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Midnight for Charlie Bone (Children of the Red King Series #1)

Midnight for Charlie Bone (Children of the Red King Series #1)

4.5 246
by Jenny Nimmo, Simon Russell Beale (Read by)

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Charlie Bone has discovered an unusual gift--he can hear people in photographs talking! His horrible aunts send him to Bloor’s Academy, a school for geniuses where he uses his gifts to discover the truth despite all the dangers that lie ahead.


Charlie Bone has discovered an unusual gift--he can hear people in photographs talking! His horrible aunts send him to Bloor’s Academy, a school for geniuses where he uses his gifts to discover the truth despite all the dangers that lie ahead.

Editorial Reviews

The Barnes & Noble Review
Ten-year-old Charlie Bone doesn’t realize he’s inherited the family’s magical powers until one day he finds that he’s able to hear the conversations of people in photographs. When his nasty Grandma Bone and underhanded paternal aunts discover Charlie’s gift, they eagerly pack him off to Bloor's Academy -- a school of magic where he makes friends (and enemies) and learns the strange history of the Red King, whose descendents still roam the earth. Charlie’s courage is put to the test as be begins to discover that the Red King, his own emerging powers, and a mysterious metal box are all linked in ways he could never have imagined.

This adventure is the first installment in Jenny Nimmo's Children of the Red King, a spirited new series of fantasy adventures in the vein of J. K. Rowling’s bestselling Harry Potter books. Matt Warner

