Saturday, August 6, 2011

Review, Giveaway and Interview: The Tower of Parlen Min By Matt Xell

The Tower of Parlen Min by Matt Xell
published on ebook form only (amazon)
345 pages
Genra- adventure/ fantasy
Amazon- (part one) (part two) (part three)
challenges- DAC
Rating- 3.5

Ves Asirin is not your normal 11 year old boy. He was born with a rare short term memory disorder which strikes every 10-15 hours, making him forget almost everything. and once the famous billionaire inventor, Jacobus Trent, offered Ves a stay at the world famous tower of Parlen Min, Ves jumps at the chance to prove his peers wrong, that he can function normally, even with his memory loss. Ves, along with 19 other children are brought to the tower and introduced to the Sword challenge, a complicated and dangerous quest leading to a prize of 12 million dollars. as the challenge progresses Ves realises that the tower, and the people in it, are not all that they seem, and Ves is.... changing, strange things keep happening to him. and through it all there is a supernatural serial killer on the loose, one who always leaves his mark, the tarot card of death.

The Tower of Parlen Min is a wonderful novel. filled with adventure and mysteries, with fantasy and paranormal around every corner, and just enough romance. I unexpectedly loved it, and was instantly sucked in. unlike some other readers i loved the super detailed account of the incredible things the ves did in the novel. it was a wild roller coaster, but in a good way. I felt like i was really there with the characters, and enjoyed the fact that although the pov is a narrator focused on ves, there were scenes from other points of view also.  The sword challenge, and the novel itself reminded me of the harry potter series, particularly The Sorcers Stone, and the Goblet of Fire.

Characterisation was good, as was plot line. actually the plot line was better then good, all loose ends were tied, and there were elements that progresssed the story flawlessly. However i didnt like the ending which the rating down a bit. in the last 5 chapers of the book there was an unnessary ammount of violence and a large amount of innocent deaths that largely dissapointed me. also some of the fokelore confused me twards the end. I also didnt like that it is only available in ebook format, I much prefer a physical book, as to an ebook. but hey if ebooks are your thing I'm giving 5 ebook copy's away below!

Recomended? oui, (i gots my french on today! lolz)

Enter the Giveaway Here

so is that all? NO! we've also got an exclusive interview with matt Xell all about the book, Just for you!

1. Right away we find out that Ves has a memory disorder, other then it being a huge part of the plot, is there any other reasons for Ves to have such a strange disability?

When designing Ves' character I decided early on that I didn't want him to be like the previous 'boy-heroes' in the YA fantasy-adventure genre. In fact I wanted him to be more of an anti-hero in the first three books and I didn't want readers to like him right away. I went bit further and gave him the memory loss disorder to make his 'hero's journey' a bit harder and somewhat more realistic.

From the plot's point of view, Ves was not born with the disorder. I can't say to much about it yet, but someone or something supernatural is the cause of the disorder.

2. Your book, Tower of Parlen Min, takes place in a world different from our own, was there any reasoning behind creating your own world?

Orignally, the story was set to take place in this world earth, when it was supposed to be a miniseries of mystery/suspense graphic novels.

But sometime after I read Phillip Pullman's Golden Compass I started playing with the idea of creating an alternate earth or something entirely new. When I finished reading the His Dark Materials trilogy and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, watching the first half of the Naruto animated series and played though half of Disney's Kingdom Hearts video game, I decided Ves's story would be an action-adventure series of books instead ( and much more). And suddenly the world of Everlon appeared and was almost fully formed and waiting to be inhabited.

I decided that it would be world much like Earth but where some of things like myths, fables, folk stories, urban legends, religious and occult beliefs are a reality. And it became something like a magical canvas where I could paint and play around with all the crazy and fantastic ideas I'd always wanted to write about could be very real. A world where nobody would be telling me things like 'that shouldn't be possible, that's unrealistic', a world with no limits on my imaginations.

Of course there would be limits and other realistc things like laws of nature; like gravity, there must always be gravity. But it would be a world where, like in The Matrix , the laws and rules could be bent ... and even broken.

3. What inspired you to write the Tower of Parlen Min?

The initial idea came from a nightmare I had back in 2006 that was a bizarre mash-up of the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and the House on Haunted Hill movies. I called this initial concept The Tower of the Great Few.

Around the same time, I was working on some scripts for a series of graphic novels called The Narrow Escapes of Ben Benns. After I created Ves' character and that of The Dark Teenage Girl shortly afterwards, I decided to merge the two stories and came up with The Narrow Escapes of Ves Asirin. I changed the the title The Tower of the Great Few to Tower of Parlen Min and it would be the first in the series of books.

4. How did you do research (if any) in preparation of writing certain scenes?

Well after I'd established the plot and the climatic ending, it came down to figuring out how and why that had come about.

I created a template for the chapters, titled them and then created a something of storyboard of post-it notes spread across my wall.

After deciding that The Sword Challenge would be the main element or plot device of the book, I went about gathering what were bits and pieces of info on puzzles, folk stories, myths and historical events the would be included in the story.

I didn't have an internet connection at the time so I had to rely on a copy of Microsoft's Encarta 2006 whose articles gave me less than enough of the information that I needed. So then with what little money I'd have on me from time to time, I'd go to an internet cafe and download loads of articles on wikipedia as well as refference videos, pictures and artwork.

By the time I was writing the chapter Festival at Wendsil, I panicked realising that I didn't have enough info for the folklore and stopped writing. Then  a week later a light-bulb went off in my head and I was like 'If you don't have enough reasearch and factual information on any topic -- twist it! This is Everlon - Duh!' And the result was much more fascinating and fantastic than I initially thought.

5. In the book you go through an in depth description of games like Fencing, and paint ball, are you a fan of these sports as well?

Yes. I love sword fighting, and I've always been interested in the sport of fencing. The same goes for paintball. And though I've never had proper hands-on training in either sport, they're events I would  love to take a part in on an epic holiday like the one Ves and the other children were invited to. And so I thought I'd write about that.

6. When writing characters, do you often write characters based off people that you know, or entirely new characters?

I don't write about characters based on real people, though I do borrow certain elements from other fictional characters I've read about in books, novels and comics or watched in movies or TV shows. I try my best to create original and authentic characters that tell  a new story of their own, and its amazing because what happens is that they start writing themselves, developing the rest of the story and so it's almost effortless.

7. Have you always wanted to become a writer?

I've always loved fantasy literature and the visual arts, and back Junior High School I used to do a lot of penciling (I was terrible at it) and what little writing I did were comic book plots. What I wanted to be when I grew up was an IT specialist; a software programmer or a web developer.

So, no, novel writing or any serious kind of writing was never on my life-time-to-do-list.

8. What is your favorite book?

A Very Long Engagement by Sebastien Japrisot

9. How do you come up with the names for your characters/places in the book?

There's no set formula for the way I come up with the names of characters, places or things in Everlon -- most of them are just made up, really. Some of them just come to me and then I try to attach a meaning to them. Some of them are twists or mash-ups of actual names and some are just the same old names you'd find here in our world, Earth.

10. How has writing (if in any way) changed your life?

Well for one, reading through all the information and research I included or discarded from the book has certainly made me a lot smarter than I was before I started writing it, lol.

well that was awesome right? so download it, or enter the giveaway!

see y'all, and make those last days of summer count!

1 comment:

Hi guys! thanks for leaving a comment!
XO, Dana