Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The Keys to the Kingdom

I liiiiiiiiiiive!

On Saturday, I get my MLS (if all goes according to plan) and will sally forth into the world of unemployment and job hunting. However, from now on I will hopefully have more time to blog.

Series: The Keys to the Kingdom
Author: Garth Nix
Published: starting 2003

Arthur Penhaligon is having a really long week.

On Monday, he nearly died. On Tuesday, he became a slave. On Wednesday, he almost drowned. And now, on Thursday, he's been plunged into a war with the demonic Nithlings for dominion of the House.

Most of the Keys to the Kingdom series takes place in the intricately realized world of the House, a super-universe in which our universe exists. There's trouble in the House. Long ago, the Architect of the House made a Will so that everyone would know what to do with Her House. But the Will's been split up, and nothing can be done until it's whole. The seven Guardians have a vested interest in making sure that the Will stays split . . . but the Will itself has an even more vested interest in becoming whole again.

So it finds Arthur . . . and thus start his adventures, fighting the seven Guardians, hunting down the missing pieces of the Will, and figuring out what's really going on around here.

Yep, it's a long damn week. And it ain't over yet.

I don't normally go in for high fantasy, with the fate of the world in balance and stuff. Thinking about it, I'm not completely sure why I like these books. But The Keys to the Kingdom series is addictive. The world of the House is intricately realized, peopled with fascinating characters. Nix layers his story with symbolism, but lightly enough so it's more of an "oooo!" moment when you figure out the symbols than a "shoot, what is going on around here?" when you haven't.

Most of all, Arthur himself is a draw for me. Scrawny, asthmatic, and unassuming, he's the opposite of your traditional hero. He's just doing what he's gotta do, but somehow this make him completely heroic to me.

The books are all titled after the particular Guardian that Arthur faces in each, and so far they go: Mister Monday, Grim Tuesday, Drowned Wednesday, and Sir Thursday, with more to come. Word of advice: don't start this series in the middle. You'll only wind up confused and wishing that you'd just read Mister Monday first, like I told you to.

1 comment:

Lisa Bunker said...

Hear hear! I too am enjoying this series. I love how Nix always makes sure that power has consequences and responsibilities. I also loved the sub-plot in Sir Thursday where Leaf must battle the mind-reading creature spreading plague.