Midnight for Charlie Bone - Jenny Nimmo
(Book 1 in the Children of the Red King series)
The first book in a new series (Powell's says it's a quintet), this book will likely have some comparisons to Harry Potter. It's British, it involves magic (though of a different sort), and the protagonist, Charlie Bone, is a young boy who discovers his powers and is packed away to a different school, to have adventures and outwit bullying classmates and his unpleasant family. But, as we've discovered, British novels are often about poor, oppressed children overcoming obstacles and turning out better than their rich, spoiled (and occasionally evil) counterparts. It's pretty easy reading, and the broadly spaced type makes the book look longer than it actually is. It's also fresh and interesting—Robyn and I have started Harry Potter 5, a enormous tome, but there's something exciting about getting to know a brand new cast of characters. The first book does a good job of introducing the characters, moving the plot along, and hinting at the backstory, something about a Red King whose children inherited some of his powers and turned out half good and half bad. Nimmo gives enough hints throughout that you can figure out some of the mysteries before Charlie does (including one which isn't yet resolved by the end of the book), but I suppose that's forgivable in a book intended for younger readers.

I'm interested in seeing how this series continues; hopefully Nimmo won't run into the same delays that Rowling did.

Fed to jonathan's brain | June 26, 2003