I really like this series. It's a little reminiscent of Harry Potter, in that its about kids with extraordinary abilities go to a 'special' academy, deal with sinister teachers or students and have mysterious adventures. But there's something different about it.
The city is unnamed. So it doesn't take place in London or NYC or any known city (or even country) that I recall.
The mythos is different from most fantasy magical books as well. It may be set against a Welsh mythology or blended with elements of african or Celtic legends, I don't know. But Harry Potter, it's not.
What it is, is fun. Nimmo has developed a backstory all her own where all of the 'endowed' children...the ones with special abilities... are descended from one legendary king. Some are good, some are not, all are in a struggle for power even if they don't realize it.
Like most fantasy novels there are magical creatures and artifacts to be encountered. But these are different. Intelligent cats, a kid that can talk to animals, and sinister relatives who dress and act like ... well, like witches! Though I don't recall any of the cauldron stirring, broom riding variety...nor even modern day Wiccans.
And there are consequences in some cases to using their powers. Unlike some novels where kids cast spells willy nilly, often the abilities some have here are portrayed almost as a disability. Imagine having to live in the dark all the time because your 'endowment' causes light bulbs to explode...whether you want them to or not! You probably wouldn't be invited to many parties.
One thing I'd caution about though is, for me, the characters sometimes lacked depth and warmth that you might find in some novels. While certainly not cardboard cutouts (these characters are unlike any I've read about), I came away not really identifying with Charlie or any of the others. Charlie doesnt seem to have any hobbies or interests. What is his favorite meal? Does he like sports? There are animals in the story but does Charlie like them? Dislike them? Merely use them as a tool or just ignore them?
But...its still a good story and the narration was excellent! I really enjoyed the work Beale put into this and look forward to hearing more from him.
Give this book a listen though. Its fun.
Charlie Bone is an amazing book and the contents are totally original.
Although it is often compared to Harry Potter, it is only slightly like it. It does have a boarding school that has some magical students but HP does not have ancient kings and a school for the arts. Also in HP the head master is kind and s not looking to control every one.
This is a great series for kids. Even as an adult it is one of my favorite series when I want something light to listen to. The narrator is easy to listen to and uses different voices, switching easy from one character to the next.
Listened to this story because my son loved it and wanted to share it with his sister and me. It was awful!!! Disjointed, predictable and boring. Only finished it to respect his listening pick for our family. I do not recommend.
Narrator did a great job. This is a children's fantasy--very enjoyable for fans of Harry Potter or similar stories.
Avid reader who hates it when editors or writers butcher the English language. Honest reviewer.
The narrator does a great job with the characters and the story is interesting. I love "the flames", they are so mysterious and magical that you can't help being fascinated by them.
Music is still forever in your Soul and art is forever in your Spirit!
Yes. It's good for a 4th grader and up.
He was really really really awesome.
This is great to help move you along and complete a book.
Wonderful for young children.
I loved the whole "ordinary person learns that he is extraordinary" concept of the story. It lends itself to a world of discovery and enchantment, not just for the protagonist, but the reader as well!
There are obvious similarities to the concepts in the Harry Potter books, especially "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone." HOWEVER, I was pleasantly surprised at the uniqueness of this story--how Jenny Nimmo used innovative plot ideas and characters that were not a rip-off of J.K. Rowling. Bloor's Academy, for example, was not identical to Hogwarts, nor were the teachers and students in it. Also, the endowments were treated differently than all the kids in Harry Potter being witches or wizards. Overall, the story stood apart from Harry Potter in numerous ways, but readers of J.K. Rowling's masterpieces would love this material as well.
Simon Russell Beale was a fantastic narrator, performing all the voices and adding dramatic pauses and proper intensity where needed. It didn't sound like someone simply reading off of a page--flat, dry and mechanical. His performance was captivating enough that it made me look up the other Charlie Bone books to ensure he was also the narrator (so I could get those as well)!
Though I loved the moments where Charlie began to embrace his endowment and stand up for the injustices he saw around him, I particularly loved how Uncle Paton began to come out of his shell and be the hero in the background.
I can thank this audiobook for getting me excited to read the initial four-pack of Charlie Bone novels I've had sitting--relatively untouched--on my shelf for a few years.