June 15, 2009

New Target Audience for Garth Nix

Perhaps my previous experiences with Nix's writing were from a more youthful point of view, but I could swear his new series, Keys to the Kingdom, is aimed at an audience that is more appreciative of the fantasy genre. Judging from the first book, Mister Monday, I would recommend it for the young and very young of heart.

Although a fast-paced page-turner, this book would have been better off without some of its fun little quirks. For example, the attempt to lure in a more profitable consumer is ruined as Nix tries to simulate teenage chat speak in an e-mail between two characters. He slaughters the use of acronyms and makes young adults cringe at his shorthand. The action-packed conclusion was somewhat ruined by over-explaining the events to an underestimated reader. The result involved several yawns during the climactic duel between the protagonist and Mister Monday himself.

Still, I have to say that the plot was enjoyable overall. Nix still has a lot of creativity to infuse his stories with. He is a fearless fantasy writer who can always put a new edge on old cliches. Seven books with nemeses named for the seven days of the week and committing the seven deadly sins? Just go with it.

In the end it seems I am divided on the issue, so I have included a poll with this entry to see what other readers think. Is Garth Nix just cashing out on the tweens who will eat anything up, or is there still some literary value in his work?


  1. Whatever he does I'd love to read it no matter what I'm not in the spot to criticize his works because I cannot hope to improve or duplicate anything he's done.

  2. Fair enough, I'm just surprised that his target audience (in my perhaps skewed perspective) seems to have changed. I would still be interested in reading everything by Nix someday. Thanks for the comment!

    I also should mention that I hate the "You couldn't do it better" argument for artistry. These people are professionals, doing it for a living. They should be better than the average person.