Tal is a Chosen; a manipulator of light through the precious Sunstones-- all that gives light in his world, eternally dark beneath The Veil. He lives in the seven-turreted Castle; the only human dwelling in all the dark world, with a level and a tower for each color. All he knows is the well-ordered systems of learning, family life, and efforts to advance his family through the colors (Red being the lowest rank and Indigo being the highest), despite the constant threat of demotion (down to *shudder* a color-less Underfolk). Once a year, his family Ascends into the spirit realm of Aenir, where light and color still reign, and where one day he will bind a spirit being to himself to become his Shadowguard, taking the place of his natural shadow and becoming his life-long servant and companion. However, lately trouble has beset Tal's family; his father has disappeared (and with it the family Sunstone, their only way to Ascend to Aenir), is perhaps even dead, his mother sickens and hovers on the brink of death, his younger brother has been kidnapped, and enemies he does not understand are suddenly dogging his every move. In a desperate attempt to procure a new Sunstone to save his mother, Tal falls from the Red Tower, into a world he finds is not so dark and empty as he always believed. So much of what he thought he knew is now being challenged, especially by the fearsome would-be warrior girl Icecarl, Milla. The unlikely pair find themselves bound to one another and to a Quest-- to return to the Castle (no small feat across the dark world of Ice) and obtain two Sunstones; one for Tal, and one for Milla's Clan. The closer they seem to reaching safety and their goals, the more questions are raised, and the more perilous their situation is revealed to be. Who exactly is hunting them down? Why was their world Darkened in the first place? What is the shared history of the Icecarls and the Chosen? Who is right, and who is wrong? Whom may they trust? With each youth bearing the hopes for the survival of their families, Tal & Milla overcome barrier after barrier with a determination born of both honor and desperation. They may even find themselves friends by the end of it.
A gripping series that will leave you tearing through each installment at the speed of a Merwin... or at least a Wreska.