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Arthur Penhaligon's first days at his new school don't go too well, particularly when a fiendish Mister Monday appears, gives Arthur a magical clock hand, and then orders his gang of dog-faced goons to chase Arthur around and get it back. But when the confused and curious boy discovers that a mysterious virus is spreading through town, he decides to enter an otherworldly house to stop it. After meeting Suzy Blue and the first part of "the Will" (a frog-looking entity that knows everything about the House), Arthur learns that he's been selected as Rightful Heir to the House and must get the other part of the clock hand in order to defeat Monday. That means getting past Monday's henchmen and journeying to the Dayroom itself. Thankfully, Arthur is up to the challenge, but as he finds out, his fight seems to be only one-seventh over.

With a weapon-wielding hero and a villain who doesn't make Mondays any nicer, Nix's Keys to the Kingdom launch is imaginative and gripping. After an action-packed crescendo to the book's middle -- when Arthur finally learns his destiny -- Nix keeps the drama going and doesn't let it fall. By the end, you might be winded from all the fantastic explanation, but you'll definitely be salivating for what's to come.

384 pages, Paperback

First published July 1, 2003

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About the author

Garth Nix

212 books13.3k followers
Garth Nix was born in 1963 in Melbourne, Australia, to the sound of the Salvation Army band outside playing 'Hail the Conquering Hero Comes' or possibly 'Roll Out the Barrel'. Garth left Melbourne at an early age for Canberra (the federal capital) and stayed there till he was nineteen, when he left to drive around the UK in a beat-up Austin with a boot full of books and a Silver-Reed typewriter.

Despite a wheel literally falling off the Austin, Garth survived to return to Australia and study at the University of Canberra. After finishing his degree in 1986 he worked in a bookshop, then as a book publicist, a publisher's sales representative, and editor. Along the way he was also a part-time soldier in the Australian Army Reserve, serving in an Assault Pioneer platoon for four years. Garth left publishing to work as a public relations and marketing consultant from 1994-1997, till he became a full-time writer in 1998. He did that for a year before joining Curtis Brown Australia as a part-time literary agent in 1999. In January 2002 Garth went back to dedicated writer again, despite his belief that full-time writing explains the strange behaviour of many authors.

He now lives in Sydney with his wife, two sons and lots of books.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,661 reviews
Profile Image for Becky.
1,308 reviews1,595 followers
January 30, 2015
I remember picking this book up because I liked Nix's Abhorsen trilogy so much, but this one is kind of a big letdown after the greatness that was Abhorsen. It's just a run of the mill mid-grade fantasy quest Arthurian/Christian symbolism story. And to make matters worse, for me anyway, is that it is just so whimsical and overly descriptive. Two things I dislike on their own, but in combination? STABSTABSTAB. Also, I pretty much just hate stories where the magic has no logic or rules or structure and everything is possible because magic. It makes me twitchy and annoyed and puts me in a book-throwin' mood.

Blah. At least it was a quick read. But mostly skimming 16 pt font doesn't take that long. So, yeah, this one? Not for me.
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,568 reviews55.5k followers
October 30, 2019
Mister Monday (The Keys to the Kingdom #1), Garth Nix
Mister Monday is the first novel in the Keys to the Kingdom series by Garth Nix. The other books in the series are: Grim Tuesday, Drowned Wednesday, Sir Thursday, Lady Friday, Superior Saturday and Lord Sunday. Mister Monday is afflicted with the deadly sin of Sloth.
On Earth, a boy named Arthur Penhaligon (the main character) is at a new school. He collapses during an outdoor cross country run during gym because of his severe asthma. Two of his schoolmates, Ed and Leaf, stop to help him use his inhaler before running to get help. While waiting for help, Arthur notices two strange-looking men materialising out of thin air. They discuss a key and whether or not to give it to Arthur. One of the men, Monday, doesn't want to give it up because he needs the key in order to continue his reign, but the other man, Sneezer, convinces him to as the Will states Monday must give the key to a suitable heir but after Arthur dies, Monday will once again regain control of the Key. Persuaded, Monday agrees to relinquish control of the key, which is shaped like the minute hand of an old clock, although he quickly becomes suspicious of Sneezer, who apparently never showed much intelligence before. Sneezer and Mister Monday then fight and disappear in a flash of light. In their place is a slim book which Arthur puts in his pocket. In his hand, he holds the key which Arthur finds helps him breathe. As his teacher and school nurse approach, Arthur hides the key and passes out. Arthur wakes up in a hospital bed, tired. Ed and Leaf, the brother and sister who helped him, come and visit. Leaf comments that she had seen an old man pushing a bath-chair with a young man in it; obviously Sneezer and Mister Monday. Ed, however, had not seen Monday and Sneezer, but claims to have seen a bunch of men with dog-like faces digging up the field. Arthur asks them if anyone had seen the key he buried in the field and they say no, but promise to visit him soon. Shortly afterward, they have to leave so Arthur can take a shot. In pain, Arthur pushes his hand under the pillow, only to have his fingers touch the key, which has appeared there magically. ...

تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز سی ام ماه اکتبر سال 2012 میلادی
عنوان: آقای دوشنبه؛ اولین کتاب از هفت‌گانه‌ ی کلید‌های پادشاهی؛ نویسنده: گارت نیکس؛ مترجم: مریم رفیعی؛ تهران: بهنام‏‫، 1390؛ در 302 ص؛ شابک: 9789645668721؛‬ چاپ دوم 1392؛ موضوع: داستانهای نوجوانان از نویسندگان استرالیائی - سده 21 م

قرار بود نخستین روز نیم‌سال تحصیلی در مدرسه‌ ی جدید، آخرین روز عمر «آرتور پنهالیگون» باشد؛ اما به جای مردن به دلیل حمله‌ ی آسم، کلیدی به دستش می‌رسد و به سرزمین دیگری کشانده می‌شود که موجودات انسان‌ مانندی به نام «روزهای فردا» آن را اداره می‌کنند. داستان آقای دوشنبه، بعد از یک مقدمه‌ی کوتاه در یک روز مدرسه آغاز می‌شود. جایی که آرتور به دلیل بیماری آسم از ادامه‌ی مسابقه‌ی دو جا می‌ماند و درست در همان لحظه که مرگ را در نزدیکی خود می‌بیند، اتفاقات عجیبی را مشاهده می‌کند. به جای مردن از حمله‌ی آسم‌، کلیدی به دست آرتور می‌رسد که توسط آن به عمارتی کشیده می‌شود. عمارتی‌ که تنها او قادر به دیدن آن است. در آن سرزمین، موجودات انسان‌مانندی به نام روزهای فردا حکمرانی می‌کنند و یکی از آن‌ها با نام آقای دوشنبه، در صدد پس‌ گرفتن کلید از دست آرتور است. او برای رهایی از دست این پسر و در واقع پس گرفتن کلید، اهالی زمین را به یک بیماری با نام «طاعون خواب» مبتلا می‌کند. آرتور که طی سفرش در عمارت و سرزمین جدید متوجه می‌شود وارث ذی‌حق خطاب شده است، پی می‌برد که برای برگشت به خانه و از بین بردن این بیماری باید تن به مبارزه با هر چیزی بدهد که تا به آن روز هیچ درکی از آن‌ها نداشته است. شروع داستان آقای دوشنبه تقریباً شروع خوب و جذابی است. به جز مقدمه‌ ی چند صفحه‌ ای اول کتاب، قرار گرفتن در میان یک مسابقه دو و آشنا شدن با قهرمان داستانی که آسم دارد و در آن لحظه هم دچار حمله‌ ی آسم شده، جذابیت زیادی به داستان می‌دهد و از آن‌جا شخصیت اصلی داستان جایی بین مرگ و زندگی قرار می‌گیرد، خوانشگر بیشتر راغب می‌شود تا ادامه‌ ی داستان را دنبال کند. یکی از مهم‌ترین ویژگی‌های یک داستان خوب، آغاز خوب و تاثیرگذار است که بتوانند خوانشگر را وادار به ادامه ی خوانش کتاب بکند و «آقای دوشنبه» از این بابت نمره‌ ی قبولی را گرفته است. در طول داستان، شاید بتوان گفت داستان نقطه‌ ی نزولی ندارد. به این معنا که داستان در هیچ جای کتاب از ریتم نمی‌افتد و درست زمانی که خوانشگر آهسته آهسته گمان می‌کند همه چیز آرام است �� داستان دیگر چیزی برای عرضه ندارد، چرخش و پیچشی در داستان رخ می‌دهد تا خوانشگر داستان را دنبال کند. در کتاب «آقای دوشنبه» شاهد خلق یک دنیای جدید و موازی با دنیای خودمان هستیم. دنیایی که مطمئناً تفاوت‌های زیادی با دنیای ما -فناپذیرها- دارد. به عنوان مثال وقتی آرتور برای نخستین بار وارد این دنیا می‌شود، به جای مشاهده‌ ی مردمانی در حال داد و ستد‌های مرسوم دنیای خودش، همه را سرگرم هر کاری در ارتباط با پست، کاغذ، و نوشتن می‌بیند. البته بعدها هم آرتور و هم خوانشگر متوجه می‌شود که این آدم‌ها همه در حال نگهداری و نوشتن اطلاعات انسان‌ها و موجودات دنیای ما هستند. در طول داستان نام‌هایی به میان می‌آید که شاکله‌ ی دنیای «آقای دوشنبه» را تشکیل می‌دهند و در ادامه به آن‌ها اشاره می‌شود.؛
معمار: عمارت یا همان دنیای تازه‌ ای را که آرتور وارد آن شده، از هیچ به وجود آورده است. در واقع او خالق عمارت و تمام خدمتکاران و کسانی است که در عمارت مشغول به کار هستند. خدمتکارانی که به وجود آمده‌ اند تا گفته‌ های معمار را به انجام برسانند
قلمروهای ثانویه: معمار بعد از ساختن عمارت، قلمروهای ثانویه یا همان جهان فناپذیرها را به وجود آورده است. عمارت و خدمتکاران آن، این اثر بزرگ را ثبت کرده و اطلاعات مربوط به موجودات آن را تا سالیان متمادی نگهداری کرده‌ اند
وصیت‌نامه: بعد از رفتن معمار بزرگ از عمارت، او وصیت‌نامه‌ ای تنظیم می‌کند تا در نبود او کارها به روال درست خود ادامه پیدا کند. اما این اتفاق نمی‌افتد و وصیت‌نامه به هفت قسمت شکسته می‌شود. هر کدام از این قسمت‌ها در جای جای قلمروهای ثانویه پخش شده‌ اند. در همین حین، هفت متولی وصیت‌نامه سوگند خود را می‌شکنند و تصمیم به اداره‌ ی عمارت و دخالت در امور قلمروهای ثانویه می‌گیرند
آقای دوشنبه: یکی از هفت متولی که سوگندش را شکسته است. او از گناه تنبلی رنج می‌برد و به همین دلیل به هیچ وجه نمی‌تواند فرمانروای خوبی برای عمارت پایینی باشد. آقای دوشنبه مانند تمام روزهای دیگر، سه زیر دست به نام‌های «سپیده‌ دم»، «ظهر» و «غروب» دارد که اساساً آن‌ها کارهای او را انجام می‌دهند و او خودش در اکثر داستان قدرتی از خود نشان نمی‌دهد و مشغول چرت‌ زدن است
