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Charlie Bone and the Hidden King

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The fifth book in the New York Times bestselling CHILDREN OF THE RED KING series! When Charlie turns twelve on New Year's Eve, the Flame Cats give him a grave warning: Something ancient has awoken, and Charlie must be watchful. Soon Charlie learns that the shadow from the Red King's portrait has been released, and that it will do anything to keep Charlie from finding his f The fifth book in the New York Times bestselling CHILDREN OF THE RED KING series! When Charlie turns twelve on New Year's Eve, the Flame Cats give him a grave warning: Something ancient has awoken, and Charlie must be watchful. Soon Charlie learns that the shadow from the Red King's portrait has been released, and that it will do anything to keep Charlie from finding his father. Meanwhile, pets are mysteriously vanishing from the city, and Olivia is in danger of revealing her newfound powers.


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The fifth book in the New York Times bestselling CHILDREN OF THE RED KING series! When Charlie turns twelve on New Year's Eve, the Flame Cats give him a grave warning: Something ancient has awoken, and Charlie must be watchful. Soon Charlie learns that the shadow from the Red King's portrait has been released, and that it will do anything to keep Charlie from finding his f The fifth book in the New York Times bestselling CHILDREN OF THE RED KING series! When Charlie turns twelve on New Year's Eve, the Flame Cats give him a grave warning: Something ancient has awoken, and Charlie must be watchful. Soon Charlie learns that the shadow from the Red King's portrait has been released, and that it will do anything to keep Charlie from finding his father. Meanwhile, pets are mysteriously vanishing from the city, and Olivia is in danger of revealing her newfound powers.

30 review for Charlie Bone and the Hidden King

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    I'm gradually losing patience with this series. I've ignored the fact that these kids go to a special school for the endowed even though there is absolutely no assistance given to the kids to learn how to best use their endowments; I've tried to overlook the fact that everyone knows about endowed people and yet no one ever wants to call the police or a doctor because supposedly no one would believe the situation; I've merely gritted my teeth as the children take on the world while most of the ad I'm gradually losing patience with this series. I've ignored the fact that these kids go to a special school for the endowed even though there is absolutely no assistance given to the kids to learn how to best use their endowments; I've tried to overlook the fact that everyone knows about endowed people and yet no one ever wants to call the police or a doctor because supposedly no one would believe the situation; I've merely gritted my teeth as the children take on the world while most of the adults are too incompetent to help and too breezy about life to care; and I accept drawing out the seemingly needless mystery about Charlie's missing dad---but ever since the queen came back as a horse in the last book, I have been less willing to take a grain of salt with all this. With this installment I feel like the story just keeps getting more ridiculous.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

    Alrighty, we are now entering the books that I haven't read yet... MY CHILDHOOD IS SOON TO BE COMPLETED... PS - Now I know why I stopped at this one... Alrighty, we are now entering the books that I haven't read yet... MY CHILDHOOD IS SOON TO BE COMPLETED... PS - Now I know why I stopped at this one...

