Monday, June 30, 2008

Arthur's adventures take a rather Grim turn

This second book in Garth Nix's Keys to the Kingdom series begins almost immediately where the second book leaves off. It is Tuesday, the day following Arthur Penhaligon's first big adventure, and while the Will promised Arthur at least six years before he'd have to return to take on his responsibilities as heir, suddenly everything is going wrong. Grim Tuesday is contesting Arthur's ownership of the key (which he nearly lost his life gaining in the first book). Apparently Mister Monday owed Grim Tuesday hundreds of thousands of (the equivalent of) dollars, and in lieu of the debt (which Arthur and the Lower House can't begin to repay), Grim Tuesday demands that Arthur hand over his key.

Arthur does not want to go back to the House, but it soon becomes apparent that if he doesn't act quickly, his family will lose their house and income. Grim Tuesday works quickly - Arthur's house is going to be foreclosed on, and suddenly all the stock his parents own loses its value. His entire neighborhood is going to be sold and subdivided for a new shopping center. Clearly Arthur must become involved, even though at this point all he really wants is some semblance of a normal life.

Soon he is back in the world of the House, but nothing is going right. Because of the debts, Arthur's phone to the Lower House has been disconnected, and before he knows it, he's on his own in Grim Tuesday's very dark world, impressed on a work team that's headed down to the pit where Grim Tuesday mines Nothing to make things to sell at great profit. But the Nothing is leaking out of a huge fissure, and as blobs come together, they form the dread Nithlings. Arthur must find a way to Grim Tuesday's chambers and locate his section of the Will, or not only will his family lose all their financial means, but he'll end up slaving in a work crew for as long as his weak, asthmatic lungs manage to hold out.

This was an exciting book to listen to - Corduner does a great job telling the story, incorporating the different characters' voices and ratcheting up the tension with the tone of his voice. Arthur has come a long way from his first adventure, and he's learning to shoulder his new responsibilities, as much as he wishes he didn't have to. I enjoyed revisiting some of the characters from the previous book, as well as meeting some new ones and learning a little more about the mysterious Architect, who built the House and the secondary realms (of which the Earth is but one), and who left it all in the hands of such underhanded trustees as Mister Monday, Grim Tuesday, and the other morrow days. I'm very interested to see where Arthur's adventures take him in the subsequent book, Drowned Wednesday, in this very original fantasy series.

Books in the Keys to the Kingdom series:

1. Mister Monday
2. Grim Tuesday
3. Drowned Wednesday
4. Sir Thursday
5. Lady Friday
6. Superior Saturday (forthcoming July 2008 - U.S.)
7. Lord Sunday (forthcoming date tbd)

Grim Tuesday (#2 in the Keys to the Kingdom series) by Garth Nix; narrated by Allan Corduner (Random House Audio, 2004)

Also reviewed at:
GoddessLibrarian
Reading Adventures (with Drowned Wednesday)

9 comments:

  1. This is such a great series! I love Suzy Turquoise Blue! I've read up to "Lady Friday" now, but I've been finding for the last few books that having to wait a year inbetween each one I start to loose the flow of the story so I've decided to wait until "Sunday" is writtten then go back and re-read and finish the series.

    Have you read "The Seventh Tower" series? It's brilliant too!

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  2. I love this series. I'm so glad that Superior Saturday's coming out soon.

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  3. Nicola - I love Suzy, too - she's such a trooper. :-) Sounds like a good plan for the series - I have trouble with the same thing, so I know exactly what you mean. I haven't read The Seventh Tower series yet, but I'm glad to know it's out there. I seem to love everything this man writes, so I'm happy to have it to look forward to!

    RR2 - It's good to have almost the whole series to read, now that I've gotten into it. There are so many out there that I'm stuck waiting for the next book!

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  4. I really enjoyed the Abhorsen series and am looking forward to finding time to read this one as well. I have the first in the Seventh Tower series as well which I need to read.

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  5. Rhinoa - I am enjoying this one very much - although I think the Abhorsen series is still my favorite. I don't think you'll be disappointed!

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  6. It's good to know that the second instalment of this series doesn't disappoint. I'm really looking forward to finally getting started on these.

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  7. I think you'll like the series, Nymeth. He does a good job of creating stand-alone adventures in each book while still tantalizing the reader with broader issues that continue from book to book.

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  8. My review of this book and Drowned Wednesday are here.

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  9. Thanks for letting me know, Marg - I've added your link to my review!

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