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This review is from: Grim Tuesday (The Keys to the Kingdom, Book 2) (Paperback)
Things go from bad to worse for Arthur Penhaligon in the second book of this series, "Grim Tuesday." Garth Nix's second Keys to the Kingdom book is a bit more plodding and hard to decipher than the first, but still has his deliciously dark sense of humor and knack for ghastly beasties.
It's less than a day after the near-catastrophic events of "Mister Monday." And poor Arthur thought he was going to go back to a normal life. But he's suddenly called and told that Grim Tuesday has somehow called in debts of Mister Monday's -- including Arthur's entire world, among others. Houses are being mysteriously sold, creatures are swarming through his city, and the stock market is going wonky. So Arthur has to get back to the House and somehow get everything right again.
He narrowly escapes being attacked by one of Tuesday's minions, and ends up being dumped in the Far Reaches. There, he becomes an indentured servant to Tuesday, in an enormous Pit that mines Nothing, and is undermining the very foundations of the House. With the help of his friend Suzy Blue and a nautical captain (and Tuesday's discarded soot-eating eyebrow), he must somehow get the second key and second part of the Will -- or be destroyed by Tuesday.
Nix widens the scope of the world he introduced in "Mister Monday." Now that we're acquainted with concepts like the House, the Will, and the different Days, he goes full-speed into the storyline. There are plenty of interesting hints about the future -- especially a communique from Lady Wednesday. What will Nix do next? Only time will tell.
This book is a little off-kilter -- the bureaucratic terms can make your head spin sometimes. What's more, Nix spends too much time focusing on zipping up with the Ascending Wings and clinging to the top. However, his descriptions of the mine are excellent, full of despair and misery. You can almost smell the soot and grime. Not to mention the hideous Nithlings, as creepy and sinister as anything out of Nix's classic dark fantasy "Sabriel."
Grim Tuesday is an interesting villain in himself -- the ultimate plagiarizer, a guy who can't actually make things himself. So he copies other people's art and machines, and sells them. Arthur is still trying to fight against his destiny (just accept it, kid), and such memorable characters as Japheth the Thesaurus and the quirky Suzy appear to back him up.
While it drags at times, "Grim Tuesday" is still an intriguing, imaginative read with plenty of darkness and humor. It's not as good as "Mr. Monday," but it is a solid continuation and ends with hints for the third book.