Sunday, 7 March 2010

Lord Sunday by Garth Nix

4th March 2010, HarperCollins
378 pages, Paperback
Review Copy

Children's, Fantasy

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

Summary from HarperCollins

In this seventh and last book of THE KEYS TO THE KINGDOM, the mysteries of the House, the Architect, the Trustees, the Keys and the Will are revealed, and the fate of Arthur, our Earth, and the entire Universe is finally decided. Arthur has wrested the Sixth Key from Superior Saturday, but has fallen from the Incomparable Gardens; fallen not to the Upper House but to somewhere completely unexpected. Alone in enemy territory, as his mind and body are further transformed by the power of the Keys, Arthur must struggle with himself as much as with his many enemies. Meanwhile, Arthur's friend Suzy Blue plots an escape from her prison in Saturday's tower, as battle rages above and below. Saturday's elite force is pressing on into the Incomparable Gardens, while her massed sorcerers fight a desperate rear-guard action against the Piper and his Newnith army. On earth, Leaf has to cope with the aftermath of a nuclear strike. Responsible for all the Sleepers in Friday's private hospital, she needs all the help she can get, particularly as Leaf herself has become a target for intruders from the House. And the tide of Nothing continues to rise, destroying everything in its path . . .

It is for books like these that vital acts such as having to make dinner and it eat feels like an invasion of time. So what if my stomach grumbles, I want to read this book! (Solved the problem by eating first!)

Since there wasn't any real conclusion in Superior Saturday, it was no surprise that a prologue was absent. The rollover of events meant none was needed. There was enough of a short summary within the early chapters that the reader is brought up to speed with events.

Arthur was in deep trouble at the end of the last book. There is no respite in chapter 1. In fact, I would go as far to say that I'm wondering how he will get any help. Things look that dire.
(Note: help came from a source I never could have guessed. I like being surprised as a reader!)

Arthur has to deal with so much in this story. I wanted to pluck him out and give him some chocolate. As a writer, I'm all for torturing characters and making them suffer, since conflict creates the best stories. Yet as a reader, I found myself pleading that Arthur's torment would lessen. There wasn't much hope of that with me being only on chapter 4. I thought what happened in the first book was tough on Arthur, yet what happens in this book is so far up the tough scale that its rating is further than I can see. I guess he has grown in capabilities and the danger has increased accordingly.

Even when respite comes I wouldn't say that a knight will come and save him. A knight's mount, well that did arrive, although it wasn't a horse...

Reaching the turning point when Arthur regained some power was a momentous occasion. I worried less about him and was able to see more moments of hope and humour. How a reader feels definitely affects how a story is interpreted.

He may be the enemy, but how Lord Sunday meets Arthur is amazing! In spite of what was happening to Arthur I was smiling when Lord Sunday arrived on the scene. He is the seventh day for good reason. His superior intelligence, compared to the other days, means that he doesn't need elaborate plans which involve hundreds of minions. Simplicity is the key to any successful plan.

Suzy's situation starts off as interesting. Due to my fear of her means of imprisonment, I felt more than a bit anxious for her, even though she was mildly better off than Arthur. Out of herself, Arthur and Leaf, Suzy was having a picnic! Yes, people do chase after her but there is humour in the fight scenes, a tone which is missing from Arthur's scenes. However, this has been a consistent feature over the whole series.
(click here for further investigation of this point).

Leaf might have access to help but she was in dire straits. And she was looking after lots of people, not just herself. One of her biggest challenges was confidence and hope. Thankfully both of those aren't too far away. I like how through her pov I learn how her and Arthur's world is dealing with the disruption from the House. How the armed forces deals with the strange goings on is as expected. I cheered when Leaf got a weapon. It was pretty standard, nothing as exciting as a mop, but still pretty cool. What filled me both wih pride and hirror was the position Leaf ended up taking on involuntarily. I think she will be good at it, but its not a job I envy her doing.

When a significant secondary character faced death I needed a tissue. The character in question had helped Arthur out, and it was sad that he wouldn't live to live past the inevitable showdown between Lord Sunday and Arthur. I suppose there always are casualties in war.

Also in the story: minions, sub-minions, weeds, showers, plants with attitude.

The ending is super. There is a fair amount of sadness, which I feel perhaps could have been examined over a few more paragraphs. Certain suspicions of mine were proved correct (see my examination of the series for details). It was a satisfactory ending, with a small potential for future works (I hope!).

Garth Nix can be found on his site here.

Please check out my evaluation of this series in My Thoughts on Keys to the Kingdom series.

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