Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A seafaring adventure in the House

Twelve-year-old Arthur Penhaligon returns in this third installment of the Keys to the Kingdom series. The first two books followed the same general plot: Arthur is drawn into the House, another world in which he must defeat one of the Morrow Days (each named for a day of the week) and retrieve a piece of the Will that the Morrow Days broke into pieces in order to keep it from Arthur, who is the rightful heir. The Morrow Days each appear to represent one of the seven deadly sins (Mister Monday is Pride; Grim Tuesday is Greed, etc.) I wondered if the third book in the series would follow in the same way - but of course, having read quite a few books by Garth Nix at this point, I shouldn't have bothered to ask.

Yes, Arthur must retrieve a piece the Will from Drowned Wednesday, but his path in this book is quite different from the others, and this particular Morrow Day is completely unlike the ones we've met before. The story begins on Wednesday, of course, the third day in the "real world" since Arthur discovered that he is the rightful heir. Time passes differently in the House, and Arthur returns from each adventure only moments after he left. He is in the hospital after having broken his leg during his adventures in Grim Tuesday, and he receives an invitation to meet Drowned Wednesday. He realizes he's going back to the House, whether he wants to or not.

His classmate Leaf, who helped him out in earlier books but has no idea what is going on, stops by Arthur's hospital room. She is dying to know what is really happening, and Arthur finds himself telling her the truth. She is envious - it all sounds so exciting to her. But when a wave of water comes crashing through the hospital wall and carries them off on Arthur's bed to a watery world of pirates, gigantic rats and sea monsters, Leaf might have to revise her opinions. Once again Arthur is out of his league but does his best to set matters to rights. He appears more resigned to his responsibilities in this book, which is a good thing because his resistance to taking up his place as the rightful heir grows tiresome after a while. He seems more confident in this book, no longer looking to everyone else to help him solve problems, but rather sizing up the talents and abilities of those around him in order to discover effective approaches to problems on his own.

I have listened to this entire series in audio format; they are all excellent productions - the narrator, Allan Corduner is a wonderful storyteller. I enjoyed spending more time with Leaf, and it is always great to see the feisty Suzy Turquoise Blue, who has been Arthur's companion in the House since the first book. I look forward to listening to Arthur's continuing adventures in the House, especially as this book takes a most unexpected direction at the very end!

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)

Drowned Wednesday (#3 in the Keys to the Kingdom series) by Garth Nix; narrated by Allan Corduner (Listening Library, 2005)

Also reviewed at:
ReadingAdventures: "If I was a bit disappointed in Grim Tuesday, it is fair to say that I was delighted with this installment in the Keys to the Kingdom series."

6 comments:

  1. I really want to start reading this series! But I'll have to finish a few of the ones I have going before I venture...

    PS: You won a copy of The Turtle Moves :D Please e-mail me at untuneric at gmail so we can arrange the details.

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  2. I didn't realize Allan Corduner did the narration - I thought he was perfect as Death reading The Book Thief. Plus, I liked the Abhorsen trilogy, so I should really listen to these at some point.

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  3. Nymeth - yay! I'm so excited! This is my first giveaway win - thank you!

    I am enjoying this series, but I must warn you that the Abhorsen books are still head and shoulders my favorites - just so you don't go in with the wrong expectations or anything! This series is for younger readers and isn't nearly as complex. But it's still fun!

    Fyrefly - I didn't realize that Allan Corduner reads The Book Thief - I have a copy of the book, but now I think I'll check to see if my library has the audio version. I love his narration! As I said in my comment to Nymeth above, this series isn't as complex as the Abhorsen books, since it's for younger readers, but it's still a lot of fun. I hope you enjoy it if you give it a try!

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  4. That is so neat about the deadly sins/Morrow Days correspondence! (I love this series.)

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  5. I love this series (I just read Superior Saturday, in fact-it was a little bit disappointing, though).

    This was probably the first book that I listened to instead of reading. And, I agree, Allan Corduner is an awesome narrator.

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  6. Cuileann - I didn't catch on until this one, with the gluttony thing - it is a fun idea!

    RR2 - Oh, I'm sorry to hear Saturday was a bit disappointing - I guess some will be better than others, but still. It will be very interesting to see how it all ends!

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