Charlie Bone and the Red Knight by Jenny Nimmo
|Charlie Bone and the Red Knight by Jenny Nimmo|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Linda Lawlor|
|Summary: The thrilling and action-packed conclusion to the Charlie Bone series.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 400||Date: June 2010|
|External links: Author's website|
Since the loss of his father, Charlie Bone has had to live in the house of horrible Grandmother Bone. But when he discovers he can hear people in pictures talking, a whole new world opens to him. His grandmother and her even more unpleasant sisters insist he should now attend Bloor Academy, a school where he meets other children endowed with magical abilities because they are descendants of the Red King. This King, an African magician, came to the North nine hundred years ago, and left a part of his powers to each his ten children. But several of those children turned to evil, as have their descendants, and Charlie and his friends have to stop them from doing terrible harm to the town. In each of the books in the Charlie Bone series, he encounters new allies and new enemies, until the whole story culminates in one immense final battle in Charlie Bone and the Red Knight. This book is based on the search for a will, a quest which gradually draws together many of the themes of the series, and ends with the kind of solution which will leave the reader sighing with satisfaction.
You might be forgiven for thinking that the above description means Charlie Bone resembles a dozen other fantasy stories, but you would be mistaken. For one thing, the characters in this series are in no way stereotypes. One of the favourite meeting places for Charlie and his friends is a Pets' Café: clients are only welcome if they are accompanied by a pet, and the owners provide delicious food for everyone, whether they have two or four legs, or none at all. Three mysterious cats (forgive the tautology: cats are always mysterious, aren't they?) wander through the story whenever they choose, healing and protecting. And two of the major characters who help Charlie in his battles against evil, Benjamin and his dog Runner Bean, have no magical powers at all. There are good cops and wicked great-aunts, and teachers on both sides; there is a magical moth, an uncle who has to use candles because he cannot help blowing up light bulbs, and an enigmatic knight whose identity is not revealed until the end of the final book. And, of course, an old lady who makes kettles.
Such a motley cast of characters does pose a challenge to the casual reader who might pick up this book before reading the others in the series. No need to worry: Jenny Nimmo is a skilful writer who drops essential information into the narrative without overloading it, so it is perfectly possible to read this book as a stand-alone. But to enjoy the full richness of the story, it is better to start from the beginning with Midnight for Charlie Bone. At various points in the action characters change sides, or we, with the heroes, discover that we have misunderstood their motives, and because so much of the plot is based on family allegiances, it helps to know who is descended from whom. Fortunately, there is a very useful family tree, and brief descriptions of the main characters. Charlie is a likeable character; his fast-moving adventures contain humour, friendship and warmth as well as danger, and the whole series is well worth reading.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.
Further reading suggestion: Fans of fantasy novels where the main characters have to struggle against evil villains will also love Skulduggery Pleasant, Playing with Fire and The Faceless Ones by Derek Landy.
You can read more book reviews or buy Charlie Bone and the Red Knight by Jenny Nimmo at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Charlie Bone and the Red Knight by Jenny Nimmo at Amazon.com.
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