  3. 4 out of 5

    Drebbles

    In the fifth book in Jennie Nimmo's Children of the Red King series, odd things are happening in Charlie Bone's neighborhood. First there is an odd snowstorm and then all the animals disappear. Benjamin Brown, recently returned from Hong Kong, misses his dog Runner Bean and wants Charlie to help get the dog back. Charlie agrees, although he's upset that Benjamin's parents are working at Bloor Academy as spies. Charlie also has other problems. His grandmother Maisie has been frozen and he and his In the fifth book in Jennie Nimmo's Children of the Red King series, odd things are happening in Charlie Bone's neighborhood. First there is an odd snowstorm and then all the animals disappear. Benjamin Brown, recently returned from Hong Kong, misses his dog Runner Bean and wants Charlie to help get the dog back. Charlie agrees, although he's upset that Benjamin's parents are working at Bloor Academy as spies. Charlie also has other problems. His grandmother Maisie has been frozen and he and his Uncle Paton are unable to break the spell. The Flames also warn Charlie that his mother is in danger, but it's impossible for him to watch over her while he's at school. Sure enough, Amy Bone meets the mysterious Hart Noble and begins to change. Charlie begins looking harder than ever for his missing father before his mother forgets him entirely. Charlie is going to need the help of all his friends, including new friend Naren Bloor, to make things right again. "Charlie Bone and the Hidden King" was an okay book in an okay series. There are some nice fantasy elements such as Charlie's wand still helping him even though it's a moth and Naren's ability to do "shadow writing". The disappearance and reappearance of the animals is well done. Also interesting is how Charlie's power is growing and Manfred's development of a new power. Unfortunately, Nimmo doesn't use her own imagination enough and many elements in the book come across as Harry Potter rip-offs: there are other schools with endowed children (a dinner scene with head teachers from those schools is straight out of "The Goblet of Fire"); a map; the fact that Charlie has a wand; and there is a magic mirror. The book is awkwardly written and shifts from different the viewpoints of different characters instead of just Charlie's viewpoint. Nimmo often explains things in writing instead of showing readers through the actions of the characters. Many of the characters aren't well developed and when a teacher's secret is revealed it doesn't make the impact that it should since the teacher doesn't register as a character before that. The plot line of Benjamin's parents being spies comes to an abrupt and not very plausible end. While there is a major and quite well done twist at the end involving one of the children, the whole ending of the book feels rushed. Since this was supposed to be the last book in the series (there's another on the way), Nimmo wraps up most of the plot lines, but the plot line involving his father should have been much more developed and I found the end to that particular plot line rather flat. Children will like "Charlie Bone and the Hidden King" and the entire Children of the Red King Series, but adults will want deeper reading.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kristi

    That plot twist about Charlie's father was so unexpected, omg! That plot twist about Charlie's father was so unexpected, omg!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jacob Norby

    Personal Response This book was pretty decent. My main problem with this one is that the other books in the series usually kept me interested throughout, but this one doesn't really keep my interest until the very end. Plot Summary Charlie Bone is now 12 years old and going back to Bloor's Academy for school. All sorts of strange starts happening like Charlie's Grandmother being frozen solid, his mother being won over by the mysterious Count Harken, and forgetting her missing husband. Also all the Personal Response This book was pretty decent. My main problem with this one is that the other books in the series usually kept me interested throughout, but this one doesn't really keep my interest until the very end. Plot Summary Charlie Bone is now 12 years old and going back to Bloor's Academy for school. All sorts of strange starts happening like Charlie's Grandmother being frozen solid, his mother being won over by the mysterious Count Harken, and forgetting her missing husband. Also all the animals in the town star disappearing and nobody knows why. Charlie teams up with his friends once again to try to uncover who is behind all of the strange happenings, and maybe finally find Charlie's father. Recommendation I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoyed the other entries of the series. I can't say I really recommend the series to anyone unless they're looking for a fantasy series and they can't find anything else as it can be a bit uncreative.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Anne Hamilton

    I read Charlie Bone and the Hidden King back-to-back with Ian Irvine's Runcible Jones: Gate to Nowhere. These two books are so stylistically similar they are not quite clones but certainly closer than cousins—literary half-siblings, perhaps. Highly improbable plots with melodramatic overtones, landscapes partly Dickensian, partly Rowlingsian and partly golden age science fiction, character line-ups peopled by angst-ridden orphans, feisty female sidekicks and villains almost slapstick in their per I read Charlie Bone and the Hidden King back-to-back with Ian Irvine's Runcible Jones: Gate to Nowhere. These two books are so stylistically similar they are not quite clones but certainly closer than cousins—literary half-siblings, perhaps. Highly improbable plots with melodramatic overtones, landscapes partly Dickensian, partly Rowlingsian and partly golden age science fiction, character line-ups peopled by angst-ridden orphans, feisty female sidekicks and villains almost slapstick in their perfidy — these are wonderful romping tales, but as for the suspension of disbelief, there was never a hope it could be achieved. I’m not sure the authors were even seriously trying. I’m sure the reader was supposed to feel sorry for the plight of the respective heroes, but I kept wanting to join the bullies and hit them — just to knock some sense into their downtrodden psyches. Both books highly recommended, if you’re not looking for anything intellectually or emotionally satisfying.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Books4m