Publishers Weekly
The first in the projected Children of the Red King series, this paper-over-board British fantasy reads like ersatz Harry Potter. Charlie Bone, a likable "ordinary" boy of about 10, lives with his loving widowed mom and her mother, a salt-of-the-earth type, and his foreboding but wealthy paternal relations, who are "endowed" (with psychic abilities) and who watch Charlie for signs of the Yewbeam family gift. When Charlie suddenly begins to "hear" subjects in photographs, the Yewbeams delightedly pack him off to Bloor's Academy for similarly gifted children. Before he enrolls, however, voices from photographs lead him into a mystery, pointing to a suspicious baby "adoption" and involving clues about his own father's past; while these are the most original elements here, they, too, are familiar. At the Hogwarts-like Bloor's, Charlie is thrust into an ongoing struggle of good vs. evil, accompanied by new friends (an albino orphan, a drama diva and a musician) and confronted with mesmerizing foes (chiefly, the scion of the power-mad Bloor family). Nimmo writes solidly, but her powers of invention (shown in, for example, her Griffin's Castle) cannot withstand the comparison she invites with J.K. Rowling. Next in the series, The Time Twister. Ages 12-up. (Mar.)
A young boy has both disagreeable and loving relatives, some with supernatural abilities. His father is dead. He is forced to go to a special school after discovering that he has magical powers. A mystery is afoot that only he can solve while being opposed by evil people. Magical assistance appears just when needed. Friends and teachers alike regard him as a hero. Sound familiar? When the "voices" in a photo are so loud that Charlie must cover his ears, dastardly Aunt Lucretia proudly proclaims that he is one of the "endowed." At Bloor's Academy, he meets others with unique skills. Sinister head boy Manfred Bloor hypnotizes anyone unwise enough to look into his eyes. Gabriel Silk "listens" to Charlie's father's tie and announces that his father is lost, not dead. Could Dad possibly be the distant music teacher, also a brilliant pianist like Mr. Bone? Could little girls fly in a story like this? Emilia Moon can but doesn't know it, having been kidnapped and kept in a trance-like state since age two by the Bloors. With help from friends, Charlie awakens her. And what of his father? Can someone say sequel? In ten-year-old Charlie Bone, Nimmo gives readers a character every bit as likeable and ingenious as Harry Potter. Best friend, nonendowed Benjamin, rivals Ron Weasley in the loyalty department. The magic falls short of Rowling's spectacles, and there are no astonishing foodstuffs or games. Still, this marvelous fantasy is able to stand on its own despite inevitable comparisons to the students of Hogwarts. VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P M J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9;Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2003 (orig. 2002), Orchard, 401p. PLB
— Pam Carlson
Children's Literature
Charlie Bone is a normal ten-year-old boy—much to the chagrin of his terrible old aunts. He lives with his mother, one strange uncle, and two very different grandmothers. Grandma Jones likes to be called Maisie, but Charlie would never dream of calling Grandma Bone by her first name. She is a member of the powerful Yewbeam family, most of whom are endowed; that is, they possess the amazing powers of the Red King, who passed his magic on to his descendents. One brisk fall day, Charlie accidentally hears the thoughts of people in a photograph and realizes that he, too, is one of the endowed. His horrible Yewbeam aunts quickly pack him off to Bloor's Academy. Bloor's, seemingly an elite school for prodigies and geniuses, is run by the endowed Bloor family, secretly in league with the Yewbeams. With clues from the "talking" photograph, help from his new friends at Bloor's, and with his strange Yewbeam uncle as an ally, Charlie sets off on an adventure to find a lost baby and solve the mystery of his father's disappearance eight years earlier. Most readers will recognize similarities between the story of Charlie Bone and that of Harry Potter: a young boy with newly discovered magical powers matriculates at an academy for other children like himself and soon finds himself wrapped up in mystery and adventure. Although Charlie's story is rather obviously a Harry Potter knockoff, it is still exciting in its own right, even if underdeveloped. The mystery surrounding the disappearance of Charlie's father and the apparent rift between his uncle and the rest of the Yewbeams is particularly compelling. It remains to be seen what relationship the endowed play in the non-endowed society. This is thefirst in the "Children of the Red King" series. 2002, Orchard Books/Scholastic Inc, Ages 9 to 12.
—Darcy Coover
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-Young readers are getting to be quite conversant with the characteristics of British boarding schools, especially those for the magically inclined. Jenny Nimmo's novel (Scholastic/Orchard, 2003) has postulated a set of characters the Endowed who exhibit very odd magical abilities that seem to have no purpose or usefulness at all and appear randomly in descendants of the nearly-mythical Red King. There are two branches of these descendants: the perplexed but essentially good people who have no idea why they can make light bulbs explode or hear voices coming from photographs, and the evil ones who seem to be part of a very complex and as yet unrevealed sinister scheme. This unusual take on magical abilities makes for a distinctly different set of circumstances and plot. Bloor's Academy which schools both Endowed and artistically gifted unendowed children has a much darker feel to it than Hogwart's but is still perfectly recognizable with its prefects, dining hall, dormitories, and so on. Charlie Bone, who discovers his Endowment at age 11 and has grown up in enigmatic family circumstances which he is only just beginning to figure out, makes many friends among the Endowed as well as the musicians, artists, and actors who people the school. This first tale from a projected series benefits from a reading by Simon Russell Beale which is rife with atmosphere and mystery. His voice, rich with nuance and emotion, brings to life each person and situation, and embellishes the story with a sense of drama and suspense fully appropriate to the tone of the writing. Charlie unravels one mystery of a missing Endowed girl in the course of setting the stage for dramatic future adventures. Not as complex at least not yet as the Harry Potter books, the promise exists for a continued completely fresh angle on the magic story. Many hints are provided of depths to be plumbed in future entries in the series, and a few plot lines in particular are already obvious. Listeners are going to be well rewarded in this audiobook, and they'll be anticipating future episodes.-Jane P. Fenn, Corning-Painted Post West High School, NY Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Readers may come away from this hefty series opener, about a seemingly ordinary British lad who is sent to a special boarding school after discovering that he has magical powers, with a distinct sense of déjà vu. It seems that England had a magical Red King seven centuries ago, who disappeared after his wife died and five of his ten children went bad. All ten children are still around in various guises, and, along with occasional descendants, can wield parts of the Red King's magic-so once ten-year-old Charlie reveals that he can hear the people in photographs talking, the nasty camp swoops down to bustle him off to Bloor's Academy. Within Bloor's gloomy stone walls he meets friends and enemies, some of whom are also "Endowed," as he struggles to learn the school's routines, helps rescue a kidnapped schoolmate whose mind has been clouded by the baddies, discovers that his father may not be dead as he's been led to believe, and is stalked by a werewolf. The climactic battle, however, occurs offstage, and though several characters turn out not to be who or what they seem, the revelations are thoroughly telegraphed. The author leaves a few threads dangling, but underestimates her audience if she thinks she's left any major surprises for future episodes. Charlie's adventure adds up to a formulaic, thinly disguised placeholder for the next Harry Potter; a far cry from Nimmo's eerie, atmospheric Griffin's Castle (1997). (Fiction. 10-12)
From the Publisher

Praise for the Children of the Red King series

"Vivid characters and stories that hang together well." --THE WASHINGTON POST

"Nimmo's characterizations . . . have a high comfort level, and her major players are well-defined and sympathetic. . . . an absorbing, well-wrought read." --BULLETIN OF THE CENTER FOR CHILDREN'S BOOKS

"A . . . worthwhile offering for avid fantasy fans." --SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL

"[An] exciting, fast-paced adventure tale." --BOOKLIST

"In ten-year-old Charlie Bone, Nimmo gives readers a character every bit as likeable and ingenious as Harry Potter. . . . [a] marvelous fantasy." --VOICE OF YOUTH ADVOCATES

Product Details

Listening Library, Inc.
Publication date:
Children of the Red King Series , #1
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Jenny Nimmo is the author of the NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY bestselling Charlie Bone series as well as GRIFFIN'S CASTLE, THE DRAGON'S CHILD, and the award-winning Magician Trilogy, all published by Orchard Books. Several of her books have been awarded and shortlisted for the Smarties Prize, the Carnegie Medal, the Whitbread Award, and the WH Smith Mind-Boggling Books Award. She lives with her husband in an old mill in Wales.

