The Dark Towers is a novel written by Australian young adult writer Garth Nix, published in 2000 and 2001. Although published in six volumes, the work seems to have been written as one book, with the story almost imcomprehensible to anyone who didn't start at the beginning.
The books are written with a vocabulary and writing style that are even more basic than the Sabriel Trilogy, being written at a level that would be comfortable for most 5th and 6th graders. However, in every aspect but the lack of necromancy, it is at least as conceptually challenging as Sabriel.
One of the most noticable things about this fantasy novel is it foresakes the usual fantasy land of enchanted forests and medieval castles. Instead, Garth Nix creates an original land, a world shrouded in perpetual darkness, that is as harsh and as ecologically detailed as Arrakis. The world is covered in a veil of magical darkness, the only light coming from magical sunstones.
The story opens in a magical city of light, where a young boy facing a family crisis finds out his civilization (who call themselves The Chosen), despite its high level of sophistication, is not all it appears to be. Through an accident, he finds that his city is just one small part of a large planet, and finds himself adopted into a harsh, yet honorable matriarchal society of iceship based hunters.
As the story progresses, more of the lost history of the Chosen and the Icecarls is revealed, as well as the nature of the spirit realm Aenir. While doing this, Nix offers a critique of both the sophisticated, yet corrupt and rigid class based society of the Chosen, as well as the honest yet violent Icecarl society.
Of course, being written for middle school students means this isn't all social commentary. Nix shows his gifts for keeping his characters running, with every one of the chapters in the 1200+ page story ending with a cliff hanger, as the characters run to and fro in the real and spirit world, changing goals with the frequent plot twists. Since Nix also seperates his protagonists, the reader often ends up reading a chapter to get back to where they left off at a cliff hanger, and then repeating to find out what the other character was left doing.
And of course, there is a bit of romance.
Definetely one of the better combinations of thought provoking and readability that I have read lately.