Title: Mister Monday (Keys to the Kingdom #1)
Author: Garth Nix
Genre: Fiction, YA, Fantasy
Publisher: Allen and Unwin
Published: September 2003
Synopsis: Book one in a blockbuster series, The Keys to the Kingdom, by the internationally acclaimed Garth Nix. Moving between our familiar world and bizarre other realms where nothing is predictable, Nix delivers a thrilling adventure-fantasy of breathtaking scope and ingenuity.
SHORT-LISTED: CBCA Book of the Year, Older Readers, 2004
Arthur Penhaligon is not supposed to be a hero. He is, in fact, supposed to die an early death. But then he 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 blood-stained 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 ventures into a mysterious house; a house that only he can see. It is in this house that Arthur must unravel the secrets of the key and discover his true fate.
Mister Monday is the first book in The Keys to the Kingdom series.
Garth Nix is the best-selling author of Sabriel, Lirael and Abhorsen.
Arthur Penhaligon’s life is destined to be short. The day he is supposed to die of an asthma attack, he finds a key that saves his life, and draws him into a world of danger, a world that slowly seeps into his own, and starts to chip away at what he knows. Starting at a new school, Arthur makes friends with Leaf and Ed following his asthma attack and the discovery of the key. It is this key, the Minute Key of Mister Monday, that bring a plague to his world. Is it Arthur’s destiny to enter this parallel world and find the remaining keys and fix things?
In the first of seven books, each named after a day of the week: Mister Monday, Grim Tuesday, Drowned Wednesday, Sir Thursday, Lady Friday, Superior Saturday and Lord Sunday, Garth Nix establishes the worlds: Arthur’s world, what appears to be a contemporary or near future Earth, and a world that can only be entered and seen by Arthur, where kids like Suzy Turquoise Blue – ink fillers – and others- have lived and worked for centuries, unable to remember how long they have been there, working for Mister Monday and his cronies, and the Fetchers.
As each book represents a single day, the events take place over that specific day. My one lingering question that I hope will answered in the next books is whether time passes at a faster or slower rate in the house than in Arthur’s world. Given the nature of each book dedicated to a single day, there is an inevitable cliffhanger that can only be answered by reading Grim Tuesday. Nix has created a world for children and teen readers that is accessible, fun and easy to connect with. Arthur’s character though a little naive, will hopefully grow throughout the series and I enjoyed the first book. It introduces the characters and world in a nice way, yet still holds back a few things to keep the reader intrigued.