This is a series I've been invested with since the beginning. The Keys to the Kingdom is perhaps the most ambitious project Garth Nix has attempted to date, and it's probably his most original and enjoyable, too. Mister Monday, published in 2003, gave readers a taste of what to expect, and a good intro. Grim Tuesday is probably my least favorite in the series, although it's still enjoyable. Drowned Wednesday, the longest, was solid and mixed up what looked like the formula for the books. FYI, there is no strict formula, really. There are some things that need to be done in all of them, but not done in any sort of formula.
Sir Thursday introduced a couple of the biggest conflicts in the series, and did so with a lot of good action and character development. Lady Friday was weirder than the others, but there were some really good ideas there, too. Superios Saturday, the shortest of the bunch, was great in setting up a lot of stuff, and its cliffhanger ending left me waiting with bated breath (for a year and a half) for Lord Sunday. Now it's here, the ending to a series I've been reading since 2003. So how was it? That's for me to know and you to find out.
On the seventh day, there was a choice...
Arthur Penhaligon has fought six of the seven Trustees in the House for their Keys, and he's in a tight spot. Saturday has successfully entered the Incomparable Gardens, domain of Lord Sunday, as she has been trying to do for millennia. The Piper's army is also making its way there, and the Nithling hordes are devouring everything in their path. Nothing is destroying the House.
Meanwhile, Leaf is taken from her home by the Reaper, a servant of Lord Sunday's, but is forced to serve another purpose entirely. Arthur, who has sacrificed his humanity to save the House and the Secondary Realms, has one final struggle ahead of him. One more Trustee. One more part of the Will to free. One more Key to obtain. But Lord Sunday's Key is paramount, the most powerful one of all, and it will take still another sacrifice before the Will of the Architect can be done.
And here's a biggie: What does the Architect even want, anyway?
I come to the last page of Lord Sunday with thoughts of how much I've changed since starting this series. Relatives have died and moved. I've written a couple of unpublished books. I've learned how to play a musical instrument and how to speak a different language (albeit with what is probably terrible grammar). I'm a different person than I was when I started The Keys to the Kingdom. So, with that said, I would not have liked the ending if I was the same person as I was when I started this series. I would have been furious.
But I've changed, and so has Arthur Penhaligon. And these changes have made the path that Arthur is on go an entirely different place than he imagined. Except, deep down, he had an idea that it would come to this. And looking at the ending with these different eyes, and seeing the risky move that Garth Nix took (no, it's probably not what you're thinking, calm down) I actually really like it. Arthur is a hero in that he will take the hard path if it's the right one, no matter what kind of trial he will face. He's a good person, and the ending of this series reflects it. So I can see that this was the right course of action for Garth Nix to take.
Don't worry, Lord Sunday still has all the action, humor, and eccentricities that make this series so enjoyable, and it has them in spades. So don't go into this expecting something horribly somber. The ending will be divisive in the greatest sense, but when you think about it, it's really the right way to end it. Bravo, Garth Nix, and job well done.
My rating: 10/10
Coming Soon: A Gift of Ice and Empire in Black and Gold. Maybe in that order.