September 16, 2010

Review: Mister Monday (Keys to the Kingdom #1)

Title: Mister Monday
Author: Garth Nix
Publisher: Scholastic

From Goodreads
Arthur Penhaligon is not supposed to be a hero. He is, in fact, supposed to die an early death. But then his life is saved by a key shaped like the minute hand of a clock.
Arthur is safe--but his world is not. Along with the key comes a plague brought by bizarre creatures from another realm. A stranger named Mister Monday, his avenging messengers with bloodstained wings, and an army of dog-faced Fetchers will stop at nothing to get the key back--even if it means destroying Arthur and everything around him.
Desperate, Arthur ventures into a mysterious house--a house that only he can see. It is in this house that Arthur must unravel the secrets of the key--and discover his true fate.

My Thoughts
If you are looking for a new series after finishing the Percy Jackson series, this one may fit the bill.  Much like Percy, Arthur is put into the position of fighting to save what he didn't know existed.  Arthur is an unlikely hero that is thrown into something he wasn't ready for, but I love how he steps up to the challenge.  He is completely scared, but he decides that he must over come that and battle on. I really liked how well he thought on his feet.  I always think that in difficult scary situations I'd freeze up and have no clue what to do.  Many times when I would've been frozen Arthur's mind was in overdrive coming up with a plan.  I particularly liked the scene with the ambulance.  I won't say what happened but it was great!

The story has to do with the Will.  I won't try to explain it because it's a bit complicated, but the Will is broken into seven pieces and hidden.  People throughout the world of the Will of course what to bring the pieces back together and not always for good reasons.  It because Arthur's job to find the seven keys and stop anyone with bad intentions from taking over. A small task wouldn't you say??? This is difficult because Arthur isn't from the world of the Will, so doesn't understand everything.  Plus he was meant to die not live and fight! Within this world are many people are named after parts of the day like Noon and Dusk.  Plus there are ones dealing with each day of the week.  The star of this books is Mister Monday of course, and he's not a nice fellow! Arthur must battle him as he fights to collect the first of the seven keys.  As an English teacher I LOVED how Mister Monday was taken down but of course I won't tell you why that was :) It was cool though!

I will say that were parts of this book confused me.  When the Will and the realms were being explained I had to read really carefully in order to completely understand all the pieces.  To be honest I'm not sure I completely understand it all now.  I'm thinking that as the story continues it'll become even more clear. At least I hope it will! Because of this, I would make sure that a student understood that they'd need to read carefully before they started the book.  I think most kids would be fine, but it's something to keep in mind. I did have one student start the series this year and is loving it and another one who zipped through all seven books last year loving each one!

Final thought: Action + thinking = well done fun
Best stick-with-you image: the people busy busy in the first realm Arthur enters
Best for readers who: like a bit of thinking with their action
Best for ages: 10-14 or even older.


  1. I have read the first three books in this series because they were mentioned in the 1001 Children's books You Must Read Before You Grow Up.

    I thought the explanation of the realms was confusing too...and it continues to be a little confusing in the next two books at least. I think it is on purpose so Nix can throw in surprises, but I could be wrong.

    I think they are great MG books and I look forward to seeing what you have to say about the others!

  2. Funny because I was never confused, but maybe because I'm a Lost fan and nothing is/was more confusing that that, lol.
    But I LOVE this series so much. I hope your students like it.

  3. Please consider this comment your invitation to finish up your BBAW week by adding a link to any reviews you've managed to post this week to the Saturday Review of Books at Semicolon this Saturday. Every week book bloggers from all over the blogosphere post links to their reviews and other bloggers and readers check out the reviews and find even more books to add to their wishlists.

    Thanks for blogging and reading and sharing.

  4. Mr. Monday is such an evil character and Arthur should be the heir instead of him!

  5. Mr Monday is so evil, he should just give the key to someone else!