The Fall (Seventh Tower Series #1)

The Fall (Seventh Tower Series #1)

by Garth Nix


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Bestselling author Garth Nix's amazing Seventh Tower series is back--now with a great new look!

Tal has lived his whole life in darkness. He has never left his home, a mysterious castle of seven towers. He does not see the threat that will tear apart his family and his world. But Tal cannot stay safe forever. When danger strikes, he must desperately climb the Red Tower to steal a Sunstone. He reaches the top...and then he falls into a strange and unknown world of warriors, iceships, and hidden magic. There Tal makes an enemy who will save his life--and who holds the key to his future.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780439176828
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date: 06/05/2000
Series: Seventh Tower Series , #1
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 208
Product dimensions: 5.27(w) x 7.60(h) x 0.54(d)
Lexile: 860L (what's this?)
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

About the Author

Garth Nix is the New York Times best-selling author of the Seventh Tower series, as well as the acclaimed novels SABRIEL, LIRAEL, and ABHORSEN. He lives in Sydney, Australia, with his wife and children.

Read an Excerpt

Tal sat down at the game table, and Ethar sat opposite. Tal felt strangely calm now that he had accepted the challenge. He looked down at the seven rectangular depressions in the tabletop in front of him. He knew what they were, but he thought he’d pretend to know less about the game. That way Ethar might underestimate him.

“What order are these in again?” he asked, pointing to the rectangles.

“Head, Heart, Temper, Skin, Speed, Strength and Special,” said Ethar quickly.

Each rectangle would ultimately hold one card, and that card would specify the characteristics of the beast. The Strength card would determine the beast’s strength, the speed card would determine its quickness, and so on. When all the cards were in place and finalized, two five-inch high beasts of solid light would be produced, to battle it out in the marble circle in the middle of the table. Whoever played their cards right and produced the victorious beast would win the game.

Each card could be changed twice by using light. So even when a card was in place, and your opponent could see it, it might still change. The trick of the game was to make the other player think you were making a certain sort of beast and then change it at the last moment by altering the cards that governed its seven characteristics.

There was also luck, of course. There were a hundred cards, but each player was only dealt seven, all of which had three possible variations.

Tal hoped that he would be lucky.

Tal’s first card was a Phalarope, a marine animal that floated around in the water and had thousands of poisonous tendrils. Its only real use was in the Special category, because then the made beast would have poisonous tendrils. Tal knew that this card would change to a Kurshken if he applied green light from his Sunstone. Kurshken were small but very smart and quick lizards, so would be good in either Speed or Head.

Unfortunately, Tal didn’t know what the third variation of the card was. He had a faint memory that it might turn into a Hugthing under Red light, but couldn’t be sure. Hugthings were particularly nasty. They looked like a carpet of comfortable green moss, but could spring up and wrap themselves around you in an instant. For the game, a Hugthing card would be good in Skin or Strength.

“I will play first, if you like,” said Ethar. This would give Tal a slight advantage, so he quickly nodded to say yes.

“Heart of a Borzog," announced Ethar, laying the card down on the second rectangle in front of her. Tal looked at the card, which showed a fearsome, semi-human and very hairy creature roughly the size of three people across the shoulders. This was a good initial play. Borzogs would fight to the death, and beyond. Once they got a grip, they never let go, even when they were killed. Strong hearted indeed.

“Um, err, Head of a . . . whatever this is . . .” announced Tal, playing the Phalarope into the Head rectangle. He was going to change it into a Kurshken later on, but he hoped Ethar would think he didn’t know what he was doing.

“A Phalarope,” said Ethar. She looked at the bulbous thing with its many tentacles and added, “It does look something like a giant brain.”

“That’s what I thought,” said Tal, pretending he was relieved. “A giant brain. Perfect for the Head.”

The other guard dealt them both another card. Tal picked his up slowly. At first, all he could see was a pair of red eyes in the card. Then, he slowly became aware of an outline around them. The card was showing him something hidden in a cave or a hole, with only the eyes visible.

Then Tal remembered, and barely suppressed a shiver of horror. This card was of a Cavernmouth. They were horrible creatures in Aenir, who dug holes for themselves in the side of a mountain and then backed in and opened their enormous jaws. What he thought were glowing eyes were actually something like tonsils at the back of the thing’s throat.

