Book Review – Lord Sunday by Garth Nix

Title: Lord Sunday

Author: Garth Nix

Format: Hardback

Published: 2010

 

It is hard to believe that after all these years of having started the series and then abandoning it that I am finally here I have finally reached the end of this seven book series. After finishing this book I had to sit on my thoughts and feelings for this final book and the series as a whole because the ending was not what I had expected and even now several days removed I am left without words on how the book ends. My fellow reviewer Sara and I talked a bit about it and all I could do to express my feelings and thoughts was to gesture vaguely with my hands and make a questioning non committal sound.

 

The general flow of the story and the start of it was gripping. As I am reading the book I am on the edge of my seat as each thing happens. The book took the ante and upped it compared to the other books. The book moved between three main characters which was Arthur, Leaf, and Suzy and I did not find myself bored with any of the characters at all. While one chapter would end leaving me clamoring to know what happens next with the character that I was just reading I wasn’t tempted to skip because the person I was being made to read next was boring and everything from every perspective was hinged on the other a lot of times it very much felt that everything was all happening at the same time and it was important not to jump ahead any.

 

There were a lot of great twists and turns and some great characters in the story and I had a lot of fun reading. The story starts off right where the last book ended and Arthur found himself not being himself once more and becoming more than just a human which would have been annoying if it happened for the whole book but it didn’t and then shortly into the story – (spoilers, if you don’t want to know skip to the last paragraph please) Arthur is captured by Lord Sunday and is threatened to be tormented until he relinquishes the keys of the house to him. The torment is that of the Old One’s torment we saw in the first book, where his eyes will be ripped out every 12 hours.

 

With time ticking for Arthrur we find Leaf trying to get help for the sleepers that Friday had taken and in which she is being chased after Sunday’s Dusk to be taken as leverage against Arthur and Suzy is trying to get to a place where she can get help for Arthur as well. The story is complex and you are left thinking the Will is possibly evil something you have felt from near the start. Everything ends up culminating together, for there to be a large battle which was a good read and had a great clip to it – literally my nose was stuck in the book. Then came the end and that is where I was left wanting and maybe a little bit bothered. My normal rule is not the discuss the end of the book by far the end of an entire series but it was so lacking that I really want to discuss it and share, so if you are okay with spoilers but not knowing the absolute end please skip to the last paragraph other wise for those people who jump to the end of the book and read that first plunge forward with me.

 

At the end Arthur frees the last part of the will and takes the last key. There are a few old favorite characters with him like Dr. Scarmandos, Fred, Suzy, and Leaf. When the Will combines the Nothing is practically on top of them and then there is Nothing literally. Everything absolutely everything is gone, the house and all secondary realms are destroyed, all that is left is Arthur in the void but transformed into something more – he is the New Architect. The Will and the Architect design was for everything to be destroyed because the Architect was old and tired and wanted things to end for her and the only way that would work is if everything was destroyed – but it’s okay because Arthur who is not really any longer Arthur but the new Architect can rebuild everything how he wants. He debates what he wants to do and remembers the vague concept of who he was. He can’t bring back the house as it was save for the few people that were near him at the destruction of everything and he can restore the secondary realms as they were which includes the bombed city of his old home. He does this and splits a portion of himself who is the old Arthur and sends him and the recreated Leaf back with the news that Arthur’s mother, who was in the house at the time Nothing hit, is gone forever; so go home and deal with that and believe you are normal when really you aren’t.

 

Then the epilogue gives nothing more than to say the New Architect took on a less spectacular form and looks like a 21 year old Arthur who is talking to Suzy who asks about being older and apparently is, as she is okay with her reflection (no description here) and then Suzy asks if Arthur will remake the house and the few others. The Architect known as Art thinks he might make the house only better and he’s not sure if he’ll remake the others but decides to have some tea and biscuits with Suzy who is to be the new Lady Sunday. Literally the end. I was massively left wanted this epilogue was only 2 pages tops. I know as a young adult/children’s book words and page count are something to keep in mind because of the reader but seriously a sentence more about how Suzy looked wouldn’t have hurt things nor would a page or two more giving a better summary of things, though really what sort of crap is this? Sorry your mom is dead, good luck explaining that to your family who knows nothing of what you’ve been through. Sorry your attempt to save your city as well failed. Go have a ‘normal’ life and I’ll drop the bomb that you are not mortal later when it is more convenient. Of course, those aren’t my only complaints but we went through as much as we did for it just all be sort of erased with some sucky results. Yeah I was in shock at first but now that I’m writing I’m kind of mad!

