I had intended to review something from the teenage end of the age spectrum this time, but as I was walking by the Ns in 9-12 Fiction a glint of sparkly blue cover caught my eye and I realized that I never finished reading the Charlie Bone series. I read books 1 and 2 back before Christmas (I seem to have a penchant for European authors these days) but 3 wasn’t in stock, and now it was, so I said “never mind” to my previous plans and took The Blue Boa back to the lunchroom with me.
Author: Jenny Nimmo
Summary: Charlie Bone has found himself Endowed. Suddenly granted the ability to communicate with the people in photographs and paintings, his eccentric aunts ship him off to Bloor’s Academy, a school for gifted children, to further develop his talents. Unfortunately for Charlie, there is plenty of activity going on behind the scenes in the school that his kind nature won’t permit. As he gathers more enemies among his classmates and teachers, he bands together with new friends and unexpected allies to force out the truth behind Bloor’s mysteries, and the fabled Children of the Red King.
There are five books so far (at least one more expected in August 2007), starting with Midnight for Charlie Bone, and the series is referred to as “The Children of the Red King.”
Two Cents: Someone pointed me to this series after I greatly enjoyed Golden & Grey, and later a customer compared it to Harry Potter, which seems to be a common trend for this series. Well, the magic elements are there, along with a boarding school full of untrustworthy classmates and evil teachers, plus a protagonist that finds himself abruptly thrown into a strange new world where he’s not just a normal kid anymore. The similarities do stop there, and though I was unsure if I wanted to continue on to Book 2, I did, and it did much to raise my opinion.
This series has a large cast of interesting characters. You don’t get to know all of them well, but the potential is there, and the ones that are developed are developed well. The series is dynamic and keeps you turning the pages, to be sure.
Recommended For: Younger end of the spectrum; these look thick but the print is large and there is some decoration in the margins. Ages 8-10 or so, fans of Harry Potter and Lemony Snicket, definitely falling into the adventure-fantasy category.
Personal Rating: 7/10