This review does not contain spoilers.
It’s Friday, and Arthur Penhaligon has defeated four of the seven trustees, but his week isn’t getting any easier. The Piper’s New Nithling Army controls most of the Great Maze, and Superior Saturday is creating danger wherever she can. Worse still, Arthur is cut off from his home and loved ones, and risks being trapped in the House for ever. All he knows is that Leaf has gone missing—along with his mother, his brother, Leaf’s family and hundreds of others, lured from their beds to a sinister institution in another world. And then there’s the little matter of The Beast to deal with …
Lady Friday tempts Arthur with an unexpected offer—but is it a cunning trap for the Rightful Heir to the Kingdom, or a chance he must seize before Superior Saturday or the Piper snatch it first? Who will win the race to discover the secret of the Middle House?
Things are getting more complicated for Arthur. He’s used the magic of the keys so often that he’s starting to become a Denizen. That should be the most interesting thing happening, right? And yet I find myself more drawn to Leaf’s story; her character feels more interesting and dynamic to me.
Arthur spends so much time travelling around and meeting new Denizens, all in an effort to find the next part of the Will and the next Key. Yet everything always seems to flow relatively smoothly, and it’s almost a chore for both Arthur and the reader to do these things.
It occurs to me now that, for all his reluctance to become a Denizen, Arthur is already exhibiting the same reliance on magic that he used to find surprising and lazy. Though Arthur is worried about turning into a Denizen, he seems increasingly prone to using the Key to take care of every problem.
It’s a bit of a letdown after Sir Thursday sparked my unbridled enthusiasm, but the plot of the book isn’t all bad. I’m just not all that interested in the main character. Leaf, on the other hand, is facing new and interesting things. Unaided by magic the vast majority of the time, she has to rely on her own courage and wits to get through every dangerous situation.
Unfortunately, Lady Friday just didn’t excite me the way Sir Thursday did. There have been a couple of books so far in The Keys to the Kingdom that just struggle to match their potential to the others in the series. Thankfully, Leaf’s adventures keep the story interesting while the mandatory steps are carried out. And, if the pattern stays true, Superior Saturday should be amazing.