 

Any way, for those who are joining me after skipping a few previous paragraphs due to spoilers I will state that while I started this review almost shocked and speechless I’ve become rather frustrated with the end and it was vastly lacking based on the journey the rest of the story took you though. I’ve looked into another book series by Garth Nix in the past and did have ideas of picking that series up to read and review but now I almost hesitate. Will he pull the rug out from under me again like he did with Keys to the Kingdom? I don’t know but I do know that I’ll think twice before I jump into more books by him. Over all I think I would give this book a 3 out of 5 pages because of the ending it would have had a solid 4 out of 5 pages if the ending had not been so lacking and enraging.

Book Review – Lady Friday by Garth Nix

Title: Lady Friday

Author: Garth Nix

Format: Hardback

Published: 2007

 

It is hard in some ways to fully give an opinion on this particular book in the Keys to the Kingdom Series. This book took me far longer to read than I wanted as there was a week in which I was unable to read due to time constraints. I know that there was also the problem that the book was a little slow to get into but once I was in, I enjoyed the book .

 

Lady Friday picks up right after the events in Sir Thursday and it continues forward as Arthur is tricked into being transported into the Middle House with a quest to take the 5th key that was left behind by Lady Friday who abdicated her position and challenged Arthur, the Piper and Superior Saturday to be the first to get the key.   Considering the challenges Arthur faced, he determined to get the Will first as it would help him against his other foes.

 

The store progresses forward and we learn about the middle house and the army that the Piper made out of nothing. The army is known as newniths and Arthur is met by one who is set to watch over Suzie and Fred both of whom escaped the piper to help Arthur in his new quest to get the will before he gets the key.

 

While Arthur is facing his own adventure Leaf his friend is wakes up in a sort of hospital room where sleep walking people are being taken to another realm by denizens of the house. Leaf is compelled to follow the denizens and the sleep walkers as her favorite aunt is part of the mix. She is discovered as being awake and works to try and let Arthur know what is going on and where she is as she tries to rescue her aunt.

 

The two stories intersect in the end and things do get concluded, if I say anything further I will be giving away the end of the book and the lead up to the next book which I’ll be interested to read as this book heavily led up to the next two books as have some of the other books such as Grim Tuesday – which had the denizen of Superior Saturday working against Arthur.

 

Over all, the story was pretty good though the parts with Leaf were quite boring to be honest, and I felt like the end of the story was a bit rushed to reach a conclusion, particularly when I compare the end to the pacing of the rest of the book. I still in enjoyed the book though so I think I would give it a 3 out of 5 page review.

Book Review – Titan’s Curse by Rick Rhiordan

Title: Titan’s Curse

Author: Rick Rhiordan

Format: Hardback

Published: 2007

 

After reading a whole slew of books from the Keys to the Kingdom series, my brain was set for one sort of adventure than the one that Titan’s Curse provided me. That isn’t to say that the story isn’t a good one, it just took me a while to get into it. Yet once I did get into the story I was pulled in. The action and adventure in the book was quite good and a decent story was crafted with some additional new and interesting characters.

 

Of the characters that we are introduced to I think oddly enough my favorite was Apollo. I loved how he was interpreted and he was a joy to read even though his part in the story was small. Still he was a lot of fun to me being kind of one of those cool uncle type characters that was all about having fun and having the cool car that drove the sun across the sky. Honestly and truly a lot of fun in my opinion.

 

Anyway this story is a bit different from the previous stories in which Percy goes on a quest with Annabeth to fight off the evil plots of Luke and Kronos. Instead within the first chapter (or by the second) Annabeth is pretty much taken out of the story and will not be the person Percy will travel with. He travels with a whole new cast of character that you get to know in this book the only familiar character in the man story aside from Percy if Grover.

 

Over all, I enjoyed the book but I do have one complaint it is an issue that I dismissed in other books thinking it was an idiosyncrasy on my part or a matter of fatigue and slight drifting attention (as the world outside of the book has a way of drawing our attention even from the best of books). Yet this book it was very clear that Rick has a way of jumping scenes without warning or preamble. There were points where I would be reading along and had to stop flip back a page and make sure that I didn’t miss something, the gears switched so fast and without warning that it put me off. I know that this book is designed for a middle grade reading level and so some descriptors and development moments will be skipped, glossed over or even summarized. This is fine for the level of reader that this book is but honestly I think Rick would not have been amiss with just a sentence or two of transition here and there instead of something along the lines of ‘the battle is won’ on this page and the next page everyone is chill and going ‘find your cots we are bunking for the night’ at a vastly different location than where the battle took place. It takes a few paragraphs to gather that the characters have continued their travels and nothing interesting happened till just then. This was frustrating and broke me out of the story a few times.

