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 secret of the key—and discover his true fate.
It took me a little time to get into the swing of the tone of this book, it’s been a while since I’ve read anything like this; a middle grade book with a lot of fantastical things happening. Arthur is an average kid, he’s got asthma and he’s adopted and he really loves his weird family. When he is given a mysterious key shaped like the minute hand of a clock, there starts the adventure to find the Hour hand key, and gain the first of the seven keys of the kingdom. This is a great imaginative work with wonderful characters and amazing creatures. I was very engaged with the characters and the workings of the world that Arthur goes to where everyone is pretty much immortal, with very few ways to permanently die. Arthur is a good kid that just wants to help his family and go back to normal life. This book is full of fun adventures and crazy feats that will keep any kid (and adult) entertained and hungry for the next book in the series.