This review does not contain spoilers.
Arthur Penhaligon is supposed to be in bed—after all, it’s only twelve hours since he saved the world. But there’s no time to rest. Grim Tuesday has laid claim to the Lower House and the First Key, and now his misshapen servants are repossessing Arthur’s world and plunging it into financial disaster. To stop them, Arthur must venture back into the House—that surreal, unpredictable realm where he almost met his death.
With companions old and new, Arthur embarks on a heart-stopping adventure that will take him from the dismal Pit of the Far Reaches, all the way to the heart of a sun and back. Racing furiously against time, Arthur must find the second piece of the Will, claim the Second Key, and save both his own world and the House from the destructive greed of Grim Tuesday.
I have to say that I didn’t enjoy Grim Tuesday as much as Mister Monday. Though there are numerous different elements in the two novels, the plot is very similar and therefore fairly predictable. Arthur seems to spend a lot of time in transit and meeting various minor characters who ultimately exist just to prove that not everyone is annoying. It might be a realistic take on the hero’s journey but it also means that readers spend a lot of time waiting for the action to start.
Once again, Arthur is only allowing himself to be caught up in matters because Denizens keep interfering with his home life and his reluctance and annoyance with the House in general has grown stronger. I know he’s only 12 years old and he’s had huge responsibilities thrust on him but a hero who is basically uninterested in his own story doesn’t necessarily make for a thrilling read.
That might change, though, with the introduction of the Skinless Boy. However this new character is going to fit into future books, he seems set to bring a new dimension of trouble and terror to Arthur’s life outside the House.
All that being said, Garth Nix’s world-building is a force to be reckoned with. The scope of his creation and the nuanced characters are interesting enough to combat any other issues. Honestly, I would have little difficulty in accepting the House as an age-old mythological place everything has been so cleverly anchored in just enough facts that it feels real to me.
Grim Tuesday is an interesting read, but not the strongest follow-up to its predecessor. Garth Nix’s world-building is enchanting, and will hopefully continue to propel the story along. I’m looking forward to seeing The Keys to the Kingdom evolve past the standard plot points in future books and recapture the magic and thrill of Mister Monday.