 

In the end, I think, despite the jumping scenes , that I would still give this book a 4 out of 5 pages as it was still an enjoyable read and I do have intents to read the next book in the series but not before I get through the pile of books that are sitting in my living room and riding in my bag.

Book Review – Drowned Wednesday by Garth Nix

Title: Drowned Wednesday

Author: Garth Nix

Format: Paperback

Published: 2005

 

Having finished the second book in the series and having a good steam rolling I decided to take the time to read the next book in the Keys to the Kingdom series Drowned Wednesday. I approached this book with trepidation because this is the book I had petered out on back when I was first reading the series, I’ve always wanted to read the subsequent books because the titles and covers looked quite enticing but I only go half way and find myself bored and giving up. As I started to read the book my co-worker and co-blogger Sara remarked how she had read some of the series and recalled petering out on this very same book.

 

As the third book in the series this book I felt was anti-climatic and was one of the obligatory water adventures. I feel like almost every book series of this nature has an underwater or sea faring adventure and it is rare that I have found the book to be all that compelling. I can think of one exception to that rule which is The Lost City of Faar by D. J. MacHale. With that said, I worked my way though a rather dry book – despite the abundance water found inside.

 

In this book Arthur is suddenly captured and taken into the Border Sea of the house to have a luncheon with Drowned Wednesday the holder of the next key and the anticipated main villain of this book as are all the other trustees in the other books thus far. As a villain Drowned Wednesday was rather anticlimactic as were other struggles that Arthur faced in this adventure. There were only two moments of true interest and intrigue for me and that was when Arthur met up with a friend of his Suzy who had been an aid in his previous adventures was acting completely out of character for a moment. This scene would have made me flat out hate the series before Garth redeemed himself and the scene very quickly making it something amusing rather than frustrating.

 

The other scene that held my interest was the last 2 page chapter which was actually the set up for the next book. It took grim determination to get through this book and based upon what I’ve already read of the next book I’m glad I did force myself through this book to get to the rest of the better story. Over all I would give this book a 3 out of 5 pages and warn that it is a difficult book to get through unless you are big on sea faring adventures.

Book Review – Grim Tuesday by Garth Nix

Title: Grim Tuesday

Author: Garth Nix

Format: Hardback

Published: 2004

 

Grim Tuesday is the second book in a series of seven known as the Keys to the Kingdom series each book named after a day of the week. The first book Mister Monday was a book I reviewed a long while ago. I had a desire to go through and finish the series but needed to re-read the first two and a half books in order to do so. In my review of Mister Monday I expressed that I was bored and kept tying to remember the events of this book as the events of that book. Coming to this book I knew there was less to get confused and there was only one event that I wasn’t sure it if was this book or the next that I remember reading it but I was certain it was the next book – but overall it wasn’t a major event and didn’t disturb my reading.

 

Going through this book a second time wasn’t bad – the book held my attention and it was vaguely amusing. Having a familiarity with the book I began to wonder how the main character Arthur got out of one situation that I didn’t remember at all to the next situation which I remembered. Over all I did not remember much of the book but one main event which made things a whole lot easier to read.

 

The general plot of this book picks up where Mister Monday left off. Arthur awakes to a new day (Tuesday) glad that the events of Monday are well taken care of and happy to live his normal mortal life for the next several years to discovered that Grim Tuesday has set out to collect a past debt left behind by Mister Monday that Arthur now owes. Arthur finds that everyone is in financial ruin and there are Denizens (the people/creatures of the house where Mister Monday and Grim Tuesday reside) causing problems as well.

 

Despite the fact of not wanting to go back into the House and fight another trustee (as Mister Monday and Grim Tuesday are known) he goes in and is faced with various challenges to try to get what he needs to fight off Grim Tuesday and take ownership of yet another region of the house just like he had done in the first book only with new challenges. Which also included an issue with creatures based out of nothing called nithlings which are hell bent on destroying the House structure something that Arthur cannot allow as said destruction would destroy the entire universe considering that the house is also known as the center of the universe. It is a bit of a whirlwind of a tale and there are hits of something more nefarious going on than just the present issues at hand.

Overall I think I would give the book a 4 out of 5 pages as it was rather good and kept my attention. I will also say that this book is very much a children’s middle grade book, but still something that an adult can enjoy as well.

