Book Review: Tower of Parlen Min by Matt Xell

Description from
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'.

Ves is unlike any main character I have come across and you find out early in the book that he's a negative thinker. I felt a little bit at ease after reading the author's own take on his character in a blog
post he did on July 17 2011 in which I quote "I mean, who wants to read a book told by an anti-social introverted orphan with memory loss disorder who has pretty much nothing to say or think about but paint a cynical view of us fun and happy people with social lives?"
There is one point in the story though that took me off guard and found myself giggling. Which matched that description exactly.  The children are put into groups and sent on a scavenger hunt-like quest. At one point Ves is so close to getting what he needs but he is confused about the very last clue. He confronts a robo-statue and (not an exact quote) he says " I don't get it." and she takes up around a 5 page explaination of her story and what the answer to the clue is and he has this attitude of (again not an exact quote) "I don't care, gimmie what I want, stop wasting my time" attitude. This robo-statue's particular story within the story was one of my favorites. I really enjoyed the girl's story, I was very drawn in, then it abruptly ends and we get this snuff remark. Threw me for a loop! But in so many ways it reminded me of people I know in real life, it's just such a boy thing to say. Asking for an explaination, the girl, of course, so happy to be asked to give her side of the story, then the boy shoots her down with the attitude. Ah, so many dating memories erupted from me!
I could not have said it any better. The best part is that Matt is a writer, and a good one at that, so his explanation of Ves is perfect.

Ves, being an orphan and winning a once in a lifetime chance of going to the tower is still very cynical especially when it comes to meeting all of the other people in the challenge. But with his inability to remember a lot of things and being in this particular situation, it's understandable. I have seen characters like him before, but never as the lead. It made for a very insightful view into a real guys persepective.
The story overall,  I had a hard time following along with parts of it. There is A LOT of stuff going on in this one. There are a lot of characters, which really did not bother me. There are a lot of stories and crossing of storylines, so you have to really pay attention, which is what I had a harder time with. To be honest most Young Adult books out there, I can sit and read in a couple of days, get the characters and their situations and move onto the next book. This one was more difficult to just breeze through and caught me off guard.
I enjoy books with a lot of action and adventure, but  I found it sometimes overwhelming. There is a new element added in almost every chapter and became like one long roller coaster with no breaks. I had to take breaks from reading to process what I read before I could go on  to the next chapter to see what may happen next. A highly evolved world with many different creatures, paranormal and supernatural beings, witches, angels etc, Just too many to name.

After reading through this review I feel that I came off a little negative, which was not my intention. I did like this story, but was caught off guard by the book as a whole and have been pondering for days. The book is long, it's intense and you have to take some parts slow.
Smashwords has the full book (word count of 143616 (approximate)) for $2.99 I would have even felt fine paying $5 or $6 for this one because of the content and the length is worth it.
It's thrilling, suspenseful, entertaining and incredibly detailed. Never boring.
This book was written for older teens, it does contain violence.

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