The Keys to the Kingdom Series by Garth Nix
Posted by Caitie F on November 30, 2010
I received the first three books in this seven books series from my husband last Christmas because it was recommended in 1001 Children’s Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up. I wanted to finish the series by the end of the year and I did. Instead of reviewing each book individually, I thought I would review the series as a whole.
As I was trying to summarize, I actually foudn the best short summary is on Wikepedia.
“The series chronicles the adventures of Arthur Penhaligon, an asthmatic 12-year-old boy who is chosen to become the Rightful Heir of the House, the epicenter of the universe. The core storyline involves Arthur attempting to defeat the Morrow Days, the criminal Trustees of the House. The series takes place over a span of three weeks (time moves at different speeds at different locations in the series).”
Each day is another book and another Trustee that Arthur must fight. Luckily, he is not alone, he has friends that he meets in the first book that are with him all along.
This is a great MG-YA series for boys. Arthur is a very unlikely hero, but it helps make him a very likeable guy. You can’t help but cheer for Aurthur in all his quests – and there are a lot. In order to defeat the Trustees, he must collect the Will of the Architect (the creator of the universe) and gain the keys. If he doesn’t the entire universe will be reduced to Nothing.
The characters shine in this series. It is great to watch Arthur’s transformation from boy who is about to die from an asthma attack to a hero who is trying to save the world. He has many internal struggles over the right thing to do, which really made me think.
The Trustees were all very difficult foes, as they represent the seven deadly sins, but with a fantasy twist. To represent Lust, Lady Friday takes human experiences to enjoy at her own pleasure. Drowned Wednesday eats so much that she becomes a whale.
The overall story is also very well-done. Nix knows how to write to his audience, both in his style and his pacing. I thought the ending was very clever and I did not expect exactly what happened. I had a slight guess at the result of the keys coming together, but I was not 100% correct.
The first couple books in the series were complete stories, but after Wednesday, the stories didn’t really end which I found frustrating. Books need to be able to stand on their own. I am glad that I read them after they were all published, or it would have annoyed me even more.
Some of the characters could have been much better developed and I wish they books could have been longer to make that happen. I understand why, I just thought it was dixsappointing.
I would have to recommend this book and strongly recommend it to male, fantasy lovers ages 9-15.
Have you read the series? What did you like or dislike about it? Do you know someone who might like it? Let me know in the comments!