یکی از ویژگی‌های قابل‌ ذکر این داستان، خلق شخصیت‌ها و موقعیت‌های بکر و تازه است. به عنوان مثال بخشی از وصیت‌نامه که آرتور را در مسیر رسیدن به کلید اصلی یاری می‌کند، در قالب یک قورباغه درآمده که صدای این قورباغه در ابتدای داستان از گلوی دختری به نام «سوزی» -همراه و راهنمای آرتور- شنیده می‌شود، و به نظر می‌رسد حمل جانوری مثل قورباغه در گلو، در عمارت مایه‌ ی مباهات و تفاخر باشد! یا موقعیت‌هایی که آرتور با آن‌ها برخورد می‌کند. شاید یکی از بهترین فصول این کتاب‌، پیدا کردن راه از طریق «راه‌ پله‌ های ناممکن» باشد. این راه‌ پله‌ ها که باید تنها از طریق ذهن و تخیل ایجاد شوند، شامل پاگردهایی هستند که در هر کدام از این پاگردها، آرتور و سوزی وارد دنیا و زمانی منحصر به فرد میشوند. در واقع پاگردها خود حکم چرخ زدن در زمان را دارند و همین به جذابیت بیشتر این فصل می‌افزاید. از دیگر موضوعات جالب توجهی که در این داستان رخ می‌دهد، قدرتی است که کلید به آرتور می‌دهد. به همین دلیل برعکس دنیای خودش، آرتور در این دنیا آسم ندارد و می‌تواند به راحتی نفس بکشد و ترسی از حمله‌های آسم یا حتا زخمی شدن نداشته باشد. کلید از او در برابر خطرات محافظت می‌کند و به واسطه‌ی همین است که هم آرتور و هم خوانشگر می‌توانند در بدترین و تاریک‌ترین شرایطی که در داستان رقم می خورد، به آن امید داشته باشند. داستان با جنگیدن آرتور برای رسیدن به راه‌ حلی جهت توقف بیماری لاعلاج دنیای خودش پیش می‌رود و تا پایان داستان با مشکلات و موقعیت‌های ریز و درشتی برخورد می‌کنیم که همه و همه باعث بیشتر راغب شدن خوانشگر برای ادامه‌ ی خوانش این کتاب است. کتاب نخست پایان خیلی خوبی دارد و شدیداً ذهن خوانشگر را درگیر جلدهای بعدی و ادامه‌ ی داستان می‌کند. کتاب آقای دوشنبه شاید در بعضی از قسمت‌ها به کتاب‌ها و داستان‌هایی از این دست تنه بزند و بتوان نشانه‌ هایی از آن داستان‌ها را در آن پیدا کرد، اما آنقدر موقعیت و مخلوقات بدیع و جذاب دارد که خوانشگر را متوجه این شباهت نکند. می‌توان این اطمینان را به علاقمندان این ژانر داد که با خوانش این داستان وقت خود را تلف نکرده و با دنیایی عجیب و تازه و سرشار از غافل‌گیری‌ها سر و کار خواهند داشت. نقل از متن کتاب : «سعی کرده بودند وصیت‌نامه را نابود کنند، اما ظاهراً این کار از توانشان خارج بود. به همین دلیل آن را به دو صورت شکستند: اول از نظر جسمی که کاغذ پوستی را پاره و تکه‌ های آن را در فضا و زمان پخش کردند؛ دوم از نظر روحی، چون حتا به یک شرط آن عمل نشد. متولیان خیانت‌کار دوست نداشتند هیچ‌یک از شروط وصیت‌نامه به اجرا درآید؛ به همین دلیل هر هفت‌ تکه‌ ی وصیت‌نامه را با دقت بسیار پنهان کردند. اولین و کم‌ اهمیت‌ ترین تکه را داخل کریستال صاف و شفافی که از الماس هم محکم‌تر بود، گذاشتند. بعد کریستال را در داخل جعبه‌ ای از جنس شیشه‌ ی نشکن قرار دادند و جعبه را داخل قفسی از نقره و مالاکیت گذاشتند و قفس را روی سطح خورشیدی مرده، در نقطه‌ ی انتهایی زمان میخ‌کوب کردند. دوازده نگهبان فلزی دور قفس کشیک می‌دادند؛ هر کدام روی یکی از اعداد صفحه ساعتی که با نور ابدی روی سطح تاریک ستاره حک شده بود، ایستاده بودند. نگهبان‌ها صرفاً جهت محافظت از آن تکه آفریده شده بودند. ظاهرشان تا حدودی شبیه انسان‌ها بود. اما از نظر قدی دو برابر یک انسان معمولی بودند و پوستشان از جنس فولادی براق بود. مانند گربه‌ تیزپا و انعطاف‌پذیر بودند، دست نداشتند و به جای آن تیغه‌هایی از مچ‌هایشان بیرون زده بود. هر نگهبانی مسئول فضای بین زمان خود و زمان نگهبان بعدی بود. رهبرشان ��ه بین ساعت دوازده و یک می‌ایستاد، بر کار آن‌ها نظارت می‌کرد. گروهی از بازرسان که با دقت انتخاب می‌شدند، وظیفه‌ی سرکشی به نگهبانان فلزی را بر عهده داشتند؛ موجودات دون‌پایه‌ای که جرأت نداشتند ناقصان وصیت‌نامه را زیر سؤال ببرند. این بازرسان هر یکصد ‌هزار سال ظاهر می‌شدند تا مطمئن شوند همه‌چیز رو به راه است و تکه‌ی وصیت‌نامه در جای امن خود قرار دارد.»؛ پایان نقل. ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Audrey.
994 reviews152 followers
December 31, 2017
This is Garth Nix's series for middle grade. There's a book for each day of the week, so that's quite a commitment as far as a series goes. I found it very creative, unpredictable, and fast moving with solid writing and interesting characters.

