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Children of the Red King #1: Midnight for Charlie Bone [Kindle Edition]

Jenny Nimmo
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (255 customer reviews)

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Book Description

A magical fantasy that is fast-paced and easy-to-read. Charlie Bone has a special gift- he can hear people in photographs talking.

The fabulous powers of the Red King were passed down through his descendants, after turning up quite unexpectedly, in someone who had no idea where they came from. This is what happened to Charlie Bone, and to some of the children he met behind the grim, gray walls of Bloor's Academy.

Charlie Bone has discovered an unusual gift-he can hear people in photographs talking! His scheming aunts decide to send him to Bloor Academy, a school for genius's where he uses his gifts to discover the truth despite all the dangers that lie ahead.


Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 4-6-Young readers are getting to be quite conversant with the characteristics of British boarding schools, especially those for the magically inclined. Jenny Nimmo's novel (Scholastic/Orchard, 2003) has postulated a set of characters, the Endowed, who exhibit very odd magical abilities that seem to have no purpose or usefulness at all and appear randomly in descendants of the nearly-mythical Red King. There are two branches of these descendants: the perplexed but essentially good people who have no idea why they can make light bulbs explode or hear voices coming from photographs, and the evil ones who seem to be part of a very complex and as yet unrevealed sinister scheme. This unusual take on magical abilities makes for a distinctly different set of circumstances and plot. Bloor's Academy which schools both Endowed and artistically gifted unendowed children has a much darker feel to it than Hogwart's but is still perfectly recognizable with its prefects, dining hall, dormitories, and so on. Charlie Bone, who discovers his Endowment at age 11 and has grown up in enigmatic family circumstances which he is only just beginning to figure out, makes many friends among the Endowed as well as the musicians, artists, and actors who people the school. This first tale from a projected series benefits from a reading by Simon Russell Beale which is rife with atmosphere and mystery. His voice, rich with nuance and emotion, brings to life each person and situation, and embellishes the story with a sense of drama and suspense fully appropriate to the tone of the writing. Charlie unravels one mystery of a missing Endowed girl in the course of setting the stage for dramatic future adventures. Not as complex at least not yet as the Harry Potter books, the promise exists for a continued completely fresh angle on the magic story. Many hints are provided of depths to be plumbed in future entries in the series, and a few plot lines in particular are already obvious. Listeners are going to be well rewarded in this audiobook, and they'll be anticipating future episodes.
Jane P. Fenn, Corning-Painted Post West High School, NY
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Gr. 4-6. These days stories about schools for budding magicians are inevitably compared to the Harry Potter books. Indeed, British author Nimmo's creation, Bloor's Academy "for gifted children," bears some resemblance to Hogwart's School, but the story itself is quite different. Seemingly ordinary Charlie Bone suddenly discovers that he can hear the thoughts of people in photographs, a talent that dour Grandma Bone and her three baleful sisters work to bend to their own ends by sending him to Bloor's and to its sinister headmaster. It's not an easy year for Charlie despite the friends he makes. Too many people have it in for him as he's swept into an age-old battle being waged by descendants of a powerful king of long ago. A mysterious box, a missing girl, a strange man who flits in and out in the company of three brightly colored cats, and various villains all figure into Charlie's exciting, fast-paced adventure tale, which happily is the first book in planned quintet called Children of the Red King. Harry Potter's myriad fans will be well pleased. Sally Estes
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • File Size: 657 KB
  • Print Length: 422 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0439474299
  • Publisher: Orchard Books; 1st Scholastic ed edition (September 1, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0090A6DMK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #53,155 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fairly good May 13, 2003
Format:Hardcover
Budding-wizard-goes-to-school books are becoming increasingly common now that the initial buzz over the Harry Potter series has passed. But more of these are good than you'd think. "Midnight for Charlie Bone," while not the best, is certainly entertaining.
Charlie Bone and his widowed mother live more or less under the thumbs of his horrible grandmother -- until the day he starts hearing photographs speaking. His horrible great-aunts are elated. It turns out that Charlie is one of the "children of the Red King," and so has a specific magical talent. Because his mother was not magical and his father was, they weren't sure if he would be, and now they know.
Though Charlie doesn't want to go, he is quickly enrolled in Bloor's Academy for gifted children. A man with three unusually intelligent cats is lurking around the place, his uncle Paton is stirred from his lethargy, and Charlie begins to learn about a missing child from many years before. A child that, for some reason, someone doesn't want him to find...
Jenny Nimmo's book isn't outstanding, but it is quite nice. While the ending wraps up this particular story, it's clear that there are sequels in mind. With a combination of ordinary and "endowed" people, and a sprinkling of unique talents (one boy can sense the previous owners of clothing), this can stand on its own with no comparisons to Harry Potter. This one is a little darker, a little weirder.
The concept of the Red King is an interesting one, especially the slightly dark tone of the good and bad "endowed" people's responses to one another. The particular quirks, like the intelligent cats, the flashbacks, and the material about Charlie's may-not-be-dead father are also quite good.
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33 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magical Book February 8, 2005
Format:Hardcover
Midnight for Charlie Bone is a great read. I enjoyed reading about the school for musical geniuses, The Bloor Academy, and it is interesting that only a few of the students are "endowed" with some sort of magical powers--the rest of the students are just geniuses in the area of art or music.

