*For Ages 9 and up
I first came across Charlie Bone in 2010. I had just finished reading the Septimus Heap series by Angie Sage, and was on the hunt for another fantasy series to fall in love with.
Midnight for Charlie Bone, is the first book in a series of 8 books by Jenny Nimmo. In this book, we are introduced to Charlie Bone, who discovers he has a strange power: he can hear people thinking and talking in photographs. As soon as his Grandma Bone and her sisters (a truly mean and obnoxious bunch) discover his unusual talent, the reveal that it is part of his Yewbeam heritage. They force Charlie to attend Bloor’s Academy, a weird and mysterious school which other Endowed Children (children with special abilities) also attend.
As the story progresses, Charlie makes new friends—and enemies, and uncovers more mysteries and unravels more secrets.
Some people have compared Charlie Bone to Harry Potter. (Both are interestingly enough, published by Scholastic) Although there are some similarities such as school, magical powers and villainous adults, Charlie Bone has its own charms.
While Harry Potter has the fate of the whole world hanging on his shoulders, Charlie only has the fate of his whole town to contend with. In this aspect, Charlie Bone is simpler and has a less complicated storyline.
Jenny Nimmo has done a great job of choosing whimsical character names to suit the setting and the general tone of the book. She’s also managed to craft detestable villains, and heroes that you just can’t help but cheer for.
I listened to the whole series on audiobook while commuting to and from work. I found myself easily absorbed into Charlie Bone’s world. I found myself feeling disappointed whenever I had reached my destination and had to stop listening to the story.
It was easy to get invested in the characters and the plot. Sometimes I’d try to guess what would happen next, but the twists and turns of the story were often unexpected.
Charlie Bone is right up there on the list of my favorite fantasy book series. It’s definitely something both children and adults can enjoy.
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