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.

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Book Review – Superior Saturday by Garth Nix

Title: Superior Saturday

Author: Garth Nix

Format: Hardback

Published: 2008

 

I have to say that as I have found myself working my way through the Keys to the Kingdom books once and for all I feel in some ways that I have been on a whirlwind of a journey especially since the latter books, after the dreadfully dull Drowned Wednesday. Superior Saturday I think was a whirlwind in and of itself and is one of the shorter books in the series.  This story picks up pretty much right after Lady Friday.

 

Arthur sets foot on Earth seeing his last actions are completed to suddenly be told that his home and family are going to be blown up by the military and he has less than 10 minutes to get himself and his family into hopeful safety. As a desperate act Arthur uses his key to freeze time before jumping back into the house considering time runs differently there, not to mention issues from the house were quite present and he might be able to use the magic there to save his home.

 

Going back to the house via the fifth key Arthur finds himself in a whole lot of trouble as he is faced with an oncoming wave of nothing set to destroy him. He then used his key to save his life and stop the nothing but it caused him to physically change and become less human and more a denizen which is a result of using magic and having that infused into his body.   As a result Arthur throughout the book suffers from a conflict of character as he finds himself suddenly becoming self entitled to remind himself that he is human and shouldn’t be acting in such a way.

 

Arthur then sets out to find the sixth part of the will and the sixth key and it is one thing after another as he travels throughout the house to get there. It is an interesting story and a rather easy read and as I was reading I remembered something that I had thought of when I had first started to read the books, which is that each trustee that Arthur goes up against is a representation of one of the seven deadly sins. Monday is Sloth, Tuesday is either Greed or Pride, Wednesday is Gluttony, Thursday is Wrath, Friday is either Greed or Lust, Saturday is Envy, leaving Sunday to be either Geed lust or pride which I’m sure we’ll see soon enough and will help me better put a finger on what Tuesday and Friday are as well.

 

There are a few other things that happen in the book such as a side story with leaf and what is happening at Arthur’s home in the secondary realms but there are only a few chapters and not overly worth mentioning save for what happens at the end of the book. I of course won’t spoil the story but I can say that both Arthur in the house and Leaf on earth are left in a type of cliff hanger – something I have not seen any of the other books truly do, which to me adds to the whirlwind effect the book has had for me. Over all I think I would give the book another 3 out of 5 pages, as it was good and it held my attention, but there was nothing to rave about. I am curious as to what the seventh and last book will hold for me.

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 – Keys to the Kingdom: Mister Monday by Garth Nix

Title: Keys to the Kingdom: Mister Monday

Author:  Garth Nix

Format: Paperback

Published/Written: 2003

As a reviewer I have jumped into several series mid stride and I concluded that I should start more series from the actual beginning and I thought the Keys to the Kingdom would be a good one to do this with, considering I only read the first two books and a portion of the third.  I remember liking what I read but the details were fuzzy for me.  They were certainly fuzzier that they were for other series that I hadn’t read in a long while.  This fact alone should be something for you to consider if you wish to pick up this series, that it is good but not overtly memorable.

As I began to read I found myself reminded of characters and plot lines but not remembering everything.  My biggest frustration as I read was spending most of the read trying to regal if event x happened in the book I was reading or in the next one.  In some ways this game put a damper on the read for me, and I found myself less enthused about this series now than I was when I first picked it up.  My hope is when I get into newer content things will pick up and my interest will be renewed.  Until that time I have two and a half books to get through before that happens.

So, I will continue to see how the reluctant hero Arthur Penhaligon deals with being chosen by a sentient piece of a Will as the heir to the Keys of the Kingdom.  It was a simple matter of being at the right place at the right time, or in Arthur’s opinion the wrong place at the wrong time that gets him in trouble with the Morrow Days who do not wish to give up their position of power.  If he could Arthur just might let them have their way but instead of just dealing with him they also mess with his family and friends and that is something he can’t allow to happen, because as much as our main character wishes to be a normal boy the other world known as the House in which the Morrow Days and the Will reside will not allow it.

Overall, I would give the book a solid three and say it is worth a read if you are looking for something in general to read that has a unique plot and a fantasy element.  Additionally this is a book that I think many young readers aged late elementary to early middle school would enjoy to read these books.

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