Books & Literature

Book Review: The Keys to the Kingdom Book 1: Mister Monday, by Garth Nix

In his first days at a new school, Arthur Penhaligon is given a magical clock hand, setting him on a surreal adventure and bringing the appearance of the villainous Mister Monday and his henchmen.

Garth Nix has begun his story based on the mystical number seven with book one in the series being Monday and subsequent books working through the days of the week. He uses the classic seven days, seven keys, seven sins, and seven virtues to open a mysterious story-line extolling the virtue of fighting for what you think is right in the first book, a volume in what promises to be a broader and exciting story line.

Written for teens and young adults, this book has an easy to read style that provides vivid visual and emotive descriptions for the reader. It is a shame that the publisher has chosen a feint, small font in printing as this may put reluctant or visually challenged readers off. It is however, well worth persisting as the story is one of magic, mystery, challenge and intrigue. The subtle explanation of a young boy suffering from Asthma and a fear that he will die young and publicly from a severe attack will resonate with many young readers.

The hero in the story, Arthur Penhaligon, does not know what he is getting himself into, nor his significance in other realms. The first days at his new school become even more surreal with the appearance of the villainous Mister Monday and his henchmen. Arthur is given a magical clock hand that he is chased for and, in his journey, he discovers a nasty virus/plague spreading through town and a mysterious House that, it seems, only he can see.

He is not alone in his struggles and, when Arthur meets Suzy Blue (herself from another realm and a part of something much bigger), he learns that he has been chosen as an heir to the House. He learns he has a big destiny but must first find the other part of the clock hand to defeat Mister Monday and face six more challenges before he reaches the end of his quest.

This story is structured in such a way that, by the end, you are looking for the next instalment. It has you guessing, feeling for the characters, and travelling the excitement with them. Highly recommended for younger readers or those young at heart who enjoy magical quests and action-packed mysteries.

This year all seven books will become available, Books 1-3 were re-released in March, books 4 & 5 will be available in July, and books 6 & 7 in October. Keep an eye out for I am sure you will want the whole set.

Reviewed by  Leanne Caune

Rating out of 10:  9

Distributed by: Allen & Unwin
Re-released: March 2018
RRP: $16.99

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