Here's what I remember:

  • The main character's female (99% sure)
  • There is one part where she has to cross a big tundra and she has to kill a big ice creature
  • The kids in the story go to a school-like place where they train for something. I'm pretty sure they earn gems or runes or something like that
  • There's one part where the main character has to play a piece of music perfectly to earn her gem/rune thing
  • It's definitely a series; young-adult (I read them in middle school)



1 Answer 1


Sounds to me like "The Seventh Tower" series by Garth Nix. The first book had a boy, Tal, as the main character, who lives in an isolated castle-city-thing. He needs to win a competition in order to get a magic stone to save his sick mother, and accidentally ends up registering for a music competiion. He does not win (I think he was playing a flute or pipe), and is either thrown out of the castle or leaves by accident.

The later books do feature a girl, Milla, who belongs to a nomadic society living on the tundra. If I recall, she has to kill something very big when she comes of age. You seem to have combined the first and second (maybe third) books in your question.

Here is the wikipedia article. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Seventh_Tower

  • Thank you so much!!! I've been wondering about this for years!
    – user20269
    Dec 9, 2013 at 2:18
  • Nice spotting. I have the series sitting on my bookshelf, but I didn't recognize it from the description. And see the name of the first book - he left by accident. The inhabitants of the castle don't know that anything exists Outside.
    – Izkata
    Dec 9, 2013 at 2:40

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