02 May 2010

Garth Nix - "The Keys to the Kingdom: Lord Sunday"

The last of seven, culmination of a thoroughly enjoyable YA of a boy declared heir to what I only belatedly realised would count as Heaven.

Nix's House is not a happy Heaven. The Archangels refused the commands of their absent God, its society is rigidly stratified and its denizens grind away at interminable jobs, pointlessly and without pleasure. The heir, of course, changes all that, and the story is well worth reading.

I was reminded strongly of two other novels as "Lord Sunday" ground to a close. Diana Wynne Jones' "Howeward Bounders" and Meredith Ann Pierce's "Darkangel" trilogy. Both those stories touch on a quester seeking only home or happiness, and finding themselves succeeding only to, in a manner, lose. [Particularly "Darkangel", which is a most unhappy ending in my opinion.]

Why do we so often write stories where to win is to lose? And why are immortals never happy? Is ennui inevitable?

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