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Midnight for Charlie Bone 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 246 reviews.
Yaley_Mom More than 1 year ago
The book is a great for advanced young readers. If you let your child read books 1 - 3 of Harry Potter, your child will enjoy this mystical world of gifted kids and "endowed" children. The typical story of good vs. evil. We've read books 2 - 4 in this series and they have all been very enjoyable--strong vocabulary building mixed with a nice adventure. Great for kids with a good imagination.
AlyssWinterGurrl More than 1 year ago
Reading this series in the fifth grade and love it. But now in ninth grade it's kinda silly and cliche in someparts. The Aunts and Grandma Bone seemed very silly-mean and the plot is very obivous and written with not enough details. But otherwise I loved this book series it's characters are cool and fun. I would recommended it to fifth graders and middle schoolers but not high schoolers or it will loose it's magic with you. But great series and a well memberable one at thar.
JTS7 More than 1 year ago
Midnight for Charlie Bone kicks off a great series by Jenny Nimmo, about Charlie Bone and his evil relatives. One Midnight, Charlie finds that he can hear the voices in pictures, a talent that is eagerly pushed on by his evil grandmother Grizelda. Charlie is whisked off to Bloor's Academy, where he meets a few friends, and makes a few enemies. Charlie quickly learns that there are three types of students at the academy: Music, Art, and Drama. Anyone who is particularly skilled in one of these areas will usually be sent to Bloor's. Bloor's is also the place where children who show special magical skills (like Charlie) are sent. These children are known as the endowed or Children of the Red King. Jenny Nimmo makes a captivating start to a great series in this first installment of the Children of The Red King series.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The mysterious powers of the legendary Red King have been passed down through his descendants. No one has been born with all of the Red King's powers; however, one or two of the powers (A.K.A. 'gifts' and 'endowments') turn up unexpectedly in someone who has no idea where they came from. Some of the people who receive a gift use it for good, some for evil. When a child is found who shows signs of having a power, they are sent to attend the Bloor's Academy. .................. Charlie Bone was a normal ten-year-old boy. His father has been dead most of his life, or so he and his mother thought. Living with them are both his grandmothers and Uncle Paton. Grandma Bone is snobby and loves to remind everyone that before she married Mr. Bone, she had been a Yewbeam. The Yewbeams were an ancient family, their history littered with artistic people who had more unusual talents. Charlie's family tolerates her only because the Bone family is so poor and Grandma Bone purchased everything for them, including the house. But Grandma Bone stayed close because Charlie's father had been one of those with powerful magic. Even though Charlie never showed signs of having a gift, it did not mean that one would not show up later. This is exactly what happened. ................... One morning Charlie looked at a photograph and could hear the thoughts of the people in it! Charlie is horrified, but Grandma Bone and his terrible aunts are delighted. This meant Charlie had to attend the Bloor's Academy during the week and only spend the weekends and holidays at home! Once there, Charlie makes a few friends and learns that some of his classmates have equally mysterious powers. ................... With his new talent, Charlie learns of a baby that had been adopted by mean people. The biological aunt had been searching for the baby girl for years. When Charlie and his friends find out that the girl is someone at the academy, the search is on! But the girl has no idea of her past, so the small team must figure out which student it is, how to bring back her memory, and help her escape her cruel guardians who want to use her powers for evil. ............................. ***** Think of this book as a type of Harry Potter for the younger kids. The book is broken down into titled chapters, a chapter book. The students do not learn spells and magic. They learn the same thing normal school kids are taught, but also how to hone their special talent(s). As in real life, good verses evil. Charlie and his friends have to decide what the right thing to do is, and then how to go about doing it, without the bad guys finding out and stopping them. .......................... This seems to be the first of a series. The author, Jenny Nimmo, has written this book so that the story can stand alone, however, the reader is left with a few questions that may be addressed in future adventures with Charlie and his friends. I found this tale to be well written, with very good morals, and extremely entertaining. Highly recommended reading! *****
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
To all those people who wrote negative reviews: Just because you think this book is a copycat, doesn't mean it is bad. Jenny Nimmo is a very talented author and deserves more than being called a copycat. This is a very well written book. As the books go on, it becomes less an less like harry potter. Don't get me wtong, I'm a huge harry potter fan, but this fab book is not like it. Please read all the books before you insult the series, or worse, the author. A long time ago, I was in the library and I saw this book.it looked terrible! I decided never to read it. Then my friend forced me to read it, and next to harry potter, percy jackson, and the hunger games, its on of my favorite series. Shame on all of you who insulted this book and the author. Imagine how this would make her feel. As an author myself, I can tell you how proud authors are of their books. If I got criticism like this, I would be crushed! So shame on all you negative insulters.