    Try to eat just one chip I dare you.. now try to read just one Charlie Bone. Couldn't do it could you? Nope cause Charlie is addicting you want to keep reading of Charlies adventures. Want to see things worked out. And You Had To See If Charlie Could Figure Out Who HIs Dad Was! Finally this book reveals all. Thank God! I am an adult listening to the series so I knew who it was in book one but still I think kids will really enjoy this series, excellent writing and a great story teller. I love Cha Try to eat just one chip I dare you.. now try to read just one Charlie Bone. Couldn't do it could you? Nope cause Charlie is addicting you want to keep reading of Charlies adventures. Want to see things worked out. And You Had To See If Charlie Could Figure Out Who HIs Dad Was! Finally this book reveals all. Thank God! I am an adult listening to the series so I knew who it was in book one but still I think kids will really enjoy this series, excellent writing and a great story teller. I love Charlie Bone. Little language

  8. 4 out of 5

    Maddy

    While I once again enjoyed the story as a whole, the book failed to improve from the last installment. I keep hanging onto this series because I'm hoping it'll improve but, so far, it has not. Nevertheless, I plan to continue to read the series and see what new stories unfold for the children of the red king! While I once again enjoyed the story as a whole, the book failed to improve from the last installment. I keep hanging onto this series because I'm hoping it'll improve but, so far, it has not. Nevertheless, I plan to continue to read the series and see what new stories unfold for the children of the red king!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Furrawn

    Book five of the series is as strong as the previous four books... A shadow in green. An emerald. A tree that wears a crown. A frozen grandmother. Three cats of flame. A werewolf dances. And a silvery moth named Claerwen.... Wonderful❤️ Time for book six!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Julia

    "Oh, my children!" sighed the king. And then he was gone. But the tears flowed on, coursing down the furrowed trunk, red as blood. Mathonwy stared at the tears in dismay. He tried to stem them with his wand, but on they flowed. So, summoning all the wit, the poetry and the magic that was in his soul, Mathonwy cast a spell. "One day, my friend", he said, "your children will come to find you, and oh, what a day that will be!" *3.5 With this reading, I'm beginning to remember what I loved about this bo "Oh, my children!" sighed the king. And then he was gone. But the tears flowed on, coursing down the furrowed trunk, red as blood. Mathonwy stared at the tears in dismay. He tried to stem them with his wand, but on they flowed. So, summoning all the wit, the poetry and the magic that was in his soul, Mathonwy cast a spell. "One day, my friend", he said, "your children will come to find you, and oh, what a day that will be!" *3.5 With this reading, I'm beginning to remember what I loved about this books... the magic, the friendship, the history, and all the fights against the evil forces.

  11. 5 out of 5

    C.J. Milbrandt

    At this point, there's very little I can say without spoilering early books in the series, and I do detest spoilers. Needless to say, new problems are multiplying nearly as quickly as old ones are settled. Feasts and faculty. Enchantments and eavesdropping. Bridges and Bloors. Missing animals and moonlight. Already well into the next book! At this point, there's very little I can say without spoilering early books in the series, and I do detest spoilers. Needless to say, new problems are multiplying nearly as quickly as old ones are settled. Feasts and faculty. Enchantments and eavesdropping. Bridges and Bloors. Missing animals and moonlight. Already well into the next book!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    Loved this book!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Beth Polaski

    The suspense! The plot twist of Charlie’s father! The evil carelessness of his family! I can’t believe I didn’t put it together sooner! Eager to order the remaining books from this series!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Tarryn

    Hi, my name is Tarryn and this series makes me cry every single book.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Dinnu Reads Books

    I am starting to like this series more and more, it's warm and dreamy! The characters make humanly mistakes but they learn and nice things tend to happen to nice people in the end! 😊 I am starting to like this series more and more, it's warm and dreamy! The characters make humanly mistakes but they learn and nice things tend to happen to nice people in the end! 😊

  16. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    Without any doubt this series gets better with each book. I thought number four was awesome. The hidden King was fantastic. Loving this series. Probably 4.5 really.

