Monday, October 24, 2005

Mister Monday (The Keys to the Kingdom) -- Garth Nix

I don't know why I waiting so long to start this series. I finally picked the first one up just to see if it's really YA since so many libraries have it in J. I think it's YA. Definitely middle school, and that's YA in my library...

Arthur Penhaligon is starting seventh grade in a new school. Unbeknownst to him the entire seventh grade is forced to participate in a cross country run on every Monday, and naturally he's starting school on Monday. Even though he's a severe asmastic Arthur doesn't have a note from his doctor because he didn't know he needed to bring one... he tries to do the run anyway and winds up passing out.

While he's struggling to breathe he witnesses a strange interaction between a couple of men who just appeared out of thin air. A man being wheeled in a bath tub carriage gives Arthur a key (the minute hand to a huge clock) in the hopes that Arthur will die and he can take the key back having fulfilled his part of a Will demanding he give the key to a mortal. But Arthur doesn't die and is instead revived by the Key. Thus enters Mister Monday, the lesser Key to the House, and the strangeness begins...

I love Garth Nix. I loved the Sabriel trilogy. This isn't quite as great as that trilogy (at least not yet) but it's still pretty good. It's a great fantasy about a young boy who has to save the world when all he wants to do is be home and have friends. Kids who like Harry Potter will like Arthur and this series. There's so much more to it than a simple save the world scenario. Nix has created a really unique idea that I don't want to diminish by trying to explain. Careful readers will recognize the religious allegory, but it's not necessary for the story... kids who don't pick it up won't be any less satisfied. I think younger middle school kids will like the fantasy elements and older teens will like the deeper meanings.

I can't wait to start Grim Tuesday next...

Reading: Grim Tuesday--Garth Nix
On My Nightstand: Drowned Wednesday-- Garth Nix

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