Monday, March 2, 2009
Charlie Bone (Children of the Red King series)
I have been listening to the Charlie Bones series and just finished Charlie Bone and the Invisible Boy. All the books are narrated so far by Simon Russell Beale and he does an excellent job with the voices and mannerisms. In my opinion, audio books are good only when the narrator is good. I've heard so awful books that I couldn't finish because the narrator just does a flat read and does put any personality into the book.
Anyway, I was afraid Charlie Bone was going to be Harry Potter-redux since they are both about young boys who can do magic and go to a special school and the titles are Charlie Bone and (fill in the blank) but they have more of Roald Dahl feel. The aunts, especially, are in league with the best adults in a Dahl novel. However, Charlie does have his mom and his maternal grandmother as well as the help of Cook and his uncle and the occasional teacher.
Basically, the background so far is this: Charlie lives at home with his mom and two grandmothers, Maisie Jones, his mother's mother who is very nice, and Grizelda Bone, his father's mother who is a nasty pieces of work as well as his paternal uncle, Paton Yewbeam. Charlie finds out that he is "endowed," which means he has a special ability like his uncle Paton. Charlie can hear pictures speak and see them move and Paton is a power-booster who often shatters light bulbs accidentally. Since Charlie is endowed he is made to go to a special school called Bloor's Academy where the children are either gifted in the arts or are endowed. There Charlie meets other endowed children and makes friends with Fidelio Gunn, a gifted musician.
Charlie is a kind boy who cannot help but try to help those in need. In the first book, he helps a hypnotized girl, the second, a boy who is "lost" in time, and the third, an invisible boy as well as his uncle. He tends to rush headlong into situations but is good at recruiting people to help him. But it is just as well cause things seem to be coming to a head at Bloor's.
Like I said, I've only listened to three of the books but I, unfortunately, have to break to listen to Brisingr. But I can't wait to get back to Charlie.