  17. 5 out of 5

    G

    The prologue is a big giveaway for the further events. I rather itkept at the later part of the story, so at least I could be 'surprised. Through his journey, Charlie slowly discovered his father's identity, which I wasn't surprised to find out who he was. Once he hinted that he knw his father, my mind became an auto-filter of the possibilities of all the characters, and I got it right. 'Naren' is also not Chinese nor Cantonese of sunflower. Character development is still not efficient. Too many The prologue is a big giveaway for the further events. I rather itkept at the later part of the story, so at least I could be 'surprised. Through his journey, Charlie slowly discovered his father's identity, which I wasn't surprised to find out who he was. Once he hinted that he knw his father, my mind became an auto-filter of the possibilities of all the characters, and I got it right. 'Naren' is also not Chinese nor Cantonese of sunflower. Character development is still not efficient. Too many characters - even the protagonist, Charlie Bone has only one or two layers of character, plus such a common (and well liked and overused name)called Charlie, Charlie Bone has little identity to me. And same goes for Emma, Tanfred, Lysander, Benjamin(Ben is back! And what did he do in the book that was the most memorable to me? "Where is Runner-Bean(his dog taken under Charlie's care)?" ), Olivia (I was hoping her power could contribute to the main plot, but it just happens that it was just for doing silly little mocks, so much for the endowed child who makes peace in Bloors), Emma(I'm the worst, I always forget about her and her personality), Fidelio(I want a story dedicated to his life and the Gunns), etc. There are significant ridiculous bits that I couldn't remember, but the one with Manfred irks me. In 'The Hidden King', Manfred can't hypnotise anymore, BUT. He can use fire. (Ooooh, burn!) How on Earth did he inherit the power of fire? Yeah, we all know Manfred is supposed to be feared, but doing this is too intentional and unrealistic. HOWEVER, I enjoyed it. Sort of. Great advancement in plot. Some images are memorable in my head. Still can't get over Fidelio and the Gunn family's swag. Will not, and never will. xx

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sally

    Book 4, 5, 6, and 7 of this Charlie Bone series gives the reader more of the slightly weird happenings with Charlie, his friends, his not-friends and the nasty aunts and kind uncle. Rather than writing a new plot review for each one, I'll lump them together. Readers can get vested in this series by hoping that Charlie will find his father and wanting to discover who The Red Knight is, and for those reasons, mainly, one is motivated to read the whole series. I liked them well enough to pull them Book 4, 5, 6, and 7 of this Charlie Bone series gives the reader more of the slightly weird happenings with Charlie, his friends, his not-friends and the nasty aunts and kind uncle. Rather than writing a new plot review for each one, I'll lump them together. Readers can get vested in this series by hoping that Charlie will find his father and wanting to discover who The Red Knight is, and for those reasons, mainly, one is motivated to read the whole series. I liked them well enough to pull them out as a re-read (audiobook listen) when I found myself bereft of new things to read for a while. I do not agree with reviewers that compare this series to Harry Potter, either favorably or as a poor competitor. Although there are some ideas that could be deemed parallels, I think this series has a character of its own. I think that young readers who like the stories with magic and clever youngsters would like this series and perhaps would like it better than HP. My favorite character: Runner Bean, the neighbor boy's pet dog.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Danielle

    I think three stars is going to be a pretty consistent rating across all the books in this series, since they're not incredibly mind-blowing, and the writing itself can even be a bit messy at times and not fully fleshed out. BUT if I were to rate this against the other books in the series, I would definitely say this was one of the better books and was closer in quality to the first. One thing I was especially pleased with by the end was Charlie reuniting with his father—FINALLY, considering it w I think three stars is going to be a pretty consistent rating across all the books in this series, since they're not incredibly mind-blowing, and the writing itself can even be a bit messy at times and not fully fleshed out. BUT if I were to rate this against the other books in the series, I would definitely say this was one of the better books and was closer in quality to the first. One thing I was especially pleased with by the end was Charlie reuniting with his father—FINALLY, considering it was stupid-obvious from the first book who Charlie's father was and it only took five books for him to figure it out! Also, as if this doesn't need to be said enough: I love the Flame cats and I always will. They are precious, protective babies who are always there to save the day. 💛

