Midnight for Charlie Bone (The Red King Series) by Jenny Nimmo
I don’t remember who suggested this series to me; but they mentioned it in a kind of “If you liked Harry Potter, you ought to read Charlie Bone.” Our family loved Harry Potter so I thought I would try this series and give Kristie something else to read. But here is MY warning! Other than magical abilities and a school for “gifted children,” I found this book to be NOTHING like Harry Potter. I almost quit after 100 pages, but Kristie finished in record time. She spoke excitedly about the fast paced plot. So I soldiered on and finished.
Charlie Bone is a young boy who discovers he can hear voices from photographs. At the same time, he acquires a mysterious case that is the key to finding a girl who was lost as a child and would be Charlie’s age now. Charlie’s grandma and 3 great aunts immediately send him off to Bloor’s Academy, a school for gifted and talented children. But Bloor’s is not Hogwarts. It is not a home away from home, but more like a boarding school straight out of a Dickens’ novel.
Charlie enlists the help of new found friends to solve the mystery of the missing girl rumored to be at Bloor’s. But in so doing, he finds himself at odds with the headmaster and his daunting Grandmother and aunts. But with the help of an oddly powerful uncle, Charlie may have a chance to find the girl and uncover a greater mystery about himself.
I give this book a 5 out of 12 buttered rolls. I’m just not a fan. The backstory is so flawed, I can’t figure out what Charlie doesn’t know or understand and what is common knowledge. The character development was non-existent. Characters who were passed over as merely names, later accomplish important tasks and then treated like an integral part of the storyline. In the last few chapters, the characters discuss maintaining the balance between good and evil, but the entire book focused on the evil characters, good guys were merely footnotes.
There was nothing in the story that I would caution readers to avoid (or discuss with their children), but I found the whole thing kinda lame. Kristie’s excitement has me reading book 2 though. I guess with this kind of beginning, things can only get better from here. However, I thought it only fair to give the recommendation of my 11 year old daughter, Kristie.
I love Midnight for Charlie Bone because there is a lot of adventure and fun in it. It is fun to read about stuff like this when I can figure out what to do and what is going to happen in it. For example, I’m pretty sure I have figured out who Charlie’s Dad is, even though they have no idea. I really like adventure books and it reminds me of books like Harry Potter and Fablehaven. I like adventure and I really like books that have nothing to do with love. It is annoying to read a book when all they focus on is love. The only love in Charlie Bone is the love between family members. It is mysterious and cool how they are able to use there powers and able to solve the problems.
There you go. I need a proper backstory or proper updates of history, non of this mere, “Oh yeah…by the way” stuff. One-dimensional characters make one-dimensional books. However, young readers are more forgiving of those fatal flaws.