Sunday, April 15, 2007

Book Review: Lady Friday

Lady Friday
The Keys to the Kingdom, Book 5

by Garth Nix

No sooner has Arthur recovered from the battle with Sir Thursday, than he receives a message from Lady Friday. Apparently, she is abdicating her position as mistress of the Middle House, and has left the fifth key in her Scriptorium, as well as part five of the Will. Whoever finds the key shall be master of the Middle House, and she has sent the same message to Superior Saturday and the Piper. Arthur finds himself in the Middle House with no friends and nothing but the fourth key to help him—and if he uses the fourth key, he risks losing his humanity forever. He must find his way to the Scriptorium and recover the fifth key and the Will before Saturday and the Piper. Meanwhile, Arthur's friend Leaf is a prisoner in Lady Friday's sanctuary, where she risks her life to find a way to escape and save the other mortals imprisoned by Lady Friday.

The Keys to the Kingdom is one of the most imaginative and exciting series that I've read in a long time, and this newest installment didn't disappoint. You'll want to set aside a few hours to read it, since it's the kind of book you won't want to put down. I love the way that Arthur has grown throughout the series from the helpless, whiny boy he was in the first book. In Lady Friday, he has really come into his own: he exudes a quiet confidence and intelligence, as he finds ways to deal with every situation that arises. He still longs for home and family and a normal human life, but he takes his responsibilities seriously, and consistently puts the well-being of his friends and the people who come under his care before his own. And most of the people and denizens he meet seem to sense that leadership quality in him, and respond to it.

There's so much going on in these books that I feel like I need to go back and reread them all to catch everything. For example, there's a recurring clock motif that appears in various forms throughout the books, and I'd like to go back and try to find them all. There's a lot of symbolism and references in the books. It's obvious that each of the trustees represents one of the seven deadly sins, but I didn't realize until I read the article in Wikipedia that the parts of the Will may also represent virtues.

If you haven't read these books, you're missing out on a great series. I highly recommend that you start at the first book, Mister Monday, since the books really build on each other.

Lady Friday is the May selection for the Scholar's Blog book discussion group, so if you hurry and read it, you can join in the discussion!

Also read David's review.


Michele said...

Thanks for the plug for the Book Group discussion next month !

I love this series - so glad that I was told that they had nothing to do with King Arthur as I initially mistakenly thought !

I'm with you on re-reading. Ever since I read Drowned Wednesday without re-reading the previous two and got slightly lost, I make sure I re-read the preceding books before reading the newest one.

Unknown said...

You're welcome. I'm looking forward to it. I'm sorry that this month's book didn't seem to generate a lot of discussion. I wonder if it's because it's a sequel, or just that everyone's busy. It'll be interesting to see what happens next month, since Lady Friday is book 5. Of course, I'll bet you get a lot of discussion in July/August!

I do so love this series, too. I wish they weren't such a quick read! I mean, I wait a year for each book, and then it's gone in a couple of hours. At least it should make it easier to go back and reread them.

It does seem like Arthur's name should be a reference to King Arthur because it sounds so similar. But there's nothing else that I've seen that would indicate any connection with King Arthur. But, I don't want to start a discussion now and have nothing left to talk about in May!

Michele said...

Re. A Hat Full of Sky, I think it's more a case of not many Americans having read Terry Pratchett - or at least, not many of the American readers of my Blog !

I look forward to the discussion of Lady Friday with curiosity - and to re-reading the book beforehand...