In the game of Beastmaker, the Cavernmouth card was unusual. It could be played in Speed, because its jaws were incredibly fast at snapping out. Or it could be played in Special, to give the created beast extendable jaws.

“Speed of a Gorblag,” said Ethar, playing a card that looked like a large, glowing blue toad that was too fat to do anything. But one of the variations of the Gorblag card was the incredibly zappy Fleamite, an insect that could move faster than a human eye could track it. Tal knew Ethar would change that card later on.

“Speed of a Cavernmouth,” Tal countered, playing his card. He wouldn’t be changing that. Even if Ethar did change her Speed card to the Fleamite, it wouldn’t be much faster than a Cavernmouth.

“You have played before,” remarked Ethar. “Few people remember the Cavernmouth can be played for Speed.”

“I saw my great-uncle use it that way once,” Tal said, still trying to give the impression he was an absolute beginner at Beastmaker.

The game moved more swiftly then. Within a few minutes, both Tal and Ethar had six of their seven rectangles filled with cards.

“You hid your skill well,” said Ethar as she changed the mild-mannered Klatha workbeast in her Temper rectangle to the insanely vicious Vengenarl, a creature that attacked even its own kind if they trespassed over its scent-marked boundaries.

Tal nodded, but he wasn’t paying attention to what Ethar said. Everything depended on him getting the best beast. Now Ethar had changed the Temper of her beast, Tal thought he knew what to play there. But once he put that card down, his beast would be complete. Did he need to make any changes?

Quickly, he scanned the seven rectangles. Head of a Kurshken. Skin of a Samheal Semidragon. Temper . . . that was to come. Heart of a Hrugen, which was a gamble, since that was actually a kind of weed that never gave up, it grew everywhere in Aenir and seemingly could not be eradicated. Speed of a Cavernmouth. Strength of a Jarghoul, a cannibalistic strangling snake of the jungles of Aenir that primarily ate others of its own kind after weeks-long battles to crush each other to death; Special, the ability of the Gossamer Bug to fly.

Tal ran over all the variations in his head, while Ethar arched her fingers into a steeple and waited for his move.

“To see the Empress, or lose your Sunstone,” she said. “What is it to be?”

“Temper of an Icefang,” said Tal, playing his final card, locking all the others in. This was his greatest gamble. He didn’t know enough about this card or its properties. But he remembered Great-Uncle Ebbitt saying that the Icefangs of Aenir were among the most dangerous of creatures in the spirit world. They never got angry, or demoralized, or had any emotions at all it seemed. They just coldly fought to the very best of their ability, never distracted by danger, wounds, or anything else.

“And Strength of a . . . Jarghoul,” said Ethar, playing exactly the same card as Tal. “Let the battle begin!”

Both Tal and Ethar stepped back from the table as the final cards were played. No one knew how to make Beastmaker boards anymore, but everyone had heard about the one that exploded years before, every Sunstone in it suddenly igniting.

But this Beastmaker board seemed to work perfectly. The cards in their rectangles began to slowly glow brighter and brighter, and a luminous mist formed on each side of the table. Then the two clouds of mist drifted across to the battlecircle in the middle of the table, and began to slowly form into shapes.

Tal held his breath, wondering what his beast would look like. Inside his head, he urged the formless lump of bright mist on, willing it to be the best beast ever made, a champion that would win his entry to see the Empress. Soon, all his troubles might be over!

Then his cloud of bright mist solidified into a brightly colored beast. It was tall and slender, and had the general shape of a lizard except it stood up on its hind legs and had wings. Its skin was scaly and iridescent, sparkling in many different colors. Its huge, delicate-looking wings were also many colored and almost see-through.

It was pretty. It was even beautiful. But didn’t look at all tough or dangerous.

Tal let his breath out in disappointment and shut his eyes. He didn’t want to look at the opposing beast, which had also solidified out of the glowing ball of mist on the other side of the circle.

“Interesting,” said Ethar in a puzzled tone. Tal opened one eye a fraction. Ethar’s beast was really ugly. It resembled a blubbery, rust-colored ball that had three arm-legs coming out the top and three out the bottom. It had four pairs of eyes spaced around its middle, and a separate, many-toothed mouth under each pair of eyes.

As Tal watched, it flipped over on to its top legs and then flipped back again, very quickly. Then it deliberately fell back and actually bounced high into the air, without using its arm-legs at all.

