Midnight for Charlie Bone (Children of the Red King, Bk 1)
Midnight for Charlie Bone - Children of the Red King, Bk 1 Author:Jenny Nimmo Charlie down't want to believe it. He can hear people in photographs talking. What's happening to him? Why now? Since his father died, Charlie Bone has lived with his mother and her mother, in the house of his other grandmother, Grandma Bone. Whilst looking at a picture of a couple with a baby and a cat, he suddenly discovers an extraordinary ma... more »gical talent -- he can hear their voices. Although he tries to hide his new gift, Grandma Bone's scary sisters soon find out, and determine to send him to Bloor's Academy. Mr Onimous appears, and tell Charlie he must find the baby from the photograph, lost inside Bloor's. The mystery deepens when Charlie tries to return the picture to its rightful owner, a bookseller who gives him a heavy box, saying only that it was once swapped for a child. Charlie quickly finds life at Bloor's pretty tough, with its strict rules and the malevolent head boy, Manfred, set against him. He meets someone else with a gift, Gabriel Silk, who can pick up people's feeling from their clothes. Charlie asks about his father's tie, and Gabriel surprises him by saying his father is lost, not dead. Mr Onimous' cats have been involved in a mysterious fire at the school, and more frightening than that, Manfred's sinister gift is to be able to hypnotise people. Exploring at the weekend with new friends Olivia and Billy, Charlie overhears a conversation between Dr Bloor and Manfred. They discover the cats are eight hundred years old, and that Bloor and Manfred are keeping a girl under hypnosis. Charlie realises the girl from the photograph must be Emilia Moon and manages to awaken her using the box. The hypnotism cannot be proved to the authorities and the children will have to return next term, once more under the power of Dr Bloor.« less
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.
This is what may have happened if Lemony Snicket wrote Harry Potter. Evil people are absurdly, stereotypically evil, good adults are usually clueless, and usually behave in ways that are by no stretch of the imagination believable. That said, it wasnt bad. I wish the talent of listening to photos had been brought out more, rather than used to set up why Charlie went to Bloors, then pretty much abandoned. Still, I finished it, and if I happen to run across the sequel Ill probably read it, too. Children would probably be better inclined to disregard how actual humans behave, and enjoy it for the story.
I was expecting a Harry Potter knockoff and got something surprisingly different. The characters are well-drawn, if only occasionally one-dimensional, but the villains, Charlie's great aunts and paternal grandmother, are so ridiculously nasty you will sometimes wonder why anyone puts up with them at all. These read fast and will entertain younger readers very well. Adults may have a harder time not projecting into the story how they'd get rid of the nasty aunts and grandmother...
patticom - , reviewed Midnight for Charlie Bone (Children of the Red King, Bk 1) on
Even as an adult, I enjoyed this book for a little fun, light reading. The first few chapters were difficult to get through, because there are definitely a LOT of similarities to Harry Potter. However, if you can stick with it, by the middle of the book you will start forgetting about the similarities and begin accepting Charlie's world as its own special place!