Superior Saturday, by Garth Nix

Arthur is beset on all sides. Nothing is eroding the house, and only the power of the keys can hold back the tide of destruction. His home city is under attack. His allies are unreliable. How will Arthur get inside the apparently impregnable Upper House? And even if he does, will the Sixth Part of the Will and the Sixth Key be enough to counter Saturday’s sorcerous hordes and stop her bid to ultimate power?

With five of the trustees defeated, and the will more than halfway complete, Arthur Penhaligon is getting more powerful and confident, however he is also getting more and more like a Denizen of the House. With the seemingly impossible challenge of relieving Superior Saturday of her key ahead of him, he must defeat her, save the world, and keep his humanity.

Superior Saturday is the sixth in the bestselling Keys to the Kingdom series, by Australia’s fantasy master, Garth Nix. As with the earlier titles in the series, there is plenty of action, loads of twists and turns and a great range of characters both quirky and gruesome. Some of these characters from the earlier tiles, including Dame Primus and Leaf are changing in ways both physical and mental, building their confidence and changing themselves, for better or for worse.

An enthralling read.

Superior Saturday, by Garth Nix
Allen & Unwin, 2008

This book can be purchased online at Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.

Lady Friday, by Garth Nix

Arthur Panhaligon has defeated four of the seven trustees but his week is getting worse and worse…

Sir Thursday is defeated and the Fourth Key is in Arthur Penhaligon’s possession but the New Nithling army is still at large and the Piper will stop at nothing to get his hands on the Fifth Key. And to make things worse Arthur is cut off from the Secondary Realms, and his true home. It also seems that Leaf is missing, lured from her bed to an evil situation in another area of the Secondary Realms.

Just as it seems he has another fight on his hands Arthur receives a tempting offer from Lady Friday, the trustee of the Fifth Key, but is it a cunning trap for The Rightful Heir or a chance he must not miss so as to seize the Key before the Piper or Superior Saturday? Arthur must move swiftly to discover the secrets of the Middle House and to save the future of his friends and family.

This eagerly awaited fifth book in the Award Winning Keys to the Kingdom series is finally here, packed full of excitement and action from the first page to the last. Garth Nix is the only author who could bring this book to life in such a way that the characters and places seem vividly real.

Once more Garth Nix has produced a gripping read.

Lady Friday, by Garth Nix
Allen & Unwin, 2007

This book is available online at Fishpond.

Sir Thursday, by Garth Nix

Dame Primus would want him to stay, or at least hand over the Third Key. But Arthur didn’t want to part with the only weapon he had. He had finally accepted that he must go up against the Morrow days, that avoidance was not an option. The whole gang of Sir Thursday, Lady Friday, Superior Saturday and Lord Sunday would not leave him alone…The only way to stop the Morrow days was to defeat them.

With Drowned Wednesday defeated, and the Third Key in his possession, Arthur wants nothing more than to get home. But Dame Primus, the embodiment of the first three parts of the Will, has other ideas. She insists Arthur accompany her to Monday’s Dayroom for a council of war. It seems that a Spirit-Eater has assumed Arthur’s identity back on Earth, and if Arthur were to return, he would destroy not just himself but the whole world. That is just the start of his problems. He is being drafted into Sir Thursday’s army, where he must serve for one hundred years. To escape he must defeat Sir Thursday and free the fourth part of the will, as well as defeat a cast army of Nithlings who are attacking the house.

Sir Thursday is the fourth in the bestselling Keys to the Kingdom series, by Australia’s fantasy king, Garth Nix. As with the earlier titles in the series, there is plenty of action, loads of twists and turns and a great range of characters both quirky and gruesome. Some of these are favourites from the earlier tiles, including Suzy and Leaf, whilst others are new, including, of course, Sir Thursday, and the Piper, who claims he, not Arthur, is the rightful heir.

Another gripping read.

Sir Thursday, by Garth Nix
Allen & Unwin, 2006

The Ragwitch, by Garth Nix

Julia turned around – and Paul skidded to a stop in shock. He felt like he’d been winded, struck so hard that he couldn’t breathe at all. For the person in front of him wasn’t Julia at all, but a hideous mixture of girl and doll: half flesh, half cloth, and the eyes and face had nothing of Julia left at all, only the evil features of the doll.