  20. 4 out of 5

    Rebekah

    (For the people in the back: NAREN IS NOT SUNFLOWER IN ANY CHINESE DIALECT. What is it supposed to be, 那人?) Nimmo's writing is at its laziest yet in the fifth installment of the Charlie Bone series (formally known as the Children Of The Red King series). What makes this so painful to read is that the events described are brilliantly imagined. The story is a great children's fantasy but it's buried in schizophrenic narration. I mean, this would have been a 4-star book if only Nimmo had had an exper (For the people in the back: NAREN IS NOT SUNFLOWER IN ANY CHINESE DIALECT. What is it supposed to be, 那人?) Nimmo's writing is at its laziest yet in the fifth installment of the Charlie Bone series (formally known as the Children Of The Red King series). What makes this so painful to read is that the events described are brilliantly imagined. The story is a great children's fantasy but it's buried in schizophrenic narration. I mean, this would have been a 4-star book if only Nimmo had had an experienced reader (and maybe a UK-born Chinese person to tell her what's wrong with her Naren character) scrutinise it and provide feedback to refine her story before publication.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Debbie

    Book five in the Charlie Bone series. After an eerie warning by the flame cats, Charlie notices an ominous change in the picture of the Red King that hangs in Bloor's Academy. Soon all the animals disappear, Maisie freezes solid, and Amy begins to forget Lyell completely. Charlie, with the help of his friends, not only finds the animals, but also some important clues that may finally reveal his father's whereabouts. Book five in the Charlie Bone series. After an eerie warning by the flame cats, Charlie notices an ominous change in the picture of the Red King that hangs in Bloor's Academy. Soon all the animals disappear, Maisie freezes solid, and Amy begins to forget Lyell completely. Charlie, with the help of his friends, not only finds the animals, but also some important clues that may finally reveal his father's whereabouts.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

    This book about a boy name Charlie who can travel into pictures. He go to Bloor with other magic kids. One day, he found out that there is a invisible boy name Ollie who was lock up in the Bloor. Can Charlie be able to help Ollie escape? I like this book because it is a adventure book and it had many cool characters to know and they can fight with the bad guys to save Ollie.I like this book also because it is a thin book, so I can read for a long time.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ryne

    Part of the reason why I disliked this book was because I originally thought it to be the last book in the series. If it were the last book, then I would say it had a TERRIBLE ending. As things stand, the ending still wasn't that great. The story is fun, but plot holes abound, along with characters I haven't become more sympathetic to since Book 1. I don't care to read the rest of the novels in the series. Part of the reason why I disliked this book was because I originally thought it to be the last book in the series. If it were the last book, then I would say it had a TERRIBLE ending. As things stand, the ending still wasn't that great. The story is fun, but plot holes abound, along with characters I haven't become more sympathetic to since Book 1. I don't care to read the rest of the novels in the series.

  24. 5 out of 5

    An.ka

    I took this book when I was about 10 years old and I was that idiot that took the 5th book of the series and haven't read anything about the previous ones. Well, I haven't finished it, and don't think I am going to. It was kinda boring. Maybe that's becouse I haven't read the other ones.. I have no idea... I took this book when I was about 10 years old and I was that idiot that took the 5th book of the series and haven't read anything about the previous ones. Well, I haven't finished it, and don't think I am going to. It was kinda boring. Maybe that's becouse I haven't read the other ones.. I have no idea...

  25. 5 out of 5

    Nilsson

    This is why you shouldn't join in stepping on moths, tempting of a hobby as it may be. I know some people find the sport addicting, gleaning pleasure from the chalky white blood; there are whole meadows dedicated to the sport! But see now, how would you feel if one turned out to be someone's wand? There's a cake not worth the candle I say. This is why you shouldn't join in stepping on moths, tempting of a hobby as it may be. I know some people find the sport addicting, gleaning pleasure from the chalky white blood; there are whole meadows dedicated to the sport! But see now, how would you feel if one turned out to be someone's wand? There's a cake not worth the candle I say.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Mel Hawk

    Charlie's pops is alive again! onto number 6 Charlie's pops is alive again! onto number 6

