MIDNIGHT FOR CHARLIE BONE

Jenny Nimmo, Author . Scholastic/Orchard $9.95 (416p) ISBN 978-0-439-47429-0

The first in the projected Children of the Red King series, this paper-over-board British fantasy reads like ersatz Harry Potter. Charlie Bone, a likable "ordinary" boy of about 10, lives with his loving widowed mom and her mother, a salt-of-the-earth type, and his foreboding but wealthy paternal relations, who are "endowed" (with psychic abilities) and who watch Charlie for signs of the Yewbeam family gift. When Charlie suddenly begins to "hear" subjects in photographs, the Yewbeams delightedly pack him off to Bloor's Academy for similarly gifted children. Before he enrolls, however, voices from photographs lead him into a mystery, pointing to a suspicious baby "adoption" and involving clues about his own father's past; while these are the most original elements here, they, too, are familiar. At the Hogwarts-like Bloor's, Charlie is thrust into an ongoing struggle of good vs. evil, accompanied by new friends (an albino orphan, a drama diva and a musician) and confronted with mesmerizing foes (chiefly, the scion of the power-mad Bloor family). Nimmo writes solidly, but her powers of invention (shown in, for example, her Griffin's Castle) cannot withstand the comparison she invites with J.K. Rowling. Next in the series, The Time Twister. Ages 12-up. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 11/11/2002
Release date: 03/01/2003
Genre: Children's
Compact Disc - 978-0-7393-3900-8
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-7393-4450-7
Mass Market Paperbound - 401 pages - 978-0-439-48839-6
Paperback - 978-0-439-54302-6
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-8072-1662-0
Paperback - 281 pages - 978-0-545-17413-8
Open Ebook - 416 pages - 978-0-545-52090-4
MP3 CD - 978-1-5318-1372-7
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