When Paul and Julia find a rag doll hidden in a nest at the beach, Paul wants nothing to do with it. Something about the doll frightens him. But Julia insists it is beautiful, and takes it home. Soon the doll has taken over Julia’s body and become the Ragwitch, an evil being from another world. With Julia’s body she can return to her own world and continue her evil campaign. Paul can only help Julia by following her.

Soon, Julia and Paul are each on their own chilling adventure – Paul, across the magical world, seeking a way to rescue his sister, and Julia inside the Ragwitch’s mind, where she has been trapped. Whilst Paul must overcome his fears and find the strength to battle the evil forces, Julia must block out the horror of living through the witch’s sinister campaign.

The Ragwitch is a powerful fantasy by one of Australia’s foremost masters of the genre. It was Nix’s fist novel-length work, first published in 1990, and fans will find it perhaps less polished and less original than his later works, but is still an excellent read. The focus on two individual fights between good and evil, and on family loyalty and wider responsibility for the common good driving that fight, are ones which fit well into fantasy for this age group.

Suitable for readers aged twelve and over.

The Ragwitch, by Garth Nix
First Published 1990, this edition Allen & Unwin, 2006

Shade's Children, by Garth Nix

Shade’s secret home was a submarine. Soon after the Change it had come away from its mooring and drifted between two old, long, wooden finger wharves…Shade’s children came and went via a torpedo tube in the bow, safely out of sight under the wharf. They could then wade between the piles up to a storm-water tunnel that led into the city’s network of drains.

Fifteen years after a dramatic ‘Change’ the world is populated only by evil creatures and children under the age of fourteen. All the adults have disappeared, vanishing without trace on the morning of the Change, and the children have been herded into dormitories where they are raised until the age of fourteen, when they are taken for body parts. Overlords rule various horrible beasts, crafted from these body parts, which fight in the battles over which the overlords preside. Human beings have no place in the world outside the dormitories.

But living hidden in the city are the few children who have managed to avoid or escape capture. They are Shade’s children, and it is Shade, a computer memory of a man, who looks after them until such time as the change can be reversed. But could Shade be an enemy too?

Shade’s Children is a dark fantasy, set in an unimaginably desperate future where creatures from a parallel world have taken over and where teenagers are the only ones able to resist their dark forces. The central characters are four such teens, two boys and two girls, each with their own special gift, and each coping with the daily horrors of their lives in different ways, yet all also very strong in their desire for a better world.

This is a book which is disturbingly compelling. The young characters are faced with death and violence on a daily basis and must learn to accept it without being so immune that they become inhuman. Young readers must also look past the violence to the positive portrayal of strength and selflessness which sees the young characters working not just for their own survival, but for the restoration of the human race.

An absorbing read.

Shade’s Children, by Garth Nix
First Published in 1997, this edition Allen & Unwin, 2006

The Seventh Tower Volumes 1-3, by Garth Nix

A long time ago, darkness fell upon the Castle. A veil was created over the world, upholding the rule of magic. One war ended…and another silently began.

Taj has spent his whole life living in darkness and knows nothing else of the world. But when his father disappears, Taj finds himself without a sunstone strong enough to protect him and his family – his ailing mother and his younger brother and sister. To find one he must venture outside the Castle and scale one if its magnificent towers.

But outside Taj finds himself in increasing trouble. He is rescued by his shadowguard but finds himself swept away from the castle and from all that is familiar. Finding himself among strangers, Taj is soon on a quest with an Icecarl warrior named Milla. Together they will seek out new sunstones and discover the secrets hidden by the veil.

This bindup brings together the first three books in The Seventh Tower series – The Fall, Castle and Aenir – in a hardcover volume. Garth Nix is one the leading fantasy creators, both in Australia and internationally, and the world created here will absorb young readers aged ten and over.

The Seventh Tower, Volumes 1-3, by Garth Nix
Scholastic, 2005

Across the Wall, by Garth Nix

I am going back to the Old Kingdom, whatever father may have told you. So there is no point in trying to set me up with a suitable Sayre job or a suitable Sayre marriage. I am coming with you to what will undoubtedly be a horrendous house party only because it will get me a few hundred miles closer to the wall.

