Bran Hambrick had a mysterious beginning. Found in a bank vault when he was a mere 6 years old, he had nothing but a slip of paper with his name and no knowledge of how he got there. Taken in by a crotchety banker named Sewey Wiloma, Bran lives a seemingly “normal” life with his odd new foster family in the city of Dunce. In Dunce magic is illegal – gnomes and mages are considered lawbreakers. Then comes the day Bran discovers he can do magic. He is overwhelmed and tries desperately to keep his awakened powers silent. He finds he is not alone as there are other Mages in Dunce who are flying under the radar. Here’s an excerpt where Bran finds a hidden room in the local bookstore. There he finds it full of magic books. Here he is reading from one.
He turned the page and saw there were rows and rows of similar magics: all organized in the same way and numbered neatly. Each had a title of its own as well, like a nickname. He say one called Fulton’s Fiery Flying Fingers and Muddy Mucktrap, and Windy Snaps just above Caterwualing Cannons of Lightening. Each had something to do with a natural element. Bran felt as if he were a wanderer and had for the first time in his life found books about his homeland.
I confess I approached this book with skepticism. How could a book written by a teen (the author started writing it when he was just 14) be any good? I was pleasantly surprised. The story is well told with a unique voice And, there are eccentricities such as inventive vocabulary and larger than life characters that should keep the reader entertained. Keep in mind this book is about a boy who is a mage, and he meets other mages, including some who would represent the dark side of magic. Fans of books such as Harry Potter or even Roald Dahl should find this book appealing as well. Overall, I’d say Kaleb Nation has penned a good book, which is no easy task. Kudos!