Re-read to refresh my memory before continuing the series.
486 reviews54 followers
December 3, 2007
The one where dangerously asthmatic Arthur gains possession of a clock hand that embroils him in a conflict with supernatural agents -- one that takes the form of a strange journey in one realm, and a deadly plague in another.

This was wildly original and yet also boring, which takes some doing. Part of the trouble was the writing, which was often clunky and weighed down with unnecessary details. Part of it was the plotting; sometimes the rules and complications were just right, but other times they seemed arbitrary, put into place just to create some suspense. ("The dinosaurs couldn't get in, but now they can, because he's changed the boundaries!" "Can't use it until midnight! What if I don't wake up in time?")

Arthur gets involved in the supernatural doings in a way that's even more accidental than it usually is in these kinds of books -- the object is quite literally put in his hand by someone he doesn't know, and after that happens, he lets us know that he's often gotten in trouble in the past for his curiosity, something that we saw no sign of until a motivation was needed.

I realize that the rules of POV are a lot stricter in slash than they are in regular fiction, but the POV shifts here really bugged me; 95% of the book is told in Arthur's POV, and so it's really jarring when we go out of it for three paragraphs just so we can learn something that Arthur doesn't know.

Maybe they get better as the series goes along, but I don't think I'll be bothering.

(2007 Locus poll: Sir Thursday #5 YA SFF)
Profile Image for aPriL does feral sometimes .
1,844 reviews420 followers
November 4, 2022
If Harry Potter had been raised as a fundamentalist Christian, and someone gave him LSD, a story like ‘Mister Monday’ by Garth Nix might result. Especially so if he studied the myths surrounding King Arthur (originally an English Christian myth).

Even though I thought the fantasy elements were whimsically fun and interesting, most of the characters are disguised heroes and villains from the Bible. Although apologists try to make the case the author was using tropes from Joseph Campbell's world mythology books, which I have read from cover to cover - twice - I felt as if I was reading a more intense Nardia adventure with more overt and complex biblical imagery.

All Christian beliefs came from older religions. The Bible is a collection of stolen stories from older cultures around the Mediterranean Sea. It seemed to me 'Mister Monday' includes only those religious tropes which were stolen by Christianity from the older religions.

The book is aimed at 9-12 year olds. Christian kids probably adore the book. But I do not believe this is a general world myth introduction for kids.
Profile Image for katie.
206 reviews34 followers
April 12, 2007
Okay, so I was all set to love this book. Like REALLY LOVE IT. I picked it up a few weeks ago but had to return it to the library, but because I was so SET TO LOVE IT etc., I went out and bought my own copy to take to New Zealand.


I just didn't believe a bit of it. I thought the dialogue was rubbish. Arthur came across really nothingy to me. I loved the actual concepts, but it felt badly executed. I'm bothered, because it could've been so fantastic, and I heard an interview with Garth Nix the other day and he sounded so wonderfully lovely and just my sort of bloke, but ARGH. Maybe I just don't get it! I feel like I have to justify myself with this, because it seems so universally loved. But then, I'm not a Sabriel et al fan either, so.

Anyway, none of that really matters because I managed to lose the book somewhere between Te Anau and Dunedin. Perhaps it was my subconscious at work, SAVING ME FROM FINISHING IT. I hope so.
Profile Image for Auntie Terror.
407 reviews103 followers
August 17, 2021
This didn't pull me in as much as the Abhorsen Chronicles did from the very start, maybe because of the target audience being younger for this.
I liked the sketch-style artwork included in the book, and the general "visual" aesthetics of the world Arthur is pulled into. The story as such is interesting enough and, at this point, nebulous enough, too, to make me want to continue the series in time, despite the lengthy passage here and there.
Profile Image for Kogiopsis.
759 reviews1,452 followers
June 11, 2011
It's Garth Nix. Was there ever a chance I wouldn't like it?

That said, I wouldn't have read this book - let alone bought it - if not for a glowing recommendation from the great and wonderful Cillian/BB. And so here's a big thank-you to her, because while my mind wasn't (quite) blown, I am glad not to have missed out on what seems a fantastic series.

My primary reservation about the Keys to the Kingdom series is its target age group - and yes, I know that's silly, because how could the man who wrote Sabriel ever create something puerile and immature? And rest assured, fellow readers, that he has not. While on the surface a simple (if rather bizarre) adventure story, Mister Monday has a great distinction in that it is the only book i have ever read where one of the things that compels me to read the sequels was the symbolism and allegories. But more on that later - and I promise not to write an AP Lit essay on the subject, even though it's definitely possible.

