Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy

{July 24, 2011}   Review of Tower of Parlen Min by Matt Xell

From Goodreads: 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.’


This novel is a rollercoaster ride of suspense and mystery, complete with nonstop action and a conclusion that will leave you reeling.  Needless to say, this is a great novel for all ages!  It has a very interesting premise and the prologue had me hooked within moments. Although the writing style of the prologue is a little different, reading more as an informative narrative than an actual story, it gives the reader a much-needed rundown of Ves Asirin and his life leading up to the opening of the novel.  The writing style then switches to a third person narrative, from the first chapter through the remainder of the novel, and is very well written.    

Ves, the protagonist of the story, suffers from memory loss.  Every ten to fifteen hours, he loses his memories, and if he hasn’t written his memories into his special book, those memories are gone forever.  This intriguing disability, along with a “haunted” tower, a series of gruesome murders, and a sword challenge worth 12 million dollars creates a spellbinding coming-of-age tale as Ves and his friends battle not only to win the challenge, but also to survive with their lives.

Xell is a natural storyteller, creating a unique world in which Ves and his friends thrive.  I was reminded of Tolkien while I read, Xell having the same creativity throughout this fantasy world and names for people and places, just like Tolkien and Middle Earth.  I am always extremely impressed by authors capable of creating entire worlds, complete with new species and exotic names that flow perfectly within the story.  Though the novel is quite long, each piece is important to the story, building upon itself to come to the conclusion.  The action was nonstop, and though I would have liked some down time between events, I was intrigued and glued to the pages.  Xell layers on the suspense and at times my thoughts were running in many different directions trying to piece together the truth.  I was shocked by the ending and am in much anticipation for the next novel in the series.  Three and a half stars.

I received a copy of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.


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