I first came across Garth Nix when a friend recommended the amazing Abhorsen (also known as Old Kingdom) trilogy. I was gripped by the terrifyingly real creation of an alternative world where the dead can walk into life and the living can visit Death, and enchanted with the wonderful Lireal, fearless Sabriel, Sam the reluctant prince, Mogget the cat who houses something terrifying within which stays dormant only when his collar is on, and the awful creatures that come up from the various Gates of Death.
After that I was desperate for more and so I bought Across the Wall, a collection of short stories set in the Old Kingdom, and The Ragwitch. But I was so disappointed with The Ragwitch that I decided, rashly, that maybe Nix wasn’t for me after all. His trilogy had been one of the best reads of my life but for some reason one slighly mediocre book had put me off forever.
Why was The Ragwitch so disappointing? It was Nix’s first published novel, and was republished in 2005, presumably so the publishers could cash in on Nix’s huge success. It’s a perfectly good book, with a creepy subject and interesting characters, but having read more recent Nix it is just not up to the same stunning standards I now expect.
Oh Garth, will you ever forgive me? For I have now read Mister Monday and yet again I am hooked.
This is what Garth Nix does: He creates a world which seems totally authentic and yet surprises you at every turn. He invents wonderful, memorable characters. He puts those characters through hell. And he scares the pants off you.
As you probably know, Mister Monday is the first of a series of seven – the Keys to the Kingdom series, so I have six more amazing experiences waiting for me – a thrilling prospect. I don’t deserve it really. Forgive me Garth, I will never doubt you again!