Tal’s beast just watched the bouncy ball thing and stood there, its wings flickering like a hummingbird’s. It was only when Tal looked closely that he realized it wasn’t standing - it was hovering an inch above the white marble of the battlecircle.

The battlecircle began to change color from white marble to red, the sign that the combat would commence. Tal took a step closer, as did Ethar and all the guards, who crowded around.

Quickly, Tal looked over at Ethar’s cards, hoping he would see some flaw that his beast would exploit.

Ethar had played the Head of a Dofyn, which was fairly standard play, since the Dofyns were the enormously clever sea dwellers of Aenir. Then the Heart of a Niphrain Ape. The Temper of a Vengenarl. The Skin of a Blorem, which as far as Tal could remember would give the beast a skin of very resilient, thick blubber. The Speed of a Fleamite. The Strength of a Jarghoul. And finally, the Special of a Urglegurgle. Tal had no idea what that was, but now that he’d seen the made beast, he figured it had to be bouncing.

The battlecircle flashed red three times. On the third flash, Tal’s lizard suddenly shot forward, just as Ethar’s blubber-tub bounced. They met in a whirring of wings, teeth, and clawed arms - or legs - and parted just as quickly.

“By the Light!! A hit!” cried Ethar, pointing to the drops of bright emerald green blood that were welling out of the lizard-beast’s forearms.

“Mine too,” said Tal, pointing at some ugly gashes in the blubber of the bouncing beast. But his heart sank, for the blubber was very thick and the gashes did not look deep.

Before Tal had finished speaking, the blubber-tub attacked again, acting on its Vengenarl temper. This time, the lizard-beast didn’t meet it, but flew to one side, zipping and darting around in the air as the blubber-tub bounced and lunged, reaching out its multiple arm-legs to grab and rend.

The lizard-beast was too quick to be caught, but the blubber-tub was also too quick for it to easily strike. They bounced and flew, feinting attacks and withdrawals, moving so swiftly it was almost impossible to follow.

Then the lizard-thing suddenly swooped in and bit out the blubber-tub’s eye. It shrieked in rage, the first sound either beast had made, and one of its three-fingered limbs gripped the very edge of the lizard-beast’s wing.

There was a tearing sound, and part of the wing came off. The lizard-beast leaped back, but clearly it could no longer fly.

“No!” Tal groaned.

The lizard-beast made a yipping sound to taunt the blubber-tub on, as if it didn’t care about its torn wing. The blubber-tub, its eye socket bleeding, threw itself back and then bounced forward to crush its opponent.

But even without wings, the lizard-beast was very fast. It zipped sideways, and a claw struck in to take out another of the blubber-tub’s eyes. Furious, the great ball of blubber changed direction to hurl itself at the rainbow-colored lizard.

Once again, the lizard-beast got out of the way, just in time. Then it suddenly moved back, as the blubber-tub was changing direction, and bit the bulbous creature on the foot.

“Yes!” shouted Tal, punching the air. The lizard had bitten clean through the blubber-tub’s leg, severing the foot.

But it still had two on that side, and one of the other legs swung across, smacking the lizard in the head. The brightly colored beast was thrown halfway across the circle by the blow, and seemed to be stunned. It lay there, unmoving, while the blubber-tub did a flip to get back on the three good legs on its other side.

“Get up! Go lizard!” yelled Tal.

“Kill it!” shouted Ethar. The other guards shouted too, some encouraging Tal’s beast, some encouraging Ethar’s.

Slowly and murderously, the blubber-tub advanced on the motionless lizard. Then it started to bounce. A small bounce, then a slightly harder one, until it was bounding up a stretch or more. With each bounce, it got closer and closer to the defenseless lizard. It clearly intended to crush Tal’s beast to death.

Tal looked on, horrified. Even though the creatures were only created things of magical light, he couldn’t bear to see his lizard killed. He stopped thinking about everything that depended on this little beast of many colors. He just wanted it to survive.

As the blubber-tub shot up for what had to be its final bounce, Tal shut his eyes. He felt sick. Everything was over now.

Suddenly the guards roared, but it was a shout of surprise, not triumph, from Ethar. Tal’s eyes flashed open and saw the lizard-beast flying around a stunned blubber-tub, darting in to pluck out its eyes one by one.

