Matt Xell
Official Website
Description: Ves Asirin wins a trip to the Tower of Parlen Min. There, with 19 other children, he competes in the Sword Challenge; a series of puzzles and tasks, for $12 million. As fantastic and glorious as the tower seems to be, Ves finds that it keeps a dark and secret history that he has been connected to for over 150 years, a secret that will define his destiny ... if he can escape 'The shadow'.
Review: Tower of Parlen Min tells the story of 11-year-old Ves Asirin, who wins a trip to the famous Tower of Parlen Min. Ves is a seemingly ordinary boy. He lives at the Orem Orphanage, and has a strange memory disorder that makes him forget everything that happened the day before. It's like a reset button on his mind. In the beginning of the book, this is mentioned frequently, and he goes to doctors to help his memory, but as he goes to the Tower, it's rarely regarded. That's one of the problems I had with the book. While at the orphanage, he cuts his wrists to remember people, and draws sketches in his scrapbook. The only time it's regarded during the Tower is when his secret gets out.

While at the Tower, Ves meets 19 other children, all of whom we are introduced to at one time. I got very confused with the children. There's only a few you have to remember: Vikey, who has a really obvious crush on Ves; Tammi, who is a high-spirited one, meaning she studies Wicca and will become a Witch one day. I really couldn't tell the different between any of the boys. I'm bad when a lot of characters are introduced, I just couldn't tell them apart.

One thing I really liked about the book was the relationship between the kids. The time isn't really noted, but I think they were there for a few weeks. And in those weeks, they got close. They all acted like a big family, and they all looked out for each other, which I thought really made the book. If all the kids hated each other, it wouldn't be fun to read.

I also liked the backstories. During the Sword Challenge, the kids have to solve puzzles, and as questions of the statues and research the Tower. There were a lot of interesting stories regarding knight and queens, and it was all very informative. At some times, it was too informative. Like for instance, the boys learn sword fighting at the tower, and someone tells Ves what sword fighting was. And it was really really like, textbook definition. It just didn't feel natural.

Matt Xell had a lot of really great ideas going in this book, but that's the thing- there was too much going on. First, he sees this girl, and he wants to unlock the mystery of her. Then, he starts hearing wolf whispers in his mind, and speaking a new language. He's also attained powers that he cannot understand or control. And he could talk to ghosts, and thats all that was just happening to Ves. You also have the murders going on in the city, and the mystery that is Ves's past. However, all these stories were interesting and ultimately contributed to the ending.

I think the experience of going to the Tower of Parlen Min made Ves very strong. He starts off as this week little boy, who doesn't know much of anything. The Tower breaks him out of his shell, and it even helps him to communicate better with people and make more friends. Like picture at the end of an action movie, the hero walking away from a burning building, not looking back. That's how I pictured Ves at the end of the novel.

Overall, Tower of Parlen Min is an action packed book full of back stories, sword fighting, and supernatural abilities.

"What had brought this change in him? Was it coming to the Tower? That was most definitely it. A lot had happened there. He’d experienced more at the Tower in the two weeks he’d been there than he’d ever had in his whole life at the orphanage."
-Tower of Parlen Min, Matt Xell

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