Two of my three sons loved the Charlie Bone series. One read all of the books; the other listened to most of them on audio. Me? I found the writing too slow-paced and too much like Harry Potter to really get into the Charlie Bone narrative (the story tells of a boy who goes to a school to develop his magical abilities to enter into photographs, and he comes to realize he is one of a line of descendents of the powerful Red King.)
Now writer Jenny Nimmo returns with The Chronicles of the Red King, which tells the historical tale of the original ancestor. I’m happy to say that I found the writing more lively than Charlie Bone, and the characters of Timiken (the king in search of a kingdom that he can call home) and his sister, Zebaydah, and their camel, Gabar, (yep, a camel with attitude) are nicely done. I did enjoy most of all the story of where the magic comes from — in the guise of the last web spun by the last Moon Spider, woven with tears and rain and more, and given to Timoken by a small magical creature who gets destroyed by an army of evil creatures who want the moon cloak.
I read this novel as a read-aloud with my youngest son who loved the story. It was a quick read, just right for the holiday season.Clearly, Nimmo has further plans for the series (this is book one) and while I don’t think it is the best book I read this year, it was decent, and I can see my son and I following the series in between larger books (we’re reading Summerland right now by Michael Chabon … it’s wonderful).
Peace (with the moon cloak),
PS — the book video