Midnight for Charlie Bone

The first installment of the “Children of the Red King” fantasy series introduces Charlie Bone, a boy who is gifted or “endowed” with a supernatural ability to hear photographs speak. The story goes that the Red king, a magician with the power to hypnotize, came to the British Isles from Africa in the 13th century and had 10 children, all of which were born endowed. Half of the children were wicked, half were good, and down through the generations a garden variety of good and bad endowment traits were passed on to the rest of the Red King’s descendents. Fast forward to present day, and we have Charlie Bone, a descendant, who upon discovering his own unusual power is enrolled in the “Bloors” Academy for gifted children. The story follows his adventures at the academy as he and his friends confront mysterious events and circumstances involving other relatives of the Red King.

You can’t help but compare this book to Harry Potter. The book has many similarities-boy living with wicked relatives discovers he has powers, attends creepy academy with other gifted weird kids and teachers, and becomes hero by standing up to scary bad guys. If you choose not to have your kids read Harry Potter books, you’ll want to avoid the Charlie Bone books as well.

In case you were wondering what some of the other powers the kids are sporting at the academy, we have hypnotizers, animorphers, flyers, oh and a boy who can speak dog, and another who can feel things that happened to others by touching an article of their clothing.

The book was very disappointing. Besides all the supernatural phenomena I found a muddled mess with poor plotting, shabby character development and an ending that felt like my Friday night dinners-rushed and thrown together at the last minute.

Perhaps the sequels are better, but I personally am not going to waste my time finding out. If you want still want a story like Charlie Bone Try Matilda by Roald Dahl– the story and characters are much better and the writing is by far, superior.

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