Internationally renowned fantasy author Garth Nix is appearing at Waterstones Castle Street for an author event on Saturday 27th September to promote his new book Clariel, so this week on Between the Lines we’re featuring Mister Monday, the first book in his thrilling young adult series, ‘The Keys to the Kingdom’.
When an ordinary teenager called Arthur is given a mysterious minute hand from a clock and told that it is part of a ‘key’, things start going wrong. He discovers that he has been chosen to save a magical world called ‘The House’ and he is catapulted into an adventure that will take all his courage and cleverness to survive.
The seven realms of the House are ruled by the days of the week, the first of which is, of course, Mister Monday, and each book in the series covers one of the days. Arthur has severe asthma, which means he’s never thought of himself as a hero, but when his caring adoptive family are threatened by a strange disease linked to the clock hand, he rises to the challenge and embarks on a quest to defeat the strange being Mister Monday and recover the other half of the key, which is the hour hand of the clock. Arthur must travel to the Lower House, Monday’s realm, which is literally a bureaucratic nightmare. Everyone must have the proper paperwork to do anything, and that paperwork is only dispensed through a confusing system by which no-one can get anything done.
Along the way, he meets a girl who lives in the Lower House, Suzy Turquoise Blue, who guides him through the dangers they encounter, the servants of Mister Monday and the dog-faced Fetchers, who have been sent to retrieve the key. Arthur must fight his way through piles of paperwork, robotic Inspectors and all sorts of traps to reach Monday and save his family and friends.
Mister Monday is an exciting adventure in a magical world that is completely original and very different to any other young adult fantasy out there. Garth Nix is great at writing big set pieces and small character scenes. The Lower House is fascinating to read about, a marvellously developed world, and leaves you wondering what the other realms could be like. Nix’s story is scary and wondrous by turns, and you’ll be keen to learn more by the end of Mister Monday.
Find Mister Monday in the QUICK READS section at 823.91.
If you liked Mister Monday…
Try the sequel, Grim Tuesday, about Arthur’s journey to the industrial Far Reaches, home of Grim Tuesday, who makes the robotic servants used elsewhere in the house (QUICK READS 823.91).
For another fun adventure, read Derek Landy’s Skulduggery Pleasant, about a wisecracking private detective…who also happens to be an animate skeleton. He partners up with a teenaged girl solving mysteries in a magical world just around the corner from ours (QUICK READS 823.91).
Watch Spirited Away, an animated film from Hayao Miyazaki, about a girl who gets trapped in a fantastical world and ends up working in a bath house run by a witch. Beautifully animated, Spirited Away is an adventure that is sometimes sad and sometimes joyful, but is always entertaining (DVD LOBBY 791.433).