First, there's the hero, Arthur Penhaligon. Let me say that again: Arthur. PENHALIGON. PEN HAL IGON.
Now, quick, tell me which figure out of legend he probably resembles!
If you said "King Arthur", you'd be right.
Not that this is a bad thing. To the contrary - a well-executed twist on Arthurian legend can be great fun, and for me personally it's quite a draw. There's definitely an element of the legends in this Arthur's quest, though it remains to be seen how large an element it is; so far it's very interesting.
Outside of his name, Arthur is quite a good lead. Asthmatic and very much limited by hit, smart, shy, and courageous - what's not to like? One thing, actually, and that is: I never got a sense of Arthur's hobbies. What does he do when he's not in school or the House? Hopefully that question will be answered later in the series.

And then there's Suzy Blue, who Arthur meets inside the House. I don't want to spoil anything, so I'll content myself by saying she's a typical Nix heroine, even if she's not in the spotlight - smart, capable, and determined. Give her time and she could stand proudly beside Sabriel.

The world of the House itself comes next, and boy, this must have been fun to write! The basic idea is that the House was created by the Architect to watch over the 'Secondary Realms' that She also created. (Yes, God is a girl; Garth Nix is awesome, or have I mentioned that already?) Inside the House, it seems, anything is possible. For a writer, that's surely like the best playground ever build. And boy, does Nix ever play - the world of the Lower House is a strange, wonderful, and sometimes scary hodgepodge of quasi-automatons, elevators that look like rays of light, traffic in sicknesses, windows into the age of the dinosaurs and more. From Mister Monday's antechamber, filled with the tents of those who've been waiting centuries to the audience, to the lightless depths of the Deep Coal Cellar where a being that may or may not be a reference to Satan is chained, the House has it all - and this is just the lower levels! I can't wait to see more of it in later books.

And that, of course, brings me to the symbolism. I admit, I got a little wary when the Old One - enemy of the Architect - was first mentioned. There was a part of me that worried it was going to become some trite moralizing story, with a big conflict between Good and Evil brewing, and that's kind of it but not quite. The Old One isn't really the Devil - he's more a combination between a primeval force of chaos and Prometheus, and he suffers. He also doesn't seem likely to be a major player later. If I'm right, the conflict is between Arthur and the Trustees who betrayed the Architect's trust, and so instead of being about Good and Evil it's about simple corruption and forgiveness. There are shades of gray, and they are marvelous.

Now, the Trustees. This is what really intrigues me. There are seven of them, named after days of the week. The first and least is Mister Monday, this book's villain. One of the characters identifies (rather self-righteously) his 'problem' as sloth. So... will all the other Trustees be defined by the Seven Deadly Sins? Also, do Mondays suck because their caretaker is lax? It would be a good explanation, I think.

This book feels to me like a blend of the His Dark Materials Trilogy and the Pendragon series, and I quite enjoyed it. In fact, the day I finished it I went looking for the sequel in the bookstore of a small town I was passing through, and I would have bought it - but they had only one Nix Book (in the whole store!) and it was one I'd never heard of. For shame, for shame. I'll get Grim Tuesday somehow...

P.S.: The mention of virulent flu outbreaks in the past and Arthur's fear of losing those he loved to a plague made the atmosphere almost dystopian. I almost forgot to mention that.
Profile Image for A_ bookbound _soul.
185 reviews42 followers
October 11, 2019
4 stars!

This is one of the books which I thought to be boring at first and set it down to read some other time. And months later when I picked it up again I was up all night! So I guess it basically depends upon mood. I definitely want to continue with the series.
The world the Garth Nix has created is eccentric , peculiar and full of surprises. It will surely take your imagination to next level... I loved the concept, which was definitely unique and highly creative and the characters were great too! Especially Suzy! And Will!

Some might say that the series is for children but I enjoyed is nonetheless.(My favorite genre currently is YA though.)

I'd definitely recommend it. At least give it a try.
Profile Image for Zoe Stewart (Zoe's All Booked).
295 reviews1,476 followers
October 9, 2019
I enjoyed this just as much as I did the last time I read it, which was probably 10 years ago! A quick, easy read, with an enjoyable plot. Turns out I like middle grade as an adult if I read it when I was part of that age group. Hopefully, this continues with the few I never read back then!
Profile Image for aria ♡.
650 reviews38 followers
December 10, 2022
The first and least of the fragments was fused inside a single clear crystal, harder than diamond. Then the crystal was encased in a box of unbreakable glass. The box was locked inside a cage of silver and malachite, and the cage was fixed in place on the surface of a dead sun at the very end of Time. Around the cage, twelve metal Sentinels stood guard, each taking post upon one of the numbers of a clock face that had been carved with permanent light in the dark matter of the defunct star.

Arthur Penhaligon’s (Pendragon’s?) Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Week. Starting with Monday. This book was so much fun
Profile Image for Harold Ogle.
307 reviews43 followers
December 16, 2011
The book starts off great, and then devolves into very dull and pedestrian YA fiction. I bought it from our local used book shop on the strength of the first several pages, in which the world is established. The beginning reads like a saga or a good role-playing session: there is an incredibly powerful artifact called the Will which must never be used but cannot be destroyed. So the powers that be have split the Will into seven parts, and scattered those seven parts across all of creation. We see that one segment of the Will has been taken to the last few moments of the universe, contained in a time bubble on the surface of a neutron star within an unbreakable box in the center of an eldritch clock face, guarded by twelve wardens who resemble nothing so much as Simmons' Shrike. The jailers visit periodically, to survey that everything is contained properly. The Will is so powerful that even its segments are fully sentient, and by careful and patient subterfuge, the segment manages to trick one of the jailers into inadvertently helping it to escape. It then sneaks into and possesses the jailer, manipulating him further to convince Mister Monday (of the title) into bestowing one of his keys of power - the minute hand of a clock (you can tell that clocks and Time are a big motif) onto a mortal. But when we get to that point, the story collapses into mediocrity.

