3.5 stars out of 5
The Keys to the Kingdom is a book series by Garth Nix. There are seven books in the series that follow the days of the week. Each book tells the story of how Arthur fought a trustee on that day in order to gain another key. The hope is that once all keys are united, Arthur can claim his full inheritance as the Rightful Heir to the Architect, the creator of all universes and the House.
The series is meant for kids or teens and I originally read it in middle school. I loved it enough to reread it now and I still liked it. I found I had grown out of some of its magic as my tastes have changed, but it is still a good read.
The Architect created the House to oversee all worlds. Seven trustees were given a piece of her power to share in power until an heir was found. Corruption lead and the Will was imprisoned so that an heir would not be named. But time and cleverness broke those bonds and an unimportant Earthling was named.
The world that Nix created is fascinating. Each level of the house differs in style to the characteristics of each trustee and yet is coherent. Paper, ink, and words have power here. Imagination flourishes and creatures of Nothing, winged fighters, and magical manifestations are abundant.
I do wish the story was either longer to explore each new encounter more fully or that Nix cut back on how many different species there were. After reading a few books a reader expects to understand the world in which they are reading, but there are still numerous surprises. While that is a bit exciting, it is also overwhelming.
Not only is there a pattern in the days of the week, but each trustee represents a different cardinal sin. I’ll not tell you which is which, but it will become obvious as you read who is the representation of greed, sloth, lust, pride, wrath, envy, and gluttony.
I didn’t realize the pattern the first time I read the series, although I did notice something was off about each of their characters. Reading it now has become painfully obvious and a bit cliched. I do think it works for the story though. It is clever that the seven days of the week coexists will the seven deadly sins. Very clever.
The thing I both love and hate about the books is Arthur’s young age. In the first few books, he is innocent and stubborn to the point of aggravation. But he matures as the series goes on. Adventure and real hardships polish Arthur into, maybe not an intelligent senior citizen, but an understanding young adult.
Arthur’s growth is real and you can really see it change. I wonder if it is too obvious. There are times in the story where Arthur repeatedly states a line he will not cross and comes out whiny a lot of the time. He gets better, but it never disappears entirely.
5 stars out of 5
Of course, I never thought that as a kid. When I first read the series I was enraptured by it. I did give it five stars out of five back then and I think that is important to state. This series is no longer for me. But it once was, and I enjoy looking back on my simple loves.
There are seven books in the series. You can try them individually or buy the set from Amazon.
(Arthur is thrown into a strange world of magic and conniving politics all centered around him who is the Rightful Heir of the House by chance.)
(Arthur fights his fate and tries to live a normal life, but Tuesday uses politics and monsters to try and force Arthur to surrender.)
(An invitation for Arthur to the sea draws in Leaf who finds adventure is not everything she thought it would be.)
(Arthur is conscripted into the Glorious Army of the Architect and must to learn to be a soldier and a leader quickly. Nothing begins to consume the worlds.)
(Friday forgoes all caution and takes what she wants from Earth leaving Arthur’s home in shambles.)
(Arthur takes initiative and travels to the Saturday’s tower fighting against the most powerful sorcerers in the House.)
(The final fight for the last key includes armies from multiple factions and truths reveal themselves.)