A lot of people I talk to have read Garth Nix’s ‘The Old Kingdom’ series – and if you haven’t I’ll probably review it too. However, not as many know about The Keys to the Kingdom.
Here’s a general plot – ‘The Creator’ left and those created after him are trying to keep the world going. They each have roles, requirements, personalities, and at some point they were corrupted so the world isn’t running as it should.
Main character is a young boy who starts out exploring this new world in the book ‘Mister Monday’. We enter into a land filled with intense imagery, complex intertwining characters, and a boy trying to survive it all and help his family – because the real world isn’t doing so hot either.
The stakes escalate with each book as the different watchers of creation (each named for a day, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, etc) try to stop what’s happening. As the boy defeats / overcomes each corrupted guardian the situation outside and in the other world changes.
I loved the characters most in this story. Each one felt real and distinct. There might have been a few details that overlapped but I could keep them straight in my mind (and even a decade later I still remember their general builds very well – that says something for imagery).
I found little to be annoyed at aside from some of the world setting issues. At some points it became harder to keep track of because each ‘day’s’ bailiwick is different than the one before it. As each day is defeated it’s described how this world he’s traveling into is falling apart (as is the outside one). It can be hard to keep track of unless you’re reading them all in a row. Binging them is probably the best option because the ending wraps right around to the start and is a bit more mind blowing that way.
The stories are short but they’re quality work. If you’re a fan of younger protagonists and ever increasing stakes, give the first book a whirl. I bought most right as they were coming out and don’t regret the decision at all.