by Garth Nix
The beginning of Arthur Penhaligons third adventure in the House begins while he is still recovering in the hospital from the depradations of Grim Tuesday. Yet, in contrast to Mister Monday and Grim Tuesday, who both did everything in their power to keep Arthur from coming after their respective Keys to the Kingdom (while at the same time forcing him to deal with them), Arthurs third quest begins with an actual invitation from Lady Wednesday herself.
After being swept away with his hospital bed on the waves of a strange sea, Arthur finds out that Lady Wednesday is not truly in control of her part of the House, the Border Sea. In fact, she is not really in control of herself. Possessed by the deadly sin of Gluttony, she has become what one character describes as follows:
A monstrous white whale. A stupendous whale! One-hundred twenty-six miles from tail to head, and thirty-two miles in width, with a mouth when open that is two miles high and ten miles wide.
Gulp. This ravening creature, who can only assume human form for a short time and at great effort through the power of her Key, and who cannot stop eating for an instant even then, wants Arthur to take over and set her free from the curse that torments her. Lady Wednesday does not want to stand in Arthurs way, but in order to release the third portion of the Architects Will, he must enter the belly of the whale and confront an enemy who is half pirate, half sorcerer, and nasty through-and-through. The eyes of thousands of enslaved Denizens look to him for deliverance as well as his two best friends, one from the House and one from Earth, who are caught up in the adventure with him.
Meanwhile, Arthur also encounters the oversized, upright-walking and talking Raised Rats; he bravely ventures into realms that would make the breath catch in ones lungs even if one werent asthmatic like Arthur; and he finds himself more and more taking control of the situation, and growing accustomed to command. But will his growing power take away the one thing that, above all, he does not want to lose his humanity?
For more answers on that, see the further books in The Keys to the Kingdom series, including Sir Thursday (available in hardcover as I write this) and, I presume, three more books yet to be released. Like Harry Potter, this is a series of seven adventures that runs a vast gamut of enemies, friends, settings, and matters of concern only in the world Arthur calls home, they take place in seven days rather than seven years. Nonetheless, I think Harrys fans will enjoy following Arthur on his adventures and may even want to read them all again!
Recommended Age: 12+
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