young adult book reviews & more

Mister Monday by Garth Nix

Mister Monday (Keys to the Kingdom (Prebound))Arthur Penhaligon is the kind of boy who doesn’t ordinarily stand out except for his medical condition. That’s precisely why he’s picked. So on the day he suffers from what’s supposed to be a fatal asthma attack, he receives a strange visitation and an even stranger gift—a key shaped like the minute hand of a clock. It’s because of the key that Arthur doesn’t die, but not all is well in the world anymore. Arthur is being pursued by strange and otherworldy creatures that cause a puzzling malady everywhere they do, creatures at the beck and call of a certain Mister Monday who will do anything to get his key back. Desperate to escape the deadly clutches of his adversaries and determined to put the world back into order, Arthur stumbles upon another realm in which a power struggle has endured for the better part of all time, a struggle Arthur is only beginning to understand his own part in.

As a huge fan of Nix’s The Abhorsen Chronicles, I was willing to give this unusual novel a chance. The result is what I can only describe as nonsense that somehow makes sense. The book opens with a scene that clearly belongs to another realm, so the jump from that to Arthur’s tale, set initially in a reasonably earth-like place, is a little disconcerting. From then on, the story is a mishmash of odd encounters, peculiar places, and curious characters. In all, it’s a bit bizarre, sometimes so far out there, it seems only an overimaginative child could have thought it up, and I mean this in the best possible way, children having some of the best imaginations out there. I quite enjoyed Arthur’s unusual adventures; they were completely engrossing even when they challenged my ability to suspend my disbelief. There are only two points that were somewhat bothersome to me. Firstly, Arthur seems to be remarkably mature for a seventh grader, which I haven’t decided fits with the theme or is just unrealistic. Lastly, it’s clear that Arthur and the reader have only begun to delve into the new realms present in The Keys to the Kingdom series, and although much information about this new world was presented in this book, I still didn’t feel like it was enough.

Mister Monday will be enjoyed by fans of Poison by Chris Wooding, Mirrorscape by Mike Wilks, and Darkside by Tom Becker, although I’m not quite sure it those who enjoyed The Abhorsen Chronicles, also by Nix, will be as quick to snatch this one up, as this type of fantasy is quite a bit more frivolous. Nonetheless, I look forward to catching the rest of the installments in this sure to be entertaining series.

Rating: 4.0

Review copy from publisher Scholastic

1 munch(es) :

Marg said...

I just borrowed the last book in this series. I didn't like them all, but I did like most of them, and I will be a bit sad to come to the end of Arthur's adventures.

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