Series Review: Keys to the Kingdom

by Shannon Fox

Keys to the Kingdom series by Garth Nix

(Mister Monday, Grim Tuesday, Drowned Wednesday, Sir Thursday, Lady Friday, Superior Saturday, Lord Sunday)

I’ve been a fan of Garth Nix since I read his Abhorsen trilogy. The summer before I started college, I began reading his Keys to the Kingdom series. At the time, the first six books were out and I read them all in a few weeks. The seventh came out the following autumn. Three years later, I got around to reading it.

I don’t really recommend doing that with this series. If you’ve never read any of the books in this series, you are fortunate that all the books are available for to read one after another. As it is, I ended up scrolling through the series wikipedia (yes, there is one) so I could get an in-depth synopsis of the other books, whose plot I vaguely remembered.

I finished Lord Sunday today and despite the immense gap in the reading period, I really enjoyed it. The ending of that seventh book was just wow. For being a middle-grade series, I really didn’t see it coming.

The series follows the adventures of a mortal boy named Arthur Penhaglion, who finds himself essentially caught up in a cosmic battle on the grandest scale. What I liked most about the protagonist, was that he was truly just a normal boy. This isn’t a series where the hero is revealed to magically be a chosen one by parentage or some other plot twist. He’s just a regular boy. Which is reiterated throughout the series. It could have been anyone. And it was him. A boy with asthma.

I think it’s important to have protagonists like these in young adult literature. Characters who aren’t secretly superheroes, or sons of gods or angels or whathaveyou. Not that those aren’t great and have their place. But I like that books like the Keys to the Kingdom series persist. Just regular kids who get caught up in things much bigger than themselves.

If you haven’t yet read this series or read anything by Garth Nix, be sure to check these out. You’ll want to read them close together. Although the world-building is complex (but skillfully done), the books build upon themselves so much it’s advisable not to let too much time go by.

For fans of: Nix’s other works, Philip Pullman, Rick Riordan, Eoin Colfer, Jonathan Stroud. Epic fantasy, abstract thought, great world-building, and resonant, age-old themes.


One Comment to “Series Review: Keys to the Kingdom”

  1. I read the first 2 books in this series a few years ago, but I had to stop because the new books hadn’t come out again. Now that they’re all available, I’ll have to give them another shot 🙂

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