There's two major categories of problem I have with the book at this point. First, the plot is such a rote copy of the template for modern YA fantasy novels that there is no tension, surprise or delight in reading it. YA novels like this one feature a lowly junior high school student who is an outcast and/or misfit (usually from a broken home) who stumbles across some amazing object that bestows astonishing powers upon the bearer. The kid wrestles for some time with this, at first denying it, then letting his curiosity (often fueled by desperation engendered by some external threat) lead him to using the object to go to Another Place, where he spends some time bumbling around until he meets the Plucky Native. The Plucky Native serves as a guide, then later a friend and/or romantic interest. The kid is still in denial about being the Chosen One, but when the Plucky Native is kidnapped/threatened, he has to step up and own his powers so that he can save his friend/lover. The big bad guy makes an appearance, usually to try to reclaim the object that the kid has. They fight, and all looks bad for the kid until he pulls some clever reversal and defeats the bad guy. Then the kid tries to resume his normal life. If you've read any fantasy YA books in the last twenty-five years, you've seen this plot again and again. The setting of this book is so imaginative, but the plot seems produced wholly by a template.

The second major problem I have with the book is that the protagonist is singularly unlikable and unrelate-able. Reading "Mister Monday," I had no sympathy for or connection with the kid. Instead I found him whiny and irritating throughout.
Profile Image for Kristina.
255 reviews28 followers
August 8, 2020
I found this first book to be extremely entertaining. Filled with mythological and folkloric motifs, mixed with plenty of steampunk settings, and stirred with non-stop action, I devoured this novel in (almost) one sitting. Arthur (the asthmatic, unlikely hero) was well-developed and loyal as was his equally heroic sidekick, Suzy Turquoise Blue (she’s my favorite). Everyone else was dubiously trustworthy for various reasons and I can’t wait to journey to Tuesday to find out. There were also numerous religious overtones within but I didn’t find them to be stifling or overdone. I would recommend this series to teens or older middle-graders as there was some pretty deep philosophy here as well relating to being and nothingness. Overall, this was a stellar, exciting journey.
Profile Image for Zele.
12 reviews2 followers
August 7, 2013
Mister Monday, the first of seven novels from Garth Nix, is a fantastical fantasy adventure which utilizes imagination.

Adventure fiction has always been a part of my childhood, from Gulliver’s Travels to The Famous Five. Amongst these beloved treasures is a series of books that should be read by every child, The Keys to the Kingdom. Within this series of books, Mister Monday introduces the world of dog faced security guards, ceramic komodo dragons that come to life, and an adventure that every child will be sorry to miss.

The main character is Arthur Penhaligon, an asthmatic 12 year old boy who has an asthma attack and discovers he has been chosen to become the Rightful Heir of the House, by the conniving Mister Monday. Through Arthur’s adventures, he comes across many funny and likeable characters, such as Suzy Turquoise Blue who accompanies him for most of his journey, and a talking fragment, that takes the form of a frog, named the Will that guides Arthur. Throughout the series, and especially in Mister Monday, the reader gets to see Arthur struggle and try to cope with his asthma, and with the knowledge of a world only he seems able to see.

The main storyline of The Keys to the Kingdom is of Arthur trying to defeat the Morrow Days, the criminal key keepers of portions of the House, which is the centre of the universe. Mister Monday takes place in the Lower House and deals with the deadly sin of sloth. It is in this novel that Arthur starts his adventure and learns about why he has been chosen, and who exactly controls what happens in his world. In the second half of the book, the reader learns, as well as Arthur, about the history of the House and the mysterious Architect.

The vivid imagery and excellent description of characters and the surroundings invites young readers to share in the construction of an incredible universe. The secondary characters are vibrant to say the least; Monday’s Noon, a servant of Mister Monday, appears as a scary henchman that would scare even grown adults with his ferocious attitude and actions: Suzy Turquoise Blue, a cockney girl who becomes a close friend of Arthurs, and is a funny and charismatic character that brings a sense of light heartedness to the adventure.

The writing is simply written and thought evoking in asking the reader to participate in the mysteries, and the description and characterization are second to none as the reader can fully relate to the multiple characters introduced during the first book. Garth Nix has done a marvellous job in writing an incredible fantasy adventure that will last through the ages.

The appropriate age range for Mister Monday would be – Ages 9 and up

This book would be best being read out to a class, if it was read out then it would be suitable for ages 7 and up. This book in particular will spark many imaginations for creative writing and will also help further the children’s skill set in being able to describe, question and explore.
Profile Image for J. Aleksandr Wootton.
Author 5 books126 followers
April 5, 2021
Really fun - nearly 4 stars, but pulled itself short of taking advantage of its potential archetypes and mythic meanings.

Aesthetically, a sort of steampunk angelology fantasy, with ghosts and immortals hard at work in a great House, sort of like Spirited Away, and a few whispers of classical tropes like underworldly journeys and a bound titan. Continuous and often-surprising action frequently threaded with short bursts of exposition, the just-enough type that keeps the story flowing but doesn't really explain.

