Sunday, 15 April 2007

Book Review: Lady Friday (Garth Nix)

This review is long overdue, but then again, I'm behind on a lot of other things as well. Oh well. Here we go.


Title: Lady Friday (Book 5 of The Keys to the Kingdom)
Author: Garth Nix

On the first day, there was mystery. On the second day, there was darkness. On the third day, there were pirates. On the fourth day, there was war. On the fifth day, there was fear...

If you've got this far in the series, you'll know Arthur's story about being chosen to save the world and The house from the evil plots of House Denizens that go by the names of days. If you don't know what I'm talking about, go pick up Mister Monday and start reading the series!

What I liked:
  • Like the other four books, it had a good pace and was interestingly imaginative
  • I love the idea of Paper Pushers
  • Story is getting very interesting indeed
  • Leaf gets more to do
  • I like the idea of all parts of the Will having different personalities to balance itself out.
What I didn't like:
  • This book somehow seemed a lot shorter than the rest, even though its not.
  • The purple cover is jsut boring lar. I liked Sir Thursday's better
  • I had a wee bit of toruble imagining some locations. Being a litle TOO imaginative perhaps, Garth? :P

Lady Friday brings Arthur further and further into The House, and adds een more strange and weird and completely illogical plots into the mix. And you know what? Who cares if it's illogical?

What I like about The Keys to the Kingdom series is that there are no set rules on what Nix can write about. As long as he sets the story in the House (or outside it in some cases), and manages to link them together in one way or the other (it doesn't really matter how he does it), then it makes for an interesting read.

It's like how Enid Blyton could just basically throw in any kind of weird land on top of the Faraway Tree and it would seem plausible just because, hey, it's the Faraway Tree, it's SUPPOSED to have all these lands on top of it. Who cares how those lands got there in the first place? Did you ever wonder about the mechanics of how those lands REVOLVED around the tree and what the probability of a certain Land coming around twice in a book? No right? you just wanted to read about the lands themselves, the hell with how they got there in the first place.

(that said, I would LOVE to see how the Slippery-Slip worked. I want my future home to have one. :D)

What I really do love about fantasy, and most specifically children's fantasy is this element of surprise and imagination with litle regard to making everything seem logical. Who cares how Harry Potter's magic wands work anyway? It's magic! Who cares that lions sholdn't be able to talk because they have no vocal chords? Who cares that the Wishing Chair's tiny red wings would not be able to hold to combined weight of the two kids AND the chair itself? And who really cares that The House just seems to comprise of one made-up scenario and 'land' after another?

There are times when after reading a really serious book, you just want to let loose and read somethign that is mindless, but not mindless like airport novels. You want something that allows you room to imagine and create images of fantastic worlds in your mind, not something that gives you a headache trying to work out clues and where the author spends half the time explaining how the mechanisms of a certain machine or 'magical item' works.

That's why I love The Keys to the Kingdom so much. It lets me just REAd, imagine, and lose myself in The House. And no one writes those kind of books better than Nix right now, IMHO.

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