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The Farfield Curse (Bran Hambric Series #1)

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

Awesome book

This book was really really really good. It was well written and very exciting. I can't wait to read the next one!!!!!!!!

posted by 9218076 on January 24, 2012

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Mysterious Mage

Nation has constructed an interesting and imaginative world in Bran Hambric. It's Potter-esque lore of magic and mysticism is likely to enthrall the most reluctant of middle-grade and young adult aged readers.

Where it falls a bit short, however, is segueing into the...
Nation has constructed an interesting and imaginative world in Bran Hambric. It's Potter-esque lore of magic and mysticism is likely to enthrall the most reluctant of middle-grade and young adult aged readers.

Where it falls a bit short, however, is segueing into the audience of adult readers which I whole-heartedly recognize is not it's purpose or goal. While the vivid imagery and creative characterizations make great strides in that direction the slower story-telling made it difficult to grab hold and really stay invested in the outcome. This is exemplified most in the heavy focus on the character of Sewey. A healthy amount of time was spent showcasing his curmudgeonly and grumpy nature - a point that was made several chapters in and would have sufficed. Moreover, what made this aspect more difficult to deal with was the fact that his constant presence didn't do much to further the main plot. Ultimately I struggled with the fact that this focus was time that could have been spent developing far more critical characters.

In my humble opinion, a great place to focus some of that attention would have been in further developing Emry. Now, I caveat this by saying that the lack of true depth of focus on Emry may have been designed to keep the mystery of her involvement in the Farfield Curse alive..but, still there could have been more focus on her in a historical perspective so that the ultimate reveal at the end of the story was more powerful. The same holds true of characters involved in the Farfield aspect of the plot - more on Elspeth, Joris and other critical characters to the story of the Curse and it's role in Bran's life may have provided the reader more investment in the story earlier on.

Speaking of the curse it took us over 2/3 of the book to really get deeper into that part of the story. This was a shame since it was the best and most thought provoking part of the novel. It is here that Nation found his stride as he revealed secrets long held back and allowed the reader to see how character's lives were truly intertwined. There were unexpected connections and surprising revelations that finally gave the reader that 'can't put it down' page turner aspect they longed for. It is in the chapters where Bran is in Farfield that the most compelling and enjoyable parts of the story are provided. Furthermore, Nation did an excellent job of making the mystery mysterious, I did not find myself predicting what was going to happen. The foreshadowing was subtle and kept the doors open for events to happen any number of ways. I appreciated that I wasn't lead through the story with my hand held the entire time.

Nation's Bran Hambric series has enormous potential and despite what I personally found to be hurdles I can see the appeal of this book for it's target audience. I would certainly recommend this first book to middle graders and younger skewing young adults. Further, given the writing and plotting of the last 1/3 of this book I too am interested to see if the next book in Bran's story picks up where Nation found his stride in Farfield Curse.

posted by Galleysmith on September 14, 2009

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  • Posted September 13, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A Story which I fervently hoped to love; yet sadly faltered as it progressed.

    I've had a long history with Kaleb Nation's blog where he's accounted his experience with reading "Twilight," as a male. From that, I've always seen that he has the skills for writing and has the ability to greatly entertain his readers with his unique sense of humor. With that, I really wanted to love this book and very much tried to find some pro's. But being a scrupulous reader definitely causes one to sight the flaws more so than the pro's within any piece of writing. And with this one, there were some very noticeable flaws that greatly detracted from my enjoyment of the story. I appreciate the effort that Kaleb Nation put within this story and understand the ardor of writing. Hopefully I'll be able to point out some of the positive elements of the story to not overwhelm the readers of this with a listing of all the negatives.

    First off, the story begins with Embry Hambric futilely trying to run from a pair of men who seem to be chasing her for some unknown reason. This beginning initially brought to my attention the dryness of the writing. Everything seemed more like an instructional guide to inform readers of essential information for understanding the story. Rather than providing a beginning that immediately immerses the reader into the action of the story, it's a very cliche ridden beginning that seemed to lack excitement and emotion. The dialogue especially seemed stale and noticeably uninspired.As a reader, it was hard for me to grasp the intensity of Embry emotions as she desperately decides how to save her son. Instead, I felt that I had to formulate those feelings myself. Since Kaleb's writing seemed not able to evoke those feelings. Writing beginning chapters is definitely a difficult task because there's so many options for a writer to choose from on how to begin the story. It was definitely a great way to starting the story but due to the poor execution of it; I did feel compelled to continue reading.

    After the introduction, we are introduced to Bran, the protagonist of this story. Bran encompasses every aspect of "the" common protagonist. Nothing about his personality seems fresh to the target audience. He's basically a normal fourteen year old boy, whose unaware at this point of the great abilities he possesses. Sounds a bit like another boy wizard, who also had no knowledge of their magical abilities. Along with Bran, we're also introduced to the family that has decided to house him. If anyone whose reading this has read Harry Potter, you already have foreknowledge of the mannerisms of the family members, who have a striking resemblance to the Dursleys. There were a few slight variations as there are two additional members. One example of a similarity though is Sewey's temper and extreme animosity of gnomes which is reminiscent of Vernon's hatred of magic and anger. Now, I must admit that the interaction between the family members was very funny. Especially Sewey's paranoid wife whose fears seemed identical to mine. Since I happen to be somewhat of a germaphobic.

    As the plot of the novel begins to progress, things do get a tad bit more interesting as we're introduced to characters such as Adi and her gnome. I would like to note that Bran's interaction with the gnome was one of the more refreshing aspects of this story. And it's where Kaleb Nation really shines. He seems to be well skilled in creating some truly great comedic moments. Yet his writing greatly falters when it comes to convey

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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