Sunday, 7 March 2010

Lady Friday by Garth Nix

March 2007, HarperCollins
382 pages, Paperback
Review Copy

Children's, Fantasy

Cushions: 5
Daggers: 4
Smiles: 5
Tissues: 2
Yunaleska's recommended rating: ♥♥♥♥♥+

Summary from HarperCollins

Friday is here! The race is on to find the secret of the Middle House. The fifth eagerly awaited installment in Garth Nix’s best selling fantasy series,The Keys to the Kingdom.

Arthur Penhaligon’s adventures in the House get ever more perilous as the week unfolds. On the fifth day, there was fear… Four of the seven Trustees have been defeated and their Keys taken, but for Arthur, the week is still getting worse. Suzy Blue and Fred Initial Numbers Gold have been captured by the Piper, and his New Nithling army still controls most of the Great Maze. Superior Saturday is causing trouble wherever she can, including turning off all the elevators in the House and blocking the Front Door. Arthur can't even find out what is happening back home. All he knows is that Leaf isn't on earth any more. She's missing and so are hundreds of other people who were transferred from regular hospitals to a private institution run by a 'Doctor Friday'. From there they have been taken somewhere else in the Secondary Realms, for Lady Friday's own horrible purposes. Amid all this trouble, Arthur’s mother is also missing, and he must weigh up an offer from Lady Friday that is either a cunning trap for the Rightful Heir or a golden opportunity he must seize – before Superior Saturday or the Piper beats him to it.

Green isn't my favourite colour, but I think the creature on the cover is cute in a non-fluffy way.It turns even cuter when I discovered what it was. illustration for this story is an elegant mirror, which I initially thought might be a positive reflection of the appearance or character of Lady Friday. I was wrong. The mirror is evil.

I beamed when the prologue begin with Leaf. I love how much courage she has in the face of danger, how much she trusts Arthur even though technically she has known him for less than a week. The more she appears in the story, the happier I am. I enjoy Arthur's character, but Leaf is my favourite, with Suzy coming in a close second. Her weapons so far are amusing- an umbrella and a mop.

The prologue this time provided a concise summary of the story so far. Although I'm reading the series in quick succession, I wasn't bored by the recap. The fact that it centres around Leaf gives me high hopes that she will feature more in here than in Sir Thursday. (She does!)

As I suspected in earlier books, the more Keys and Wills that Dame Primus acquires, the more powerful and scheming she becomes. I think she might turn on Arthur at some point. (check out My Thoughts on Keys to the Kingdom series for more on this prediction)

This story starts with a huge twist in plot that was on the same scale as the twist at the end of Sir Thursday. I nearly hugged the book in delight with where the story was branching off to. The twists keep happening, making sure I'm always near the edge of my seat.

It's good how the memories of war affect Arthur. With so much war going on in our world, I feel its important that messages like this are in books because they subtly get the point across tothe readers, who might otherwise not realise how war can affect participants.

The fact that Saturday wants so many beings destroyed suggest that they could be used to atta k her, or at the least cause disruption. I wonder if Arthur will make this connection and use it in his plans. (click here for further analysis of this point).

The environments were particularly memorable in this tale. Where Arthur ends up in chapter 3 had me thinking of a winter wonderland, for Leaf's world in chapter 4 I was reminded of settings in video games and anime. I kniw she is in danger, but the environment has me hanging off the edge of my seat thinking "cool".

I don't agree with Suzy's self assessment that she is like a bad penny. She's a very good penny, always able to help Arthur out in some way. Whether it is a way that gets them out of trouble is a different matter entirely.

I like how secondary characters like Leaf's aunt Mango are used to dtermine the course of action Leaf and Arthur must take.

The return of Fetchers was a surprise. I thought they would stay away from Arthur since he defeated Monday.

I like all the references to objects and incidents in earlier stories. It binds the series together and triggers memories of what happened earlier on in the adventure. Water and other liquids are quite a popular element of this series. There could well be a deep, philosophical meaning for that but I haven't got a clue what it means.

Also in the books: tea (again), arches, numbers, a raft (but different to the one in Sir Thursday).

I didn't think the book could end on a bigger twist than previous ones but I was mistaken. It's huge! I'm glad I don't have to wait to read the next one.

Garth Nix can be found on his site here.

For a sneak peek of Lady Friday, click on the link below
Make sure you've read the previous books Mister Monday, Grim Tuesday, Drowned Wednesday, Sir Thursday

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