  27. 5 out of 5

    Josh

    I just found out this is a sequel to charlie bone 8

  28. 5 out of 5

    Juliana Candela

    I’m very disappointed in this book, I can’t begin to tell you Spoiler free review- most of the book was great, normal 4 stars then the ending popped out of nowhere and it was awful -spoiler territory- I’m going to tell you all the things I liked about this book first, the beginning was so promising (you start off the book with uncle Paton ofc it’ll be good) and pretty interesting, I loved the whole dinner party reveal I thought that was done perfectly and Benjamin’s finally back, 1) there was WAY to I’m very disappointed in this book, I can’t begin to tell you Spoiler free review- most of the book was great, normal 4 stars then the ending popped out of nowhere and it was awful -spoiler territory- I’m going to tell you all the things I liked about this book first, the beginning was so promising (you start off the book with uncle Paton ofc it’ll be good) and pretty interesting, I loved the whole dinner party reveal I thought that was done perfectly and Benjamin’s finally back, 1) there was WAY too much going on in this book, you have the animals disappearing, the introduction of bartholamew, (idk if I spelt that right) maisie frozen, Charlie’s mom is bewitched, the shadow’s gone from the portrait, the dinner party, Julia’s book store on fire, the diaries, the browns are spying on the kids, the red king tree and circling stuff, and out of the blue, LYELL? Honestly the little paragraph abt what the book is abt only says a fraction of what’s here. 2) WHAT WAS LYELL’S REVEAL??? It was AWFUL the author literally just tacked it on at the end of the book! This has been building up for the past 5 books and they end it like this? Firstly, fidelio said that tally twelve bells was stolen, this should’ve been a key moment but NO Paton and company, rush up to mr pilgrim/Lyell with this magic potion thing that makes him better, also where did man Fred come from? He just showed up, broke the vial, and ran away but don’t worry, him breaking the vial is only bad for another 2 sentences because Lyell ends up consuming it anyway and now he can remember It was such a bad ending that lasted like 4 pages for something that’s been building up in all these books, also they didn’t explain why they thought the kings tears would work they were just like “here’s a random vial, let’s give it to him!” It was really just awful storytelling, it’s like the author didn’t want to go over her 400 pages and just quickly wrote out the ending. Now I want to tell you what I would’ve done and how I would’ve rewritten the ending, Charlie reveals to his mother that he knows who his father is, maisie asks what they’re going to do about it and Charlie stands up dramatically and is like “we’re going to get my father back” End of book 5, leave it on a clifffhanger Book 6, to free Lyell from hypnotism they need to play the exact things he heard when he was hypnotized, since tally twelve bells has been stolen they have to orchestrate the exact same melody from that night, grandma bone has gotten wind of what they’re up to and warns manFred and all his cronies, they dismiss school for the week and lock up their doors, mr pilgrim can still hear from where he resides so it’s time for the big night Fidelio is a big piece in this operation, he’s the conductor for them, (this is also good because Fidelio is always left out of the endowed and this can make him feel important) Gabriels’s playing the organ, everyone else in the group in music is also helping out (Billy raven, Charlie, etc) while the musicians are doing that, Olivia, Emma, Tancred and Lysander are trying to get into the academy, they’re breaking down the doors and have to take out dorcas, the twins, all those guys with the help of Paton and Mrs bone walking with them to reach Lyell, speaking of Lyell, of course they couldn’t replicate the sounds entirely since there are different people singing and not as many but it’s still just enough to help Lyell, he starts vaguely remembering his wife and Charlie and Lyell fights off the hypnotism himself then tries to reach his family downstairs, there’s an epic fight going on down there and they eventually get Lyell but manfred and his gang vow to get revenge, after playing, Charlie rushes down to meet his father and they see each other at the exact street corner where he was hypnotized, they embrace, do whatever else you want, and bam THAT is a satisfactory ending, that’s what should’ve went down but instead we have kings tears Ex machina that fixes everything in 2 pages The book was crammed enough all ready with all the stuff they put in, and that ending gave this book 2 stars

