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:
Reading Adventures (with Drowned Wednesday)