Charlie Bone's family is dysunctional, yet stuck on who deserves to be endowed and who does not. They do not see their own faults, which always makes for an interesting situation.

Of course there are similarities to Harry Potter, but I was intrigued with this book for different reasons. Harry Potter is similar to many books before it too, but Potter just happened to hit the popularity jackpot.

Midnight for Charlie Bone stands out on its own, and is a very worthy read. Sometimes I think readers forget that we are all critics, but it is okay to enjoy what you are reading, even if it is a kids' book. I don't think there is an age limit for good literature, and what makes a book good is the desire for a reader to want to finish what is being read because the book presents elements of intrigue that keep that book in your hands up until completion.

Charlie Bone has the potential to be a great series. The first in the series is excellent and the background story of "The Children of The Red King" can add more surprises as the series continues.

The coolest part is that all "endowed" children have powers, but they aren't taught spells and the like, they just have to discover what their powers are. The vast array of already presented characters and their very different powers sets this book apart from the Potter series and in my next review I will not even mention Mr. Potter.

This is a wonderful book.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is so much fun... August 27, 2004
Format:Hardcover
The mysterious powers of the legendary Red King have been passed down through his descendants. No one has been born with all of the Red King's powers; however, one or two of the powers (A.K.A. "gifts" and "endowments") turn up unexpectedly in someone who has no idea where they came from. Some of the people who receive a gift use it for good, some for evil. When a child is found who shows signs of having a power, they are sent to attend the Bloor's Academy.

Charlie Bone was a normal ten-year-old boy. His father has been dead most of his life, or so he and his mother thought. Living with them are both his grandmothers and Uncle Paton. Grandma Bone is snobby and loves to remind everyone that before she married Mr. Bone, she had been a Yewbeam. The Yewbeams were an ancient family, their history littered with artistic people who had more unusual talents. Charlie's family tolerates her only because the Bone family is so poor and Grandma Bone purchased everything for them, including the house. But Grandma Bone stayed close because Charlie's father had been one of those with powerful magic. Even though Charlie never showed signs of having a gift, it did not mean that one would not show up later. This is exactly what happened.

One morning Charlie looked at a photograph and could hear the thoughts of the people in it! Charlie is horrified, but Grandma Bone and his terrible aunts are delighted. This meant Charlie had to attend the Bloor's Academy during the week and only spend the weekends and holidays at home! Once there, Charlie makes a few friends and learns that some of his classmates have equally mysterious powers.

With his new talent, Charlie learns of a baby that had been adopted by mean people. The biological aunt had been searching for the baby girl for years.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars absolutely transfixing
I may be 36 but I absolutely love this series. my son and I are going to start reading it next week each night as part of his reading assignments. Read more
Published 6 days ago by Msgnomer
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Read
Good Read
Published 9 days ago by Dennis Ritchie
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good
Published 17 days ago by Bjmw
3.0 out of 5 stars Not overly typical, but the characters are a little thin
Lotsa kids who liked Harry Potter were reading these, so I tried #1. It was all right--the perspective changed here and there and the characters were kind of one-dimensional, and... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Swank Ivy
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book for Any Age.
I remember reading these books every day in grade 5. I found them so interesting. It's almost like a Harry Potter book. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Robbie
3.0 out of 5 stars this is not in the book but this is what it feels like. "Her eyes...
The book was alright, I mean I want to read the next one but it feels targeted to a younger audience. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Marisol Castillo
5.0 out of 5 stars Children of the Red King #1: Midnight for Charlie Bone
THE BEST BOOK EVER!!! It's so good I finished it without stopping.If you like Percy Jackson you will like Charlie Bone.If you like magic you'll like it
Published 2 months ago by David Chang
4.0 out of 5 stars Ok, but...
Overall this was a really good book. The only criticism i have, is that the Ending is a bit rushed. Go Charlie!
Published 3 months ago by Elizabeth Mook
5.0 out of 5 stars Captured an 11 Year Old's Imagination
I should first admit that I have not read the book. My son, however, read this book and went on to read all of the books in the Charlie Bone series. He absolutely loved them! Read more
Published 3 months ago by Ready2Read
5.0 out of 5 stars Both kids enjoyed it
I got this for my son after seeing how much he enjoyed the Harry Potter series and when my daughter got old enough to read it, she really enjoyed it, as well!
Published 5 months ago by BookMom
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