Arthur Penhaligon dreaded his first day at his new school. His family had just moved to the area and he was starting two weeks later than everyone else because he was in the hospital with a severe asthma attack. His PE teacher thought he was just slacking off when Arthur told him that he couldn't run so Arthur thought it was best to just go with the flow and joined the other kids. Arthur knew it was a mistake when he felt his lungs start to shut down in the middle of the park - far away from help. Not even his inhaler seemed to be giving him oxygen.
When he saw a cadaverously thin man with terrible teeth pushing the most beautiful man Arthur had ever seen in an old fashioned wicker wheelchair, Arthur was sure that he was having a weird, oxygen-deprived dream. Then the beautiful man gave Arthur a key and he could breathe again. After Arthur recovered from his asthma attack, he discovered that the key was actually the key to a clock and that it came with a book, the Compleat Atlas of the House and Immediate Environs, which shows pictures of how to use the key to get into a big house on the block that only Arthur can see.
Arthur doesn't know what to do, but he knows that he cannot stay at school when an army of dog-faced Fetchers show up to get the key from him. Even more frightening than the Fetchers is Mr. Noon, who is just as beautiful as the man who gave him the key, and just as deadly. When a deadly virus strikes Arthur's new town, he knows that he has no choice but to go into the House. When he passes through the gateway, Arthur is immediately plunged into a strange world where people collect paper and writing and the children the Pied Piper lured off are trapped. Suzy, one of the trapped children, decides to help Arthur and, together with the Will, a mysterious creature that Arthur is not sure is helping him or not, Arthur and Suzy set out to win the other key from Mr. Monday and take over the world so that Arthur can return home. But it seems that everyone Arthur meets has another plan and he doesn't know who to trust and why was he chosen to have the key anyway?
Mister Monday was a good book and I enjoyed it, but it was pretty confusing and very different than other books that I have read. I was kind of expecting this because Garth Nix writes a lot of fantasy, but it isn't what you would call easy to understand. I liked Arthur, but he was a little standoffish and the other characters were pretty weird too. The worlds that Arthur explored were the most confusing, but this may be on purpose because the reader only learned and understood things when Arthur learned and understood them. I think it may be too confusing for younger readers, but older readers and those who have enjoyed the Harry Potter series will enjoy having another set of books to read in between waiting for Rowling's next offering. This appears to be the first in what will be a new series for Nix and I am eagerly awaiting the next - Mr. Tuesday, I presume?
This report prepared by Debbie