Shows a lot of potential. I expect I'll read the rest of the series.

Happy Monday, everyone.
Profile Image for Amber J.
850 reviews51 followers
February 12, 2021
Yeah, this one did not live up to my expectations. Maybe if I was like 10 years old this would have been a fun and interesting read, but for me, it was just boring, and this coming from someone who generally enjoys YA. I won't be continuing the series. To be honest, the only reason I even tried to finish it was because I needed it for a challenge.
Profile Image for Jerry.
4,614 reviews54 followers
August 5, 2016
An exciting fantasy adventure; can't wait to read the rest of the series!
Profile Image for Andy.
1,120 reviews73 followers
August 26, 2021
Es gab das geozentrische Weltbild, das Kopernikus ersetze durch das heliozentrische Weltbild. Doch was wäre, wenn es noch ein anderes gäbe, nämlich das Nixonische ;) Weltbild von Garth Nix. Die Reihe ist keine typische YA-Reihe. Sie kommt ohne Liebesgeschichte aus und ob man sich mit den Figuren identifizieren möchte, sei jedem selbst überlassen. Ich brauche das nicht.
Die Schlüssel zum Königreich - Leseempfehlung!

Mein Re-re-re-re-read
Profile Image for Andy.
2,354 reviews175 followers
May 2, 2018
This was a decent book, but it didn't really capture my attention. I think listening to the audio didn't help in this case as I kept getting distracted by a million other things.

Arthur was a decent narrator and I liked him a bit since he reminded me of my younger brother with his asthma problems. I also haven't read many books with a main character having asthma so that was different and unique.

The world that Arthur falls into, was weird and strange. I liked it but I didn't really understand how it worked. Again I think this is because I had a hard time paying attention. I liked Leaf and I was happy she tried to help Arthur when he collapsed from asthma. I wanted her to be more involved than she was. At least Arthur makes allies in the other world.

I was glad that Arthur wasn't a push over, the villains kept trying to steal the key back from him, but he didn't give in. In fact, he got help and came up with a half plan to make things right.
Profile Image for Jamie.
63 reviews3 followers
February 5, 2010
I'm not sure what to say about this book. I liked it enough that I'm planning on reading the second in the series, but I don't really know why. It was a little bit tough to get through the first half (maybe more) but I perservered and the story seemed to grow on me. That being said, I don't feel the author did a great job of helping the reader to identify, or even care about, the main character(s). I guess the mysteriousness of "The Will" has me intrigued and I've liked other books by this author enough to keep going.
Profile Image for Erika.
212 reviews1,632 followers
July 7, 2017
This review and more can be found on Living for the Books

This book is very different from what I usually read and there's kind of a backstory to why I ended up reading it. I was at the library with my boyfriend and I really wanted him to read The Raven Boys because it's my fave, so I agreed to read a book that he picked out for me. Yeah, our reading tastes are not the same. It's not that I didn't want to like this book, it just isn't for me. Even when I was younger, I probably wouldn't have picked up the book because I was even more of a cover snob and the main character was a boy (ew boys - middle school me probably).

Anyway, onto my actual review. This book wasn't necessarily bad, it just isn't something that I usually enjoy. While I have read some really good middle grade books, the majority of them don't appeal to me because I find it more difficult to connect to the characters. Arthur isn't an unlikable character, but I couldn't really connect to him. His sole motivation seemed to be curing people of this virus and while that's not a bad motivation there wasn't really any insight into who he was as a person, other than he's a decent human being that doesn't want people to die.

The plot of this book was kind of confusing. I'm not really sure why the Will needed to do what it does because the real world seemed fine. The weird world that Arthur goes to doesn't seem to be in the greatest of shape, but there wasn't really anything outright wrong with it, I think. The book also kind of just throws you into the world without much help, except for the info dumping that occurs sporadically, but always during or right before it's most convenient. The rules of the world don't seem to be clear and seem to allow for pretty much anything to happen, especially if it'll move the plot along.

The side characters all seemed to have ridiculous names that I found distracting. At one point, Arthur says that one of his siblings was named Eminor and is a musician, but he changed his name and I just found that so ridiculous. What kind of a name is that, at least go with Melody if you're trying to go with a music name. The side characters were all just kind of weird and honestly not really important for the most part, except for maybe Suzy. Suzy gets a lot more page time than most of the other characters, aside from Arthur, and she would have been a great character if her dialogue wasn't so bad. She's supposed to be from the time of the bubonic plague, but sometimes she talks like she's from the 1900s or like she's from the south. It didn't really make much sense.

The story was definitely creative and I could see many middle grade readers really enjoying this book, but it wasn't my cup of tea. I don't really plan on continuing this series, mainly because there's seven books, unless they get a lot better.
Profile Image for Muchomůrka.
54 reviews9 followers
January 13, 2012
Artur Penhaligon je astmatik, který se právě přestěhoval do nového města. Avšak hned první den neproběhne tak, jak by měl normální školní den proběhnout. Artur při hodině tělesné výchovy málem zemře kvůli astmatickému záchvatu, ale zachrání ho pomoc spolužáku a ještě jedna, o hodně důležitější věc.... Klíč. Věc, která vypadá jako hodinová ručička.
Zjevil se mu totiž pan Pondělí se svým věrným sluhou Kýchalem. Kýchala však posedla část Vůle Zakladatelky. Přinutila ho, aby poradil panu Pondělí, že má Klíče - menší i větší - předat dítěti z druhořadé říše, který je na krajičku smrtí. Po smrti totiž klíč dostane zase pan Pondělí. Avšak po předání menšího Klíče začíná mít pan Pondělí podezření. Uvědomí se, že něco je špatně. A tady začíná celý příběh.....