Book Review – The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan

Title: The Sea of Monsters

Author: Rick Riordan

Format: Hardback

Published: 2006

 

Having read the first book of the Percy Jackson serried I decided I needed to continue the series and finally picked up the second book to re-read it as my first read may have been abridged. Finally having the time I was able to clip through the book and it was a decent read. I will admit that book was much more enjoyable the first read through and it engrossed me more the first time than it did now. I don’t like to repeat much so it was a bit of a struggle to get through the book.

 

That being said this is a story of Percy going on another quest to save Camp Half-Blood with the help of Annabeth and his new found half- brother and Cyclopes Tyson. In addition to his quest to save the camp he is also set with the difficult task of saving his best friend Grover the Sytar from the clutches of yet another Cyclopse. Not only is Grover’s life on the line in this quest but so is Percy’s as there is now a bond between him and Grover such that if Grover were to die so would Percy.

 

It is a bit of a whirlwind of a story as Percy faces off against a number of classic monsters in the sea of monsters. It was still a decent read and rather good the fist time through. I know what I particularly enjoyed was the end of the book as there is a nice little twist that makes you want to delve right in to the next book in the series as what happens at the end of the book is a major game changer for the rest of the series.

 

Over all, I think I would give this book a 4 out of 5 page review simply because it is a good young reader that can hold the attention of an adult fairly well without being too much for a young reader either. The story is well written and the way Riordan has updated the Olympians and the monsters or old is clever. I look forward to reading the next book as I have not read it before.

Book Review – Room by Emma Donoghue

Room
Emma Donoghue
Hardback
2011

So, you know those book papers you can get at the library or book stores? Well, this book was in there a while ago, and after I saw it, I just couldn’t get it out of my mind. So I finally got a chance to read it.

And I sort of don’t know what to say.

Room follows five-year-old Jack and his mother who live in a little itty bitty ten by ten shack. Because Ma had been kidnapped, held hostage, and raped for several years, where she had Jack in captivity. Then a plan is hatched and Jack gets out and goes and gets them saved.

Oh, and it’s told from Jack’s point of view.
You heard me. Jack.

So what do I say to this review?
The book was weird. First of all, when life does not exist outside a 10×10 box, you don’t need things like articles to help explain things. Because you don’t need “the room” or “a room” or even “his room” or “my room.” You just have room. And because room is all there is, it becomes Room. Capital R. And it wears it like a proper name and becomes another person. So there is Room and Table and Plate and Fork and Plant and… after a while, it’s really hard to read because you sort of stumble through the sentences because the rhythm is off.

And in the first part of the book, it’s okay, but in the second part of the book, you sort of lose a lot of the story because you don’t get the understanding of an adult (or, you know, somebody who had ever been out of Room or slept somewhere other than Wardrobe) and you don’t get to see a lot of the stuff that happens with Ma.

So, like I said, it’s just weird.

I liked that it was a different perspective, but I had some issues with things, too.

The second part of this book had three parts – liberation, dealing with it, and then moving on. But in the dealing with it stage, there’s a lot going on with Ma that just really pissed me off, and poor Jack gets lost in the shuffle and treated like he’s the biggest problem in the world over certain things. Because, you know, Ma wants her world back and is so hell-bent on having it, that she totally forgets that Jack just wants his world, too. (There are arguments when he wants the personal effects the police brought back from Room and she just wants to incinerate everything.) And there is a lot of that that is never ever dealt with.

Jack, who is still being breast-fed at the age of five. A detail that they made sure to talk about several times and I’m not even sure it’s plausible. Because while Jack is busy being small and malnourished and they’re counting out 100 cheerios for an entire meal, I highly doubt that she’s getting nearly enough nutrition to be able to keep breast feeding five years after the kid is born.

And I’m all for breast feeding, but the scenes are kind of weird when it happens because Jack tells us which breast he likes more and why and… And we don’t need that. Seriously.

The story is fresh and new and different, but it falls a little flat because so much of what readers want to know is out of the scope of the narrator. Unfortunately, I’m not sure you could do this sort of thing without the rape/kidnap scenario, so you have to pick and choose. Clearly, the story isn’t about the kidnapping. We don’t see it happen and we don’t fall into it until seven or eight years in. So you sort of have to get past that expectation to appreciate the story.

Sadly, my expectations were way better than the story. I’m going to give it a three. Go ahead and pick it up if you stumble across it, but don’t go out of your way.

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