Sunday, 2 June 2013
Author: Garth Nix
Series: Keys to the Kingdom
Publisher: Harper Collins Children's Books
Release Date: 5 Jan 2004
Seven days. Seven keys. Seven virtues. Seven sins. One mysterious house is the doorway to a very mysterious world – where one boy is about to venture and unlock a number of fantastical secrets.
Arthur Penhaligon is not supposed to be a hero. He is supposed to die an early death. But then his life is saved by a key shaped like the minute hand of a clock.
Arthur is safe – but his world is not. Along with the key comes a plague brought by bizarre creatures from another realm. A stranger named Mister Monday, his avenging messengers with bloodstained wings, and an army of dog-faced Fetchers will stop at nothing to get the key back – even if it means destroying Arthur and everything around him.
Desperate, Arthur escapes to the mysterious house that has appeared in town – a house that only he can see. Maybe there he can unravel the secrets of the key – and discover his true fate.
I actually read this book years ago, must be at least 6 or 7 years ago. I remember that I enjoyed it and i think I read up to Thursday (book 4) I have since bought the entire series and it's sat on my shelves for ages and I never got round to finishing the rest of them. Something about these books were calling to me this weekend so I decided to start from the beginning and work my way through.
I only remembered vague details so this was actually almost like reading it fresh. Arthur is starting school 2 weeks late, he has terrible asthma and has just been released from hospital after a bad attack, but he is faced with P.E on the first day. His teacher doesn't seem to pay much attention and Arthur ends up having to go on a cross country run. Surprise surprise he ends up having another asthma attack but just as he is about to black out a strange light appears that then reveals two strange looking men talking about a key and the House. They end up giving Arthur a strange key that looks like the minute hand of an old fashioned clock, stranger still though is that it helps him breathe better when he holds it. Saved from certain death Arthur then has to figure out what it's all about.
Things just get stranger after that, weird dog-faced people called Fetchers turn up hunting him, desperate to get the key back. In doing so they spread a 'sleepy plague' that starts to cause an epidemic. Arthur is the only one who can stop it and to do that he must journey to the House and confront Mister Monday himself.
Arthur is a bit weak and wimpy and I suppose what you might call a nerd or geek but he is also quite loveable, he takes things in his stride and is prepared to do anything needed to help. He shows his weaknesses and vulnerabilities but doesn't let them stop him. He's quite a strong character actually. We also meet Suzy Blue once in the house, she ends up being Arthur's sort of side kick and she has a great sense of humour. I like her bluntness and bravery, she comes across a bit simple but with a big heart.
I liked the basic plot and the set up of the whole mysterious house, I wanted to know more and journey further in with Arthur. There is a sense of urgency throughout the book - if Arthur doesn't succeed the epidemic will spread and thousands could die so that keeps you hooked but I also found myself getting quite attached to Arthur and I wanted him to succeed. Obviously knowing there is a series he has to survive but that doesn't make it any less exciting.
This is great for people who want to start YA fiction- it is a sort of crossover level between Middle Grade and YA. would be ideal. Also good for people who want to get into a bit of fantasy adventure. Think this would be very popular for younger teens.
Posted by barmybex at 23:29