The Secret Kingdom by Jenny Nimmo
|The Secret Kingdom by Jenny Nimmo
|Category: Confident Readers
|Reviewer: Robert James
|Summary: The prequel to the superb Charlie Bone series sees Nimmo tell the story of his ancestor Timoken. As fans have come to expect, it's well-written, exciting, and will have readers glued to the book right up until the end.
|Date: April 2011
|External links: Author's website
Protected by a moon cloak, a ring, and three mysteriously powerful leopards, Timoken the magician and his camel Gabar seek a new home after the boy is forced to flee the secret kingdom. But will they ever find peace with the vicious viradees on their trail? This prequel to the Charlie Bone series contains new and old characters, including a couple of brief cameos from Charlie himself, but is well worth reading as a stand-alone or introduction to the series if you've never heard of it.
Nimmo has been a favourite author of mine for many, many years, since I first read the Magician Trilogy, and her new book had me enchanted straight away with her vivid descriptions of the secret kingdom which had never been touched by war and the arrival of the poor, hunted forest-jinni running from the nightmarish viradees. It's an outstanding first chapter which sets up the rest of the book really well and is beautifully written, particularly the jinni's nervous dialogue as he can barely believe he has found people who will look after him as he hides from his pursuers. The action comes thick and fast, with the coming of the viradees to the secret kingdom quickly followed by Timoken and his sister's flight from the place they were born, and then a long journey lasting hundreds of years with many adventures along the way. The friendship between Timoken and Gabar is surprisingly touching and the rest of the characters are fairly well fleshed-out, at least on the side of the heroes - the bad guys aren't quite as well developed but are satisfyingly evil villains to cheer Timoken on against. A particular pleasure for fans of the CB series is the introduction of the Flames, the leopards who play a fairly big part in that series and are equally as important in this book.
Overall, this is clearly a step above the majority of fantasy out there and while it will certainly appeal to Charlie Bone fans it's worth repeating my message above that there's nothing here that will be difficult for you to follow if this is the first of the author's works you've picked up. That said, I'll temper my praise ever so slightly by saying that I found the ending somewhat anticlimatic which just drops it down from the full five stars. Still an easy recommendation though!
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag. We also have a review of The Secret Kingdom: Leopards' Gold by Jenny Nimmo.
Further reading suggestion: As well as the aforementioned Charlie Bone series and the Magician trilogy by Nimmo herself another stunning fantasy series which will appeal to fans of this book is Derek Landy's outstanding Skullduggery Pleasant. We've also enjoyed Nimmo's The Witch's Tears.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Secret Kingdom by Jenny Nimmo at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Secret Kingdom by Jenny Nimmo at Amazon.com.
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