Mister Monday (The Keys to the Kingdom, Book 1)

by Garth Nix
ISBN: 0439551234

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A Review of: The Keys to the Kingdom: Book One:Mister Monday
by M. Wayne Cunningham

Garth Nix fans have come to expect high quality, highly imaginative stories with lots of adventure and unique, believable characters. And this debut fantasy for his new series shows why.
This time ten-year-old, seventh grader, Arthur Penhaligon (reminiscent of Harry Potter), is on a mission. He has to find a cure for the worldwide Sleepy Plague unleashed by the dog-faced, bowler-hatted Fetchers of the otherworldly Mr. Monday's henchman, Noon, while chasing Arthur and setting fire to his school. He escaped them earlier when he lay paralized by an asthma attack. Then the all-powerful Will saved him by tricking Mr. Monday into giving Arthur a life-saving key shaped like the minute hand of a large clock and an atlas for navigating through space and time in the House, the Kingdom of All Reality, which is run by the Firm. With these items Arthur became the Rightful Heir to the Kingdom, much to the chagrin of the vengeful Mr. Monday and his cohorts, Dawn, Noon and Dusk, and their minions, the Fetchers, Midnight Visitors and a cadre of winged creatures and mechanized monsters, all of whom want the key back and Arthur dead in his tracks in the Secondary Realms.
To find the much needed cure, Arthur must traverse the House, which the Great Architect created from Nothing, leaving the Will to ensure Her work would continue. On entering it, Arthur meets Suzy Turquoise Blue, one of the Piper's children from "all those years ago." Suzy's a likeable Dickensian urchin with a cleansed mind and a frog in her throat-the Will in one of its many disguises. As they travel the House, Arthur tests the powers of the key and learns of the quarrels between the Will, the Seven untrustworthy Trustees, the Architect and Mr. Monday. Eventually apprehended by Noon and his goons, Arthur gets tossed into a Dante's inferno of the Deep Coal Cellar. There he meets the Old One chained forever to clock hands that constrict or expand his movements as they tick on. And the Old One-a name for Satan in some literary circles-tells Arthur in incantations and ambiguities how to escape the Cellar by the Improbable Stairs. Climbing them, the kids land in prehistoric times, the Stone Age, Ancient Greece (where Nike wings by), the Great Plague (where Suzy finds her family ) and finally in Monday's Dayroom. There Arthur defeats Monday, unites the minute and hour hands of the clock, finds the cure for the Plague and makes a deal with the Will to return home on an on-call basis.
But even as Arthur is leaving at the end of Monday's day in the sun, Grim Tuesday's grumbling about the dawn of a new day. So as sure as dusk follows dawn we know master manipulator, Garth Nix, has another set of adventures on his calendar, undoubtedly as intriguing, entertaining and well-written as these.

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