Arthur Penhaligon is not supposed to be a hero. He is, in fact, supposed to die an early death. But then his life is saved by a key shaped like the minute hand of a clock.
Arthur is safe--but his world is not. Along with the key comes a plague brought by bizarre creatures from another realm. A stranger named Mister Monday, his avenging messengers with bloodstained wings, and an army of dog-faced Fetchers will stop at nothing to get the key back--even if it means destroying Arthur and everything around him.
Desperate, Arthur ventures into a mysterious house--a house that only he can see. It is in this house that Arthur must unravel the secrets of the key--and discover his true fate.
First Look: ***** This looked so cool. I loved the concept, and the cover was cool and slightly creepy at the same time. Just goes to show you that you can't judge a book by its cover. Argh.
Setting: ***** It didn't make any sense. I was so confused. Yes, it was all explained in logical terms, but still. It just felt so out-there. I couldn't believe a word of it. Not for one minute. I had trouble imagining it, because it just felt so incredibly random. It felt just thrown-together. The characters would run into a setting-related obstacle, and then--BOOM! Hey, guess what? There's actually an insert-something-way-too-convenient that we can use to get out of this dangerous situation! Yay! Not okay, people.
Characters: ***** I couldn't like Arthur, either. The book begins with him whining about how he has to move to a new school, and so on. And then he nearly dies from a slow jog. I started out hating him, and didn't stop. To me, he came off as whiny and incompetent. He was slow to figure things out. He was selfish and ordered people around, when he wasn't cowering in sheer terror. He didn't seem realistic at all. I got no sense of personality from him whatsoever.
The other characters weren't any better. I'm sorry, but I couldn't take the Will seriously as a...frog. Suzy just seemed super-hyper and jumpy one minute, and ancient the next. Mister Monday wasn't scary at all. Or sloth-ish, for that matter. I didn't like any character except for Leaf, but she was only in the book for a chapter or so.
Plot: ***** This frustrates me so much. This plot had so much potential, but in the end it just didn't work. Like the setting, it didn't make much sense and felt almost random. It didn't flow like it should. It was fast, yes, but I got bored anyway. Because I didn't care one bit. I didn't care that the characters were facing certain death. I didn't care that a plague was killing everyone, because I was never given a reason to care. It's not good when certain death and fast-paced action is simply boring.
Uniqueness: ***** I have to give it points in this area. Personification of the days of the week? Brilliant!* Throw in the Seven Deadly Sins while we're at it? Twice as brilliant! Unfortunately, it didn't follow through.
Writing: ***** So. Much. Telling. Wow. I'm serious. There was soooo much telling in this book, and hardly any showing. I could hardly picture what was going on throughout the entire thing. The dialogue felt awkward and realistic. It moved way too fast. There's a whole list of things, both major and small, that I could list here, but let's just sum it up: I did not like the writing at all. It just felt disconnected and TOLD me what was going on instead of letting me experience the story for myself.
Not-so-great: This book took me over a week and a half to read. Folks, a week and a half. My average time to read a book hovers around 3-4 days. Not good.
And...there were some rather atheist remarks in this book. Atheist remarks along the lines of "Life after death? Pshaw! We just turn back into nothingness and never go to Heaven 'cause there's no heavenly being to go to!" This does not do anything to help me like this book.
Total Score: I feel like I'm not being fair to this book. And maybe I'm not. I don't know. Maybe I just didn't like it because school started last week, and cut all my reading time down so it took me forever to finish. Maybe I was in a bad mood whenever I read this. But, still, it didn't work. The writing just told me everything that happened. The characters weren't the least bit likable or realistic. The plot had so much promise, but it just fell flat in the end. Just goes to show that you can't judge a book by its cover. Not recommended at all.
*I can't exclaim "Brilliant!" without using a British accent. Keep that in mind as you read this to yourself.