Fans who mourned the completion of the Old Kingdom trilogy will be happy to get another slice of that magical world in the novella which opens this collection. Nicholas Sayre and the Creature in the Cold Case sees Nicholas, back in Ancellstierre, pitted against one of the rarest and most magical of the Free Magic creatures.

But this novella is not the only treat in store in Across the Wall, which features 13 of Garth Nix’ stories, each introduced by the author, giving some insight into his writing process for each, as well as its publication history. The stories range from classic fantasy, to downright silliness, with romance, Arthurian legend and fairy tales thrown into the mix.

Fans of Nix will enjoy this for what it is – a chance to sample the delights of Nix’ writing beyond his rightfully popular series.

Across the Wall, by Garth Nix
Allen & Unwin, 2005

Drowned Wednesday, by Garth Nix

He’d been expecting something to happen all day. He couldn’t believe it was already half past four on Wednesday afternoon and there was still no sign of weird creatures or strange events. Lady Wednesday only had dominion over her namesake day in the Secondary Realms, so whatever she planned to do to him had to happen before midnight. Seven and a half hours away…

It’s been an interesting start to the week for Arthur Penhaglion. Both Monday and Tuesday have seen him travel beyond his own world into the mysterious reaches of the House, where it seems he is destined to fulfill his role as Rightful Heir to the Keys to the Kingdom. His reluctance to take on the role is of no consequence.

Now, on Wednesday, he is in hospital with a broken leg and serious asthma. He knows, however, that that won’t stop him from being summoned back to the House. Sure enough, the summons comes and Arthur find himself being carried from the hospital on a ship which sails right into his room. Soon he is meeting the terrifying Drowned Wednesday and searching for the third key.

Along the way he meets pirates, talking rats and a giant whale with a massive eating problem. He must also track down his friend Leaf who has unwittingly been brought into the House along with Arthur.

Drowned Wednesday is the third book in the Keys to the Kingdom series by award winning fantasy author Garth Nix. Like the other offerings in the series to date, this one is fast paced and full of action and colourful characters. For those who have read the first two titles, this one is perhaps a little predictable, although there are differences in setting and characters. The predictability of the plot is likely to be less strinking for younger readers than for those in their teens.

Fantasy fans as young as ten will be drawn to the series.

Drowned Wednesday, by Garth Nix
Allen & Unwin, 2005

Grim Tuesday, by Garth Nix

Yesterday Arthur Penhaligon saved the world. Today he should be resting. But the sound of a telephone warns him that that’s not going to happen.

Having vanquished Mister Monday, the first Trustee of the will of the Architect of the Universe, Arthur is now being challenged by the second Trustee, Grim Tuesday. Grim Tuesday, as well as holding the Second Key, controls the depths of the pit from where Nothing comes. He is demanding Arthur repay a vast debt owed by the previous Mister Monday. Failure to pay will mean financial ruin for Arthur’s family – and the whole world.

Despite his misgivings, Arthur ventures back into the house to take on Grim Tuesday and win the Second Key.

Grim Tuesday picks up where Mister Monday left off, drawing the reader straight back into Arthur’s adventures. Arthur, an unlikely hero, will be someone many teens will relate to: he doesn’t want to be a hero and, on the surface, doesn’t seem to have many of the necessary attributes for a hero. But with a combination of inner strength and help from his varied friends, he triumphs.

Readers will be anxiously watching for the next in the series.

Grim Tuesday, by Garth Nix
Allen & Unwin, 2004

Mister Monday, by Garth Nix

Arthur is not a hero – he’s just a boy with chronic asthma, a boy who is about to die. Until he is visted by two strangers from another realm who give him a strange key shaped like the minute hand of a clock.Although his life is saved, it is also changed for ever.

Arthur has been chosen as the heir to the keys of the kingdom. It’s not a role he particularly wants, but with a strange plague affecting his city and everything he knows at risk, Arthur must venture into the other realm and fight for his rights.

He must venture into a mysterious house that no one else can see and unravel the secrets of the key.

Mister Monday is the first in a new series, The Keys to the Kingdom by renowned fantasy author Garth Nix.Different from his previous series, the Old Kingdom trilogy, Mister Monday will nonetheless appeal to his fans as well as to those who have not read his previous works.

Mister Monday, by Garth Nix
Allen & Unwin, 2003