“What happened?” he asked one of the guards who had been betting on his lizard.

“It tricked the blubber-thing,” said the guard happily. “That lizard’s got four or five layers of wing. It could still fly, and it wasn’t knocked out. Smart beast, kid.”

But despite losing more of its eyes, the battle was not yet over for the Blubber-tub. It had the Heart of a Niphrain Ape, so it could not give up. Bleeding from a dozen wounds, it lurched after the lizard, chasing it around and around the battlecircle.

“Only a matter of time now, boy,” said the friendly guard. “Well-”

Whatever the guard was going to say stopped in his throat, as the far door suddenly swung open with the screech of disused hinges. Like everyone else, Tal looked over.

Something huge and very, very dark was coming through the door. A Spiritshadow, Tal realized, but one bigger than he’d ever seen. Its head was all spikes and flanges, as wide and tall as the door, so it struggled to get through. A sinuous neck followed, but whatever body lay behind was too big, unless the Spiritshadow chose to shrink it. Suddenly Tal realized he was the only one still standing up. All the guards had fallen to their knees and were bowing in the Spiritshadow’s direction. Tal stood there gawping, till his shadowguard reached up and pulled him down by the front of his tunic.

Only then did he realize what . . . or who . . . this Spiritshadow was. It had to be Sharrakor the Mighty, the Empress’s own Spiritshadow. The Shadowdragon who alone among its kind had a name.

Sharrakor’s vast head reared up on its serpentine neck, and its jaws opened. Tal saw teeth of shadow, and swirling patterns of darkness.

Then Sharrakor spat a great glob of shadow that fizzed through the air, straight at Tal!

Tal ducked, but the shadowspit wasn’t aimed at him anyway. It struck the Beastmaker table. There was a flash of light, a sudden sizzling noise, and the still battling lizard-beast and blubber-tub were gone.

Tal looked at the empty battlecircle, where small shadows ran like water, over the side of the table and on to the floor. He cringed back as several patches flowed past him, back toward Sharrakor. Tal realized, shivering, that the Spiritshadow had spat some portion of itself. Now all those small shadows were rejoining the whole.

Tal cleared his throat, about to protest at the Spiritshadow’s destruction of the game, but his shadowguard leaped up and thrust itself into his mouth, an instant gag. Tal reached up to pull it free, but the friendly Imperial Guard gripped him as well, so he couldn’t move.

The last pieces of shadowspit rejoined Sharrakor. The Shadowdragon’s head swung slowly from side to side, as if seeking another target. Then it slowly withdrew back the way it had come. When it had fully withdrawn, the door creaked shut behind it.

Tal’s shadowguard dropped out of his mouth and the Imperial Guards visibly relaxed.

“What-” Tal began to say, but he got no further.

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George Lucas

I hope that the adventure that unfolds in The Seventh Tower will take readers on a new journey of the mind.