Knížka se mi moc líbila... Líbily se mi ty steampunkové detaily... Ty příšery... Prostě dokonalé! Psi v cylindrech :D :D U toho jsem se nasmála...

Připravila jsem si jednu ukázku, která není nic zvláštního.. Ale když jsem tyto odstavce četla, uvědomila jsem si: Toto je ta správná ukázka... Úžasná! A taková steampunková!! :D A přesně pro to mám strašně velkou slabost :)
Komisář se narovnal a pomalu si odšrouboval pravou ruku. Zastrčil si ji za opasek, potom si z kabátu vytáhl ruku o mnoho podivnější. Tato neměla prsty, jen široké ostří jakoby ze sekáčku na maso. Našrouboval si ji na zápěstí. Jakmile pevně držela, sekáček se rozechvěl a tak rychle rozkmital, že z něj byla jen ocelová šmouha.
Komisář se opět předklonil a přiblížil zbraň k Arturovu zápěstí. Chlapec vykřikl, ale než stačil něco udělat, nebo se ho dotkla čepel, Klíč mu z nenadání vystřelil z ruky jako šíp. Vnořil se komisaři do hrudní kosti, vyletěl mu ze zad a vrátil se Arturovi do ruky.
Nevyřinula se žádná krev. Komisařovu tvář opanoval lehce zmatený výraz. Vstal a ustoupil a odněkud z těla se mu ozvalo skřípění ozubených převodů. Potom se mu zevnitř roztrhl modrý kabát a z hrudi mu zůstala ochable viset rozbitá pružina. Tu hned v zápětí následovalo rachocení spršky ozubených koleček, která se vysypala za zničenou pružinou a dopadla na zem.
Komisař pomalu sklopil hlavu, aby se na sebe podíval, pozvedl nezměněnou ruku, aby se dotkl hrudi, potom strnul a z koutků očí a z úst se mu vyřinul slabý čůrek stříbrné tekutiny.
Bylo ticho.

- str. 138
Profile Image for Wealhtheow.
2,406 reviews535 followers
December 31, 2011
Arthur has such terrible asthma that his main ambition in life is just getting a next breath, so when a magical key is pressed into his hand and he becomes imbued with extraordinary powers, he's more than a bit nonplussed. There's little time to ponder, however, and Arthur quickly learns how to use the key while being chased through his school by dog-faced men in suits. All too soon Arthur is lost in a magical realm where no one and nothing is as it seems. Through it all, Arthur never loses sight of his consideration and empathy.

This is a really fantastic fantasy book. There are some sincerely creepy and scary parts, and I was actively afraid for Arthur. The magic system is intricate and interesting, with a lovely Victorian flair to it. And Arthur himself is a wonderful, engaging main character, who immediately felt to me both realistic and likable.
Profile Image for James Helgren.
11 reviews1 follower
February 16, 2010
right now i am on page 175 when Arther had met the Will and Suzy. They almost got completly squashed when a elavator suddenly stopped! They are also getting chased by man eating dogs wearing coats and bowler hats. AWKWARD!!!!
Profile Image for Amanda Pearl.
516 reviews262 followers
April 7, 2021
I'm re-reading these for nostalgia. This is a great middle grade fantasy series, excellent use of the days of the week and seven deadly sins. I'm so fond <3
Profile Image for Barbara ★.
3,451 reviews226 followers
December 13, 2011
Arthur Penhaligon suffers from asthma and has been hospitalized many times. During a gym class at a new school, he suffers so badly that two of the students decide to get help and leave him alone. While he is alone, Mister Monday and Sneezer appear out of nowhere and gift Arthur with a clock minute hand which Arthur calls the key. They do this because they believe Arthur is going to die and they can immediately get the key back. (Mister Monday must relinquish the key as The Will dictates but there is nothing that says he cannot take it back). However, the key actually helps Arthur breathe and saves his life. Arthur thinks the whole thing is a hallucination from oxygen deprivation but when the police and ambulance quarantine the school, he starts to believe that something weird went down. Thus starts a bizarre adventure with dastardly villains (Mister Monday to be exact, as well as his evil minions) and danger at every turn. Arthur is immediately swept up into the House and into a very strange situation. He has the help of Suzy Turquoise Blue and The Will (in the form of a frog). Of course, Arthur's only goal is to find a cure for the plague that has shut down his town and return home but The Will has other plans for Arthur.

This is a really interesting story from Garth Nix, an author I've never read before but will definitely be reading again...book 2, Grim Tuesday to be exact as soon as the library coughs it up.
Profile Image for Phrynne.
3,111 reviews1,975 followers
October 15, 2014
This book started off really well but became less interesting as it went along. It seemed to be leaning towards a children's book as opposed to being young adult and some of the dialogue in particular reflected this. I must admit to skimming some of Arthur's very long journey to find the hour key and I found the conclusion when it eventually arrived to be less than satisfying. An okay read but I will not be rushing out to get the sequel.
Profile Image for Karen.
447 reviews
February 19, 2009
All in all a good read. With the idea that there are other realms that can and do have connection to this life isn't a new idea. The way in which it is presented however is new. As Arthur finds out that sometimes you have to do the hard things in life not only for yourself but for others, he discovers his own growth.
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