When he is 10 years old, Charlie discovers that he is able to look at photographs and hear conversations and even thoughts that were taking place at the time the photo was taken, a legacy of his ancestor the Red King, whose descendants all have different magical abilities. Charlie hears one conversation that sets him on a search for a girl who has been missing for years, and when he begins attending Bloor's Academy, an elite boarding school for the rich and the endowed (as the Red King's descendants are called), his life becomes full of intrigue and danger. Charlie, his friend Benjamin, and other allies try to unlock the secrets of a mysterious case that could get the girl back, while the sinister Bloors and Charlie's ghastly relatives who are endowed try to thwart them. While the parallels with Harry Potter are obvious, this fantasy has its own charms, chief among them being the endoweds' often-odd magical abilities. The writing is deft, most of the characters are intriguing, and Charlie Bone is an appealing boy.
This book reminded me a lot of the Harry Potter series. Kid probably won't mind this at all, but as an adult, the lack of originality gets a little annoying at times. But perhaps it's part of that "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery" thing on the author's part...
The term "endowed" tends to also make me snicker on occasion. I think the author could've found a better word to describe the magic-like talent that some of the characters have.
Overall, it's a readable book if you don't notice that it has a lot of similarities to authors such as J.K. Rowling, Pierce Anthony and I'm sure many others I haven't read yet or notice right off the bat.