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Fall (Seventh Tower Series #1) 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 55 reviews.
Sassy_Frass More than 1 year ago
I have know idea how anyone could rate this book anything lower then 4 starts, and that's at the very least! I found this book amazing, and I couldn't wait to read the others when I was done. Thought I may be only on the #rd book, I think this is a wonderful series. ( By the way, why does everyone post themsleves as anonymous, I mean, how un-fun is that? Haha! XD )
Lindsey_Miller More than 1 year ago
One of the elements of writing in this genre that Nix is particularly gifted at is creating original fantasies and worlds. This series is no exception. However, in comparison to some of his other works, especially The Abhorsen Trilogy, the exploration of this world and the characters within is weak at best. The story is interesting because Nix presents the audience with a new mythology, but he rushes through the plot, circumnavigating what could be some really amazing explorations of the world he's created. As a result, it's more difficult to imagine this parallel universe and its characters and creatures, and it doesn't draw the reader in nearly as much as it could. This series breaks one large story into several books, and since each of these is easily around the high 100s and low 200s in page length, Nix could have spent more time giving description, metaphors, and poetic/aesthetic language to flush this world out. This would make everything significantly more engaging for the readers, and ultimately, foster growth and interest in the books, the fantasy, the world, and the characters therein. Ultimately, there's just nothing to bite into. -Lindsey Miller,
Guest More than 1 year ago
After reading Nix's wonderful book Sabriel, I eagerly picked this one up. However, I was disappointing to find the tale flat and uninspired. He creates a unique world but never manages to give it a life of its own. The characters and images remain flat. Instead of developing his characters or the situations, he breezes through the events, hoping that the conventions of the genre will fill in the gaps. They do not. It reminds the reader of other, better books, like Pullman's 'The Golden Compass' but 'The Fall' never manages to measure up.
kw50197 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The world of the Chosen and the Icecarls that Garth Nix has created is certainly interesting. A world that is covered in darkness by a Veil created by the Chosen. Why this is done is a mystery that is yet to be explained.Then, we have the Chosen in the Castle and the Icecarls who live circling this world of ice. Tal like all Chosen sees having free-willed Shadows which aid and protect them as normal. Those who do not possess such, like the Underfolk, are no more than servants to be lorded over. And since none of the Chosen are supposed to ever leave the Castle, it comes as a great surprise to him when he stumbles across the Icecarls who refuse to behave as servants. On the other hand, the Icecarls find the idea of Shadow magic disturbing and prohibit Tal's Shadowguard from behaving in a manner unlike a normal shadow on pain of death. The Icecarls too speak of a long ago past when they fought and drove the Shadows away. What could have happened and why do the Icecarls avoid contact with the denizens of the Castle when they are aware of them ?All of these are interesting questions waiting to be answered as Tal starts his journey back to a hostile home with an equally hostile companion.
aaron.hairstone on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Tal has a very big problem on his hands. He is about to go through a ceremony that will allow him to have a shadowguard, a guard wizards receive when they advance in rank. To participate in the ceremony, Tal needs a sunstone. Every family has their own sunstone, but Tal's father passed away, so their sunstone was claimed by another family. His only option is to steal a sunstone from the Void: a different dimension in where sunstones are grown. Tal tries to steal a sunstone, but fails, and falls in the Void, and landing in a different world. Tal must survive to find his way back to his home.This story was a good story. Magic, wizards, demons from a different dimension. I enjoyed the book.
caro488 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Nix, Garth -The Seventh Tower- Fall -Tal climbs the castle tower under n through the dark veil to steal a sunstone, falls, blown across ice, wi crosses the living sea, quest for MirraThis one, the first in the series, is by far the best. By the end I was just hoping to get it over with already!
CeridwynR on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It's very nice to know that even my favourite authors can start off somewhere utterly crap. This is the beginning of a seven-part story. And I barely made it through. Stock characters I didn't care about, too much telling about a not-very-interesting world and I can totally see why George Lucas would enjoy it (and hence WHY I DIDN'T).
vaillance on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
For readers like myself who find it difficult to become engaged in a story that is filled with abstract labels like "the Tower," "the Veil," and "the Chosen," the first book of the Seventh Tower series may prove to be an insurmountable citadel. Yet if such a reader allows for a bit of frustration and presses on through Chapter Zero and Chapter One, she might discover the satisfaction of having an unusually rich and intriguing new world unveil itself as the novel progresses.
cpotter on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Tal must find a new primary sunstone to help heal his mother and insure his family will retain their place in the Red Order. His father was lost while serving the Empress of the Violet Order. He tries several ways to obtain a sunstone but must resort to theft. He fall while climbing the Red Tower and finds himself in a land of darkness and ice.
SleepDreamWrite More than 1 year ago
Get a keystone he said. Piece of cake he thought. Poor Tal didn't know what he was in more did he, as he climbed the Tower, hoping to find a keystone to help his family. But once he does his task, things take a change but for better or worse? If I were to choose my all time favorite series? This would be it. Read this in elementary school, while also reading the Bunnicula books. Yeah even then I slowly but not quite became a bookworm just then. What caught by eye when I first got these, were to be honest, the covers. The new ones are good don't get me wrong. But there's something about the originals, something nostalgic or creepy in a way (book 2 especially). Anyway, definitely recommend this fantasy series. Their short but quick fun reads that I wouldn't mind reading again. Oh and Milla being one of my favorite females who kick butt characters at the time. Still is, next to another favorite character of mine, Xena.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Being a fan of Nix I thought I should give this series a read. It's not his best. There wasn't enough detail. The book just seemed to fly through everything instead of taking time to describe everything. I am, however, hopeful that once I get more into the series the story will start to pick up.
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