Keys to the Kingdom by Garth Nix

Review by Heather, regular contributor

Garth Nix is in the process of writing a seven-book series--The Keys to the Kingdom Series--and I wish I could read them all, but I will be patient while the author writes. The currently published books in the series are: Mister Monday, Grim Tuesday, Drowned Wednesday, Sir Thursday, and Lady Friday. I have not yet had the opportunity to read Lady Friday, but I am excited to do so.

The series starts as Arthur Penhaligon has a severe asthma attack. He is supposed to die, but a mysterious Mister Monday gives him a large minute hand of a clock right before his death. The minute hand turns out to be a magical key that saves Arthur's life, but also makes it so he is the Rightful Heir to the House. The House, created by the Architect, is responsible for recording everything that happens in the Secondary Realms, but the House has started to interfere in the Realms in ways it shouldn't. The Architect has left and now there are seven evil leaders of the House, all of them assigned to a specific day.

Arthur must defeat each leader (starting with Mister Monday), gain control of the house, and stop it from interfering with the Secondary Realms. He does this aided by the Will of the Architect (the parts of which manifest themselves as different animals), Suzy Turquoise Blue, Leaf, and others.

The tension is high, especially as the series progresses. So many things go wrong with Arthur, yet he always ends up all right in the end. All he wants is to go back home and live an ordinary life, but the people of the House keep making this impossible. He doesn't want to be heroic or brave, and he goes about his adventures not fighting strongly, but just trying his best and doing whatever he feels is right for himself and for the people around him. Sometimes he is exasperated with the whole situation, but he continues to fight to save his family and his life on earth.

The books go in many different directions--the back of the book explains it well: "On the first day, there was mystery. On the second day, there was darkness. On the third day, there were pirates. On the fourth day, there was war. . ." and so on. All the books are packed with action, tension, enjoyable characters, humor, and emotion. The setting is quirky, eccentric, and original.

The books are fun to read and fun to experience, and you become genuinely worried whether the characters are going to turn out all right.This series is currently my favorite fantasy series of its type. I love reading these books and can't wait (though I'll have to) to read more.

Recommended Readers: 10 and up.

1 comment:

  1. I've never heard of this series but it sounds really good. I'm always looking for ideas for my 11-year-old son who has read Harry Potter 20 times through. It also sounds like something I personally would like. Thanks for the recommendation. What a great blog!