Second title in Garth Nix’s gripping new fantasy adventure series. Arthur Penhaligon didn't think he would ever have to return to the strange house that nearly killed him on Monday – the house that contains a fantastical and sinister realm inside. But the next day brings new challenges – in the form of an enemy named Grim Tuesday, who threatens the safety of both Arthur's family and his world. Arthur must retrieve the Second Key from Grim Tuesday in order to save everything – an adventure that will force him to steal a Sunship, survive a very weird work camp, befriend a bearlike spirit and fight the void Nithlings. Even after all that, he will still have to venture into the scary Far Reaches for an ultimate showdown.
It wasn't a surprise that Arthur got a call in less than 24 hrs from the Will. I don't think life will quieten down for him for some time. It was a surprise at the difference in time inside the House and outside of it. And whereas before Arthur's world was oblivious to what was going on, now they are all in danger. This is a case of the stakes increasing on a grand scale. Like Arthur, I hadn't expected finances to be such a big issue for him. He definitely inherited more than he asked for, not that he even volunteered for the job as heir.
Each of the Days have a distinctive atmosphere to them. Tuesday is unapproachable, creating a tough domain for his minions, and a tougher one for Arthur.Evil beings are certainly devious and inventive in creating loopholes in the law. I was grr-ing at the page, yet at the same time giving Garth a mental high five for making life tough for Arthur. Although I don't think Tuesday is the only thing Arthur will need to worry about. Something evil is brewing. A tiny part of me wonders who is behind it all. An even smaller part wonders if the Will is involved. At this early stage in the series, anything is possible. (Click here to see more about this theory)
The objects that incurred the debt suit Tuesday's character and are funny to read. All the problems they are causing are far from funny. I am wondering if Arthur will be able to put things right when he sorts the matter out. It would be awful if his family's future will be permanently changed because of a mistake which isn't theirs. Knowing trouble was sent upon them was hard to read, but having to literally watch the damaged being done by Tuesday's minions was pretty hard going. I felt so sorry for Arthur, it was hard enough for him to stay alive, let alone stop the minions.
The evil details such as inanimate objects coming to life a little boosted up the fear and anticipation for me. I'm glad these moments were broken up with the humour which is scattered throughout the book. I nearly howled with laughter when I saw an umbrella being used as a weapon - I've read a few books where it is used in such a way. Plus I've spent dozens of hours hitting monsters on the head with an umbrella in a video game. I hoped Leaf might keep it as her weapon of choice. Sadly it was only temporary. I'm delighted that Leaf features briefly, perhaps in the next book she might get a larger role. (At half way through book 3, Leaf does feature a little bit, although not as much as I'd like)
As ever the secondary characters have memorable personalities. I nearly had to reach for a dictionary with all the words spewing out of indentured worker Japeth. I figured out most of them and got too caught up in his encounter with Arthur to put the book down.
Amidst the humour, I think the theme of debt slaves are broached here. As Japeth explains, there isn't any way workers can work free of their debt. This happens throughout our world. There are laws to prevent this, but corrupt companies are good at covering up the abuse when officials visit. Perhaps older readers will catch on to this theme, at least becoming aware of the darker depth of society. We may not have Nithlings and Scouchers, but there is an underworld on this planet.
What else is covered in the story: matches with smiley face flames, Russian dolls with a secret, glowing fingernails, diamonds.
Garth Nix is an author who takes readers off the edge of an abyss, dangles them by their their right clog, adds a tornado so they are battered from side to side, makes them fall almost to the bottom and then provides a safety net. But only for a minute's breather.
Spend more than a minute breathing on his website here.
Click on the link below to read an extract of Grim Tuesday.