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  Bookends: Dan Davidson

The Keys to the Kingdom: Drowned Wednesday

Reviewed: November 13, 2007
By: Garth Nix
Publisher: Scholastic Books
389 pages, $9.99

It’s been quite a week for Arthur Penhaligon. It’s only Wednesday but he’s already spent months, maybe years, engaged in quests in a higher dimension than ours, one in which the Architect of everything that there is seems to have gone off somewhere and left the whole works in the hands of the Trustees, most of whom seem to have gone off the rails in terms of their obligation to their Creator.

The Architect left a will and designated an Heir. The Will is in seven pieces, scattered throughout the levels of the House. The Heir is Arthur, who happens to live on Earth, one of the Secondary Realms, and who had no idea what was going on when Mister Monday’s minions came after him on - when else? - Monday.

Having survived that encounter and become the Lord of Monday, holder of the First Key and liberator of part one of the Will, Arthur was a little less surprised, but no less challenged, when the next day of the week brought him to the attention of Grim Tuesday and his domain beneath the House, where Denizens mined the Nothing out of which everything had been created.

It was a surprise to Arthur when Lady Wednesday actually petitioned to have a meeting with him the next day rather than sending someone or something to bump him off. Of course, Arthur was recovering from a broken leg and really didn’t see how he was going to go anywhere from his hospital bed when a ship carried on a tremendous wave came crashing out of the wall of his room and carried both him and Leaf, his visiting friend, off to the Border Sea.

It turns out that Lady Wednesday has been cursed by some of the other Trustees and had mutated into a titanic compulsively ravenous leviathan which looks rather like an outsized Moby Dick, 126 miles in length from her ten mile wide mouth to her tail. It had been her intention to help the Heir carry out the Architect’s Will, but now she needs his help to recover the Key and the Will and end the curse before she destroys her own realm.

Arthur has his work more than cut out for him in his installment of The Keys to the Kingdom, and there are more than a few tense moments for him along the way. Worse, this book ends on a terrible cliffhanger and it’ll be a while before I can read the next one.

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