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Mister Monday (The Keys to the Kingdom, #1)
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Mister Monday

(The Keys to the Kingdom #1)

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  33,488 ratings  ·  1,425 reviews
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 h ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published May 1st 2006 by Scholastic (first published July 1st 2003)
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Rowena In my review of this book I think I said that able readers from 10 years. It would probably lose interest for 14 and over because the protagonist is a…moreIn my review of this book I think I said that able readers from 10 years. It would probably lose interest for 14 and over because the protagonist is a pre-teen boy. I think that girls would enjoy it too. Our school has a class set of it. Hope this answers your question.(less)

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3.78  · 
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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 structur ...more
Jul 28, 2007 rated it it was ok
Shelves: locus_poll, sff
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 t
Apr 11, 2007 rated it did not like it
Shelves: unfinished
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 o
Oct 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
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.
May 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
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 wrot
Harold Ogle
Dec 15, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ya
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 se ...more
Aug 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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 c
Jan 16, 2010 rated it it was ok
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 autho ...more
James Helgren
Feb 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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!!!!
Amanda Pearl
Sep 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
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
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 pick
May 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018-read
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 h
Barbara ★
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 the ...more
Jun 25, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Wealhtheow by: Gremlin Jane
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 sigh ...more
Feb 05, 2009 rated it really liked it
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.
Aug 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, sci-fi
Excellent! Not quite on the intricate levels of Sabriel etc., but as it's for younger readers that's to be expected. Looking forward to the rest of the series!
Riley Redgate
one of my favorites ever, which derailed my moving process because i had to reread it! what a brilliant, offbeat fantasy - it truly feels magic
Aug 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
An exciting fantasy adventure; can't wait to read the rest of the series!
Jan 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
Had to hang on to my hat to keep up with what was happening. Very fanciful, but very fun. Quite adventurous and unique. Enjoyed the series.
First Look: 4/5 This looked so cool. I loved the concept, and the cover was cool and slightly creepy at the same time. Just goes to show you that you can't judge a book by its cover. Argh.

Setting: 1/5 It didn't make any sense. I was so confused. Yes, it was all explained in logical terms, but still. It just felt so out-there. I couldn't believe a word of it. Not for one minute. I had trouble imagining it, because it just felt so incredibly random. It felt just thrown-together. The characters wo
Apr 29, 2018 rated it it was ok
I'm going to be honest I was more than a little dissapointed with this book, but mostly I think I was just very confused for most of the time.

The main character is Arthur, a boy who gets dragged into a situation he knows nothing about and has to go on a dangerous mission to find out what's going on. Arthur is a very strange character who gets pulled into something he knows little to nothing about. He is very unsure and stumbles for most of the way.

There are some secondary characters but honest
Amber Scaife
Mar 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Arthur is a boy in a new town facing his first day in a new school, but his what-to-worry-about priorities sort themselves quickly after Mister Monday pops in out of thin air and hands Arthur a minute hand-shaped key. Adventure and danger follow, and Arthur finds himself in The House, an unthinkably huge and rambling place that stands outside of time and place and where all things are recorded and filed away.
Think Harry Potter as an asthmatic muggle, plopped down into Spirited Away. So, yeah, pr
Oct 13, 2014 rated it it was ok
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.
Dramatically Bookish (ReviewsMayVary)
Ok Ok... let's see. The fact that I feel like I cannot remember, understand, or explain all of the details about what is going on is probably what makes this lose a star. It's, at times, unnecessarily complicated for a basic sort of plot line: loser kid with no friends is granted powers and has to save the world. Or two, as the case may be. But it's quick moving and mostly interesting. It's short, so I will definately give it at least one more book before I decide how I really feel about it. I'm ...more
Anni (Tea in the Treetops)
Review originally posted on The Oaken Bookcase on 27/7/2012.

I listened to the audio version of Mister Monday from Bolinda Audio, borrowed from the library.

Arthur Penhaligon is just an ordinary kid – that is, until he suffers a supposedly fatal asthma attack and a strange man, Mister Monday, appears out of nothing and chooses him to be the Heir to the Keys to the Kingdom, for a little while at least. But Arthur doesn’t die like he’s supposed to, and when the people around him start dropping from
Jan 24, 2010 rated it really liked it
I read this book in 2003 and kept up with the series up until Superior Saturday. I've always regretted not finishing it. So I'm now reading them again in hopes to make it through to Lord Sunday. I remember this series being dark and metaphysical. I also remember being really impressed with Garth Nix's ability to create such interesting and intricate universe(s) along with a hierarchy of time and space governed by a type of Feudalism. Then he tosses in the seven deadly sins and the mysterious Wil ...more
aPriL does feral sometimes
If Harry Potter had been raised as a fundamentalist Christian, and someone gave him LSD, a story like this might result, especially 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
May 22, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Science fiction readers, especially the Harry Potter audience

Mister Monday is the first book in a 7-part series (one for each day of the week). The first five books are currently available. I was dubious about reading this book because I thought it would be another Harry Potter rip-off. Its turned out to be a quite an exciting read. Young teenage boy becomes a "chosen one" of sorts, and needs to avoid destruction while gaining power over part of "The House", a place where all worlds meet and should be ruled over by laws put in place by The Architect, a m
Jun 09, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi
This book was pure joy. The characters were strong, and the mythology was compelling. I love the strong Victorian influence seen in the denizens of the House. The thematic elements, overall, were just amazing. The hero undergoes a dramatic transformation following very closely the lines of the traditional hero's quest. I love that it begins with the hero undergoing symbolic death and journeying to the underworld, then concludes with him bringing back hidden wisdom and power. The only critique I ...more
BJ Rose
Oct 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
This was my first Garth Nix book and it won't be the last, especially since I want to see what happens on the other days of the week. And I have to admit that I probably liked it so much because it was so well narrated. I've found that I enjoy most fantasy books more when I listen to them rather that read the print copy. I think that's partly because I'm doing some mundane, boring task while I'm listening to this story of strange and often bizarre things that take place in an other-worldly situa ...more
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Mister Monday: How do you picture Monday's Noon? 1 3 Feb 10, 2019 06:49PM  
Mister Monday: When and where do you think the story is set? 1 2 Feb 10, 2019 06:36PM  
The Library Lived In: Mister Monday - April 2018 1 2 Apr 17, 2018 06:58PM  

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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.


Other books in the series

The Keys to the Kingdom (7 books)
  • Grim Tuesday (The Keys to the Kingdom, #2)
  • Drowned Wednesday (The Keys to the Kingdom, #3)
  • Sir Thursday (The Keys to the Kingdom, #4)
  • Lady Friday (The Keys to the Kingdom, #5)
  • Superior Saturday (The Keys to the Kingdom, #6)
  • Lord Sunday (The Keys to the Kingdom, #7)
“Sometimes it is easier to see the light when you stand partly in the darkness.” 135 likes
“Charity is a very labour-intensive virtue.” 59 likes
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