The Children of the Red King 1: Midnight for Charlie Bone
Charlie can hear people talking to him. No, not the kind of voices inside his head that might mean he’s mad – he’s one of the Endowed children of the Red King. Charlie is able to hear the voices of what people were thinking and saying when photographs were taken. Life is not easy for Charlie though. His friend Benjamin thought they were going to attend the same school – but now Charlie must go to the Academy or be kicked out of home.
Nimmo has crafted a beautiful novel as a starter for this series. There are crafty foreshadowing motifs, and other parts that flow because of the imagery that Nimmo uses. I didn’t even mind the perspective alterations in order to show off the villains better!
Although I would say mainly this novel is plot driven (and also with a healthy dose of suspense thrown in), we also see some character development from Charlie and the others. The Flames have to be my favourites – and you just know there’s something extra strange about them from the beginning.
Billy Raven acts as a loveable, and question-inducing antagonist. It’s just what is appropriate for a children’s book, and I can imagine this book being put on syllabuses because of the questions it could potentially raise. If you’re raising a budding fantasy lover, I’d absolutely recommend this novel as one of the early ones to read.
There are now lots of different covers for this novel – but I have the one on the left, and all of the other books in the series as matching ones! I love them, and they’re all subtly shiny. Sadly, the new book doesn’t match, but at least it’s obvious about where it belongs. I haven’t actually read that one yet, but I will once I’ve reread all the ones in The Children of the Red King series (check the Reviews by Author page to see what I’m up to).
I read and loved this novel when I was considerably younger, and was re-attracted to it recently because there is a new book in the series (a prequel). This of course makes it nearly impossible for me to properly evaluate, but I have tried to some extent. Go and buy yourself a copy if you love simple, easy to read fantasy that still has hidden elements for you to puzzle over.