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Number Four

Just Finished?
Mister Monday - Book One of the Keys to the Kingdom series by Garth Nix. (Fantasy; Young Adult)

Reason for Reading? After not really enjoying Jim Butcher's work, I wanted to read something that was both light and that I knew I'd enjoy. I knew this book fit the criteria. Also, I read this book almost five years ago now, in my first year of university. I have not, however, read the following books in the series, despite the fact that books two and three have been sitting neglected on my bookshelf for almost the same length of time. I decided it was time to get back to them, and I thought that it might be a good plan to refresh my memory of the first book before I moved on to the later ones.

Was it Good? Yes, of course it was. If it wasn't, I wouldn't care about rereading it or reading any of the later books in the series.

Why? These books appeal to me in the same way that the Harry Potter books do - that is, fantasy for young adults that doesn't assume that all children are idiots, all adults are idiots, OR that all children are just eagerly waiting around to encounter their first true love. (All these are things that cropped up frequently enough in the young adult books that I encountered when I was young adult that I pretty much wrote off that whole section of bookstores until I was an adult and I was willing to give another shot. In fact, prior to the Harry Potter books, the only young adult books I can remember reading and enjoying were the Animorphs books.) Whoa, there's a tangent for ya.
Getting back on track, I like these books because they are intelligent fantasy for young people. Nix has clearly done historical and mythological research for this work, but is in no way trapped by it. There are references to several different mythologies; some obvious, some considerably more subtle. This (of course) appeals to the nerd in me.
The characters are interesting and (the human characters at least) are people you can relate to. The best part of this book in my opinion, however, is the world that Nix sets up. It is both sensible and nonsensical in a way that is rarely found in adult fantasy books. I find it to be crisp and imaginative, and for all that Nix writers darker young adult works than most young adult authors, still pleasantly innocent.
I would go into greater detail about the world, but I think that to do so when give more spoilers than I am comfortable giving, even with a spoiler warning.

In short, this book is NEAT. I find myself wondering about what sorts of natural laws would apply to the universe within the book, if any.

What's it about? It's about a boy named Arthur, who, like the vast majority of main characters in young adult fantasy, finds himself drawn into a greater destiny than he had thought he would have. In this case, he is named heir in another (sorta) world by a Will, and he must venture to this world to claim his, er, inheritance. It's had to describe without spoilers, but suffice to say he confronts plagues, bureaucracy, frogs in the throat, and creatures of Nothing. It is quite fantastical, in the truest sense of the word.

Who's your favourite character? Probably Arthur, the main character, actually. It's rare that I like the main character best, but there it is.

Favourite secondary character This is interesting. You see, the first time I read this book, it was easily, EASILY, Monday's Noon. But on the rereading, I find myself more fond of Monday's Dusk, the Will and Suzy. I also quite like the Old One, but there wasn't enough of him to say he's one of my favourites. I'm not quite sure why this has changed, but I *still* love the fact that Noon has (literally) a silver tongue.

Would you recommend this book to others? Yes. Yes, absolutely. I would also recommend this book to a really wide range of people. Young and old, long time fantasy fans and people who've never read fantasy before in their lives.
I would especially recommend this book to people who have been feeling a little melancholy without any new Harry Potter books to read.

Anything Else? As you may have gathered from my frequent comparisons to the Harry Potter series, I think this series is woefully unknown in comparison, and deserves the same sort of exuberant attention that JKR's books got. I know that I would eagerly attend a release party for these books. (I have to admit, the only thing that ever made me sort of wish that I could stomach the Twilight books was seeing the line-up for the release of Breaking Dawn. I'll be honest - I really miss those midnight lineups. And the movie lineups just aren't the same.)
I think the imagery in this book is Phenomenal. I can see everything in this book so clearly in a way that most books don't grant. It makes me want to draw boat loads of fanart for it, which frankly, is rare. I thought that this desire might have diminished on the second reading, but it has not. I may, in fact, have to draw fanart for this, just to quiet my brain some. I haven't yet only because I'm unsure I can do it justice.

Up Next?
Grim Tuesday - Book Two of the Keys to the Kingdom Series by Garth Nix.

Why? It's next, isn't it? Honestly, as soon as I put down Mister Monday, I grabbed this off the shelf. I got through a few chapters before I remembered that I should
1. Be writing this review
2. Do some work on a bunch of things before I glue my nose into another book.

Hopes? High. Looking for fun and adventure. So far, it's delivering.

Want to know who's read this book before you? Yes, at least partially because I want to know if other people are as enamoured by this series as I am.
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February 2012

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