  29. 5 out of 5

    Ursula

    22 August 2020. Finished Charlie Bone and the Hidden King, but Jenny Nimmo. Rating - 2 stars Genre - Fantasy Audience - Middle Grade I've attempted this series a couple of times, and never got past book 4. I couldn't remember why. I figured it was a combination of losing interest, getting distracted, and just not finding a convenient copy of the book. However, having picked this series up again, I'm seeing and remembering the problems, such as Asian micro-aggressions (just in this book), plot lines c 22 August 2020. Finished Charlie Bone and the Hidden King, but Jenny Nimmo. Rating - 2 stars Genre - Fantasy Audience - Middle Grade I've attempted this series a couple of times, and never got past book 4. I couldn't remember why. I figured it was a combination of losing interest, getting distracted, and just not finding a convenient copy of the book. However, having picked this series up again, I'm seeing and remembering the problems, such as Asian micro-aggressions (just in this book), plot lines coming to dead-ends, people and things conveniently appearing and disappearing as needed for the plot, and people being weirdly obsessed with Charlie Bone. Charlie Bone is special, but he's not more special than any of the other gifted students. I get that he can enter photographs, and that's useful in some cases, but I mean, I don't get the obsession. It's like the villains can't go five minutes without talking about Charlie. Seriously, of every time he eavesdrops, the villains are talking about him. Even in his presence with non-villains, over half the conversations are about him. It feels weird. Another random thing I noticed is that other people are awful for bullying, but when Charlie and his friends do it to the "bullies" or people they don't like, it's almost cheered on. Maybe I'm a stickler, I get that there's context, but I feel like something is either wrong or right. I don't like the double standard. Sorry, if I'm just talking about general things and not the book itself. I have some issues specific to this book, but I feel like I've ranted enough. One thing I liked about this book was that a mystery from earlier in the series was resolved, which was a welcome surprise. I'm curious how it'll play out in the next book. So far, I like the first couple of books in this series, but I don't recommend it... but I'll see if my opinion changes after I finish the next three... if I finish the next three. Quotes: xi - The Red King and his friend walked together through the forest. It was a golden autumn and leaves fell about them like bright coins. The king was tall, his black hair showed not a trace of grey and his dark skin was unlined, but the sorrow in his eyes was centuries old. xii - Each step took them further from the world of men, and closer to the forest's heart. xii - They came at last to a glade where even the dead leaves were silent. The grass was the colour of honey and hawthorn trees heavy with crimson berries. Mathonwy rested on a fallen tree but the king stood looking through the bare branches. The sky had turned a burning red but, in a high band of deepest blue, the first star showed. xiii - How empty the forest would be without the companion who had filled his mind with wonders, who had shared his thoughts, answered his doubts, conversed from sunrise to moonset. pg. 1 - Snow filled the air, thick and fast it heaped itself upon the sleeping city, almost as through it were trying to keep it safe. A blanket of down to smother the wilderness that someone was determined to let loose. pg. 14 - A small shudder passed though the earth; a movement imperceptible to humans but enough to send a tiny thread of fear though every creature in the region. Birds awoke and screamed, small frantic rodents scurried desperately for safety and the mournful howling of dogs carried through the bitter air.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kris

    I may owe Jenny Nimmo an apology. Reading this series, one of my biggest complaints has been that the books are simplistically written - that the characters, the dialog, and the plot itself lack any depth. And I thought that was because the books were poorly written. But last week, I was talking to one of our children's librarians, and she brought up the idea that Nimmo intentionally wrote the books this way. Say your 5th grader is reading the Harry Potter series, and your 2nd grader also wants I may owe Jenny Nimmo an apology. Reading this series, one of my biggest complaints has been that the books are simplistically written - that the characters, the dialog, and the plot itself lack any depth. And I thought that was because the books were poorly written. But last week, I was talking to one of our children's librarians, and she brought up the idea that Nimmo intentionally wrote the books this way. Say your 5th grader is reading the Harry Potter series, and your 2nd grader also wants to read that series, but you feel it's a bit mature for a 2nd grader. The Charlie Bone series is a similar type of series, but perhaps more accessible (and/or appropriate) for a 2nd grader. Having said that, there are still things about the series that bother me: for one thing, the kids go to a special school, ostensibly because they have special magical gifts or "endowments", and the school will help them learn to use their gifts, but we never see any faculty or classes related to this. Also, the word "endowment" seems poorly chosen. There's a point in this volume where the narrator refers to Uncle Paton's gift for making light bulbs explode when he looks at them... as Nimmo calls it, his "exploding endowment". I just feel like there could have been a better choice of words. Finally, there are multiple examples of characters exploding in anger, or bursting into tears, or other extreme behaviors, all at once, when the situation doesn't warrant such an extreme reaction. Billy is sad about something Charlie has said, sure, but why is he bursting into tears? Charlie is upset that Bartholomew doesn't like Uncle Paton, OK, but why does he react so violently?

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