When Matt sent me an e-mail, asking me to make a review for his book, Tower of Parlen Min, I immediately said yes as soon as I saw the book cover. I admit it, I judge a book by its cover, and his book cover really got my attention.
Here’s a synopsis:
Ves Asirin, an orphaned and introverted boy with a complicated memory loss disorder, wins a trip to the TOWER OF PARLEN MIN, the home of the wealthiest inventor of the time, Jacobius Trent. There, with 19 other children, he must compete in the Sword Challenge; a series of intricate puzzles and daring tasks, for a prize of $12 million. As dazzling, glorious and liberating as the Tower seems to be for him, Ves finds that it keeps a dark and secret history that he has been unknowingly connected to for over 150 years, a secret that will define his future and destiny … if he can escape The shadow; a powerful and seemingly unstoppable, supernatural serial killer.
First of all, let me say that I’m really honored to be asked to make a review for this one. Until now, I am not sure whether or not my words are that powerful to make readers read somebody else’s work, but here’s to believing to myself. Cheers, Matt!
But, like what I’ve always been telling to everyone, not because I received a free copy of your work means I would say good things about it when there’s none. In Tower of Parlen Min’s case, I don’t have anything against it.
The story contains a lot of characters. From the very beginning, a lot of them had been introduced but don’t look further because Ves Asirin is the guy you’re looking for. What I liked about Ves is that he’s fresh and unique. An orphan and have a memory issue, making him forget everything that has happened after twelve to fifteen hours, Ves isn’t exactly the kind of hero, I think, readers would really be able to relate to, and I was having a hard time relating to what he was going through. And then there was the attitude he had shown. I guess, the only thing that I was able to do while I was reading the novel was putting myself into Ves’ shoes. “What if I am in Ves’ position?” And the answer: I would have showed other people the best I can show them because having self-issues doesn’t make me a more important person than they are.
Having said that, I liked the fact that the book was full of events. It made me want to continue reading because there is a lot of things going on but I am afraid that I was seduced by the words and not by the actions the characters were showing. They were all words, all thoughts, less actions. I mean, I know how I will imagine them but in my head, their actions are jumping from one to the other. There’s no consistency and I was having a hard time making images in my head. Consistent images, I meant. Like buffing a video on Youtube that annoys you sometimes because of slow internet connection; which also meant slow buffing, and playing of the video.
Also, the number of characters in the book are a lot. Like really, a lot. But I don’t think it would have been such a snag, or would have been a problem. I think the only thing that’s lacking from these characters, including Ves, is that they lacked growth. Like what I’ve said, number of characters wasn’t the problem. But I think it would have been better if all of them, or maybe most of them, were given the right growth at the right time, at the right place. And before I’d forget, the pacing wasn’t consistent. It was quick-paced at the beginning, then it will become slow. And then quick again. And its speed keeps on shifting from time to time.
I’m trying to keep this review as spoiler-free as possible, but Matt Xell deserves a 3.5 out of 5 stars for this. For a debut novel, this isn’t really bad. I just hope that it was given more thoughts. There were so many events that I felt gigantic but somehow, I also felt like some of them hadn’t improved that much which could have dragged the readers the way I think the writer wants them to be dragged.