Shadowguard, shadowguard, show me the end.

Who wrote this book and when?
Garth Nix, one of my favorite fantasy writers, began this series in 2000.

Has there been a film made from it?
No.

Who are the main characters?
Tal – a Chosen one of the castle of Seven Towers
Shadowmaster Sushin – the leader of Tal’s “color level” (a type of caste), he has it out for Tal and his family
Great Uncle Ebbitt – Tal’s eccentric great uncle, although demoted to the lowest social caste, he has strange powers
Milla – one of the Icecarl, she hates Tal
Shadowguard – Tal’s bound shadow, sworn to protect him

What’s it about?
Tal is one of the Chosen in the castle of Seven Towers – a place lit by sunstones and clearly defined by social protocol. When his father mysteriously disappears and is presumed dead, Tal is left without the major sunstone needed to complete his coming-of-age ceremony. After trying several ways of obtaining a new one, he’s forced to attempt to climb the tallest tower and steal one – which puts him into a situation he never expected.

Why should I read this book?
If you’d like a slow entry into the complex fantasy world writing style of Garth Nix, then I’d suggest these books.

Anything else?
I get the feeling I would enjoy this series as one long book as well. Less trips to the library that way.

Personal thoughts:
It’s hard for me to judge this book since it represents my first foray back into YA fiction in nearly six months. After tackling “classic” novels and stories which were nearly 600 pages long, this 195 page book caught me off guard. I’ve settled into feeling I have at least a hundred pages for character development and plot introduction, not to mention room to spare for details. But with YA fiction, you don’t have that luxury. Teens have short attention spans. So all of a sudden, I was dropped into a fantasy world with no introduction or point of relationship to my own.

However, once I was initiated, Nix’s magic did it’s thing. He has an incredible ability to create. If any of you have read his “The Old Kingdom” trilogy, you’ll know what I mean. This story, while much more accelerated than any of his previous works, still is a great read. He has set himself up nicely for a wonderful series, including honest and believable characters and a sense of intrigue leaving you ready for more.

I was torn in how to review this book. It’s quality encouraged me to review it somehow, but since I have never reviewed a series before, the presentation aspect was tough. So, I’ve decided to review each one individually, but only answer the questions whose answers will change with each installment. I hope it works…

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