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.
I listen during a riding in a car, so the time was well spent.
I thought that there were some rather long winded sections where brevity would have been appreciated. The story is unique, though.
The narration, but mostly the interesting story and the characters.
Harry Potter, it has a school for gifted children, magic "even if the children aren't wizards" and plenty of the sort of evil characters you'd get from a Potter book.
His brilliant voices for each character. His Grandma Bone voice makes me cringe every time.
Poor Charlie Bone! Forced to live with a creepy old Grandmother... with "the sisters" and attend an equally creepy school. Good read.
My nine year old nephew suggested I read Charlie Bone's adventures. After finding them here at audible.com I couldn't pass on the opportunity- and I'm glad I did. It's such an interesting story! The writing is quite excellent. It brings the textures of Charlie Bone's world clearly into the minds-eye. And Simon Russell Beale's naration is the perfect complement. So why is it not fair? Because it was so enthralling I finished the recording much too quickly! Oh well, on to Book 2...