Basically, from what I understand, an asthmatic kid named Arthur is pushed into this wonderland place where just about anything goes and he is forced to battle evil because this strange Key chooses him. He's a regular kid, and he's not wishing for any big adventure, but it still happens to him. For no reason at all. And in my opinion, the whole premise doesn't seem to have any point to it, no morals or anything. It just doesn't make any sense.
I really didn't like Arthur, for some reason. I couldn't relate to him at all. Obviously because he's a boy, and he's younger than me, and I don't have any illness like his asthma, but still. The author could have found a way to have the main character relate to all of his readers. I just couldn't see myself being friends with this kid, unlike most other main characters in books/ series I absolutely love. He didn't even have much of a back-story. I mean, his parents are dead so he's raised by foster parents who don't have much of a play in the story, but he seemed to be pretty much over it, so I couldn't even use his orphan-ness to feel sorry for him. He simply didn't give me much of a reason to care what happened to him, so I couldn't care less about what happens in the rest of this series. I didn't care much for the other characters either.
The world that Arthur finds himself pushed into really didn't seem to go by any solid rules. There are creatures that are made of Nothing, some people fly with (removable?) wings, you can go through time by way of an Improbable Stair (improbable indeed!) and so many other confusing things. It's a bit hard to tell who are Arthur's friends and enemies. Well, I know Mister Monday is the guy that Arthur has to beat, and Arthur meets this girl who follows him around and helps him, but with most of the other characters I found it hard to place their true colors. And there didn't seem to be any set rules on what kind of magic was allowed in this story universe. This metal minute hand Arthur carries around, the Key, does anything he asks it to do in plain English. And as long as he keeps a hold on it, his asthma is cured. Just because.
Really, it isn't that often that I am forced to write a bad bad review, but sometimes it just has to be done. I can't think of anything positive to say about this book. It has no redeeming qualities whatsoever. Even the writing style was clunky, and Arthur's thought process... give me a break. Don't worry though. The book that I read right after this one was able to cheer me up quite a bit.