Charlie Bone hears voices. Not just any voiceshe hears voices of people in paintings and photographs. As one of the endowed children descended from the Red King, Charlie is part of a magical, mysterious group trying to keep the forces of good in the world balanced with the forces of evil. In this latest installment in the "Charlie Bone" series, readers begin a new school year with Charlie and a new cast of interesting characters. A new teacher, Tantalus Ebony, is frighteningly stern at times and at others, droopingly drowsy. A new student seems to be literally magnetic and up to no good. Surrounded by old friends and new, Charlie sets out to save his friend Billy from his new adopted parents, while investigating a mysterious phantom horse and a castle made of mirrors. Despite his unusual abilities, Charlie remains an approachable, empathetic character as he struggles with his personal desire to find his missing father. The cast of characters and their magical abilities is vast, and a genealogy chart and prologue are necessary additions to help unfamiliar readers understand the relationships within the book. However, the variety and creativity of this magical world are sure to please fantasy readers. 2005, Orchard Books/Scholastic, Ages 12 up.
School Library Journal
Gr 4-7-Charlie Bone is off on another action-packed adventure in this recording of Jenny Nimmo's fourth book (Orchard Books, 2005) in the Children of the Red King series. Listeners will need to be familiar with the previous books in the series in order to follow the extended cast of characters and their endowments-magical gifts that are bestowed upon descendents of the Red King-or they will become lost in the quickly moving plot. Charlie begins his second year at Bloor Academy with a bang, receiving detention his very first morning back at school. A literally magnetic new student, a mystical white horse, an ethereal woman with a gift for plants, and young Billy Raven, who can talk to animals, each play a substantial part while Charlie is swept up into a mystery revolving around the Castle of Mirrors during his ongoing search for his missing father. Subtle humor brings a lighter touch into the convoluted and shifting loyalties among the students and instructors at Bloor. Actor Simon Russell Beale reads with aplomb and grace, giving each character, whether man or beast, a distinct voice that makes the many players come to life. A good purchase for both school and public libraries where the series is popular.-Charli Osborne, Oxford Public Library, MI Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
\\\\\\\\Nimmo, Jenny. Charlie Bone and the Castle of Mirrors. 2005. 432p. Scholastic/Orchard, $9.95 (0-439-54528-5).
Gr. 46. In the fourth book of the projected five in the Red King series, Charlie Bone and his friends (and enemies) begin a new term at Bloor's Academy, where many of the students and staff are endowed with magical abilities. Hoping to find his father and help a friend, Charlie travels to the ominous Castle of Bone. Nimmo adds several inventive elements to this magical world, including the transformation of Charlie's wand into a silent creature of mysterious power. Explaining the complex background story and introducing the many characters to new readers slows down the action quite a bit at the start, but the pace picks up nicely when Charlie goes to the rescue of his friend Billy. Prediction: this fantasy should do quite well, assuming a continuing demand for stories about a nice lad with magical powers who goes to boarding school, longs to see his father, has adventures, makes a few mistakes, and gets by with a little help from his friends. Carolyn Phelan
NIMMO, Jenny. Charlie Bone and the Castle of Mirrors. 411p. (Children of the Red King Series). Scholastic/Orchard. 2005. Tr $9.95. ISBN 0-439-54528-5. LC number unavailable.
Gr 5-8Charlie Bone is starting a new school year and once again there are unpleasant surprises in store for him and his friends at Bloor's Academy. Little Billy Raven has finally been adopted, but the sinister de Greys have other plans for Billy, and it is up to Charlie and his friends to find a way to save him. Nimmo once again delivers an exciting, plot-driven tale that is sure to please fantasy and adventure fans. This new chapter in Charlie's saga is full of plot twists and thrills that will leave readers eagerly awaiting the next installment in the series. While the character development is a bit lacking, fantasy fans will enjoy the story.Anna M. Nelson, Collier County Public Library, Naples, FL
Challenges and dangers continue to follow Charlie Bone wherever he goes in this sequel to Charlie Bone and the Invisible Boy. Evil Dr. Bloor believes that he has resurrected a despicable ancestor without realizing the B on the casket stood for Berenice, the good queen, rather than the warrior Borlath. The endowed children gain another protector, but three more endowed students arrive at the academy and use their gifts of magnetism and telekinesis to aid the Bloors. The balance literally shifts toward the dark side when it is discovered that Olivia has the ability to create illusions. The terrifying results are enough to cause the Bloors to give up their control over hapless Billy Raven. The children work together to restore the balance and all ends well for now. Charlie, ever hopeful of being reunited with his missing father, receives a tantalizing clue on the last two pages.
As always, Nimmo spins an imaginative, absorbing tale that will not disappoint fans of Charlie and company. Characters continue to develop and grow while the introduction of new bad guys and girls promises future botherations for the ingenious bunch. It is a treat to see the team of endowed children and adults treated with respect by each other. Too often, authors fall back on portraying children as smart-mouthed independents and adults as clueless and useless. The question now is who will complete their quest first- Charlie or Mr. Potter?