Kittencat12 More than 1 year ago
This is one of the greatest books I have ever read! The series is great and after you read one of these books you won't want to stop. This book is great for summer reading if you want to encourage someone to read. The first page will immediately hook you and you won't want to stop until you reach the end. Ms. Nimmon please keep writing this series!!!!!!!!
Laughtillucry More than 1 year ago
I have enjoyed this book and anxiously wait for the following books to be released. This book is written for young adults but adults will enjoy it as well. I feel it is on par with Harry Potter but has a very different story line. It similarly focuses on friendship and overcoming a dark force.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A young boy Named Charlie bone lives with his widow mother and two grandmothers and he begins to hear voices from pictures. His evil grandmother sends him off to Bloor's academy where other Endowed people are found. This Book is great for grades 6th through 8th. I gave this book 5 stars because I found this book great and fascinating and it is great for your imagination. The plot was a little random at times but that is too little of a flaw for this book not to deserve 5 stars. Charlie Bone has to find out who the adopted child is, who is hypnotized, to save her and bring her to her loving aunt. He finds it is a person at Bloor's academy. Jenny Nimmo is the author to this series. She is married to a Welsh painter and lives in a converted mill in Wales. Charlie Bone has to fight his way through the Bloor's Academy to free the hypnotized girl and to reunite her with her aunt. The plot of the book is really good where it involves him trying to save a hypnotized girl. They try to figure it out and the twelve bells box awakens her. I find the characters to be very interesting like how Charlie Bone can hear pictures (kind of like how in Harry potter the images in magic newspapers move and such). His friend Benjamin Brown is very normal and has no special powers but he plays a roll in the book too. His dog Runner Bean is hilarious doing all the silly things he does but he also is oddly a really important character. The setting is great where an old city filled with witchery and trickery and is where the Red King Lived. I found the book achieves its purpose for entertainment because it is full of adventure and can keep you reading until the last sentence. This is similar to Harry potter because they both have witchery, wizards and magic, except that in the Charlie Bone series, it has people who are endowed who only are capable of one or more powers that no one else can do unless they are part of the bloodline. Some people though are related to a wizard and have wands but very few do. I found this book great and fascinating and really imaginative. The story of about how they try to save a young girl from an awful adopted family is really sad and full of adventure at the same time. The Plot is great, the characters are very amazing and important, and the setting of an old town is creepy but at the same time it is interesting. I recommend this book for anyone who loves fantasy,magic, and the thrill of adventure. Amazing book for 6th through 8th grade.
bri-bri More than 1 year ago
I think that all the charlie bone books are great!But if you don`t read the first,you won`t understand any of them!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read the entire series and now share it with my 8 year old. Awesome
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've only gotten to the 7th book but so far i LOVE the series!!!! It was so intriguing but i do agree that Jenny may have took a few ideas from J.K. Rowling but it was still a good series over all.
MelodyMusic More than 1 year ago
This thrilling,action-packed book is about a boy(Charlie) who lives with his mother(a widow),his grandma Jones(Masie),and his grandma Bones. He learns he has an unusual talent for hearing people in pictures which means he has to go to a boarding school named Bloors. While there he tries to uncover the truth about a girl named Emma Tolly who was hypmotized and doesn't know who she is. He learns that she goes to Bloors as well.Could he save her?
Megean More than 1 year ago
I bought this book for my brother. He's a very smart child, but since he's only eight, he can't read "teenage" material because the content is not appropriate for his age level. However, the Charlie Bone series is a great series for children like him because it's content is challenging but completely age appropiate. I would recommend it for good ol' fashioned enjoyable, adventure reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love the Charlie Bone series. Midnight for Charlie Bones has to be my second favorite. I thought the main idea in this story was just making new friends. Charlie Bone is just an ordinary boy, but then he devolpes some wacky talent hear people in the pictures. Charlie hears about a stolen child when his mom brings home the wrong picture for his friedns card. So Charlie goes to Bloors an evil school for those who talents shine. Music,m art and drama. There are some mysterous characters at Bloors. But farely soon Charlie makes great friends. They all help him try to find this mystery child from the picture. So they find a girl she is always quiet and out of things. So they try to bring this girl they think is the mystery child out of this trance. Do they have the correct kid well you just have to read to find out.
booksRawesome More than 1 year ago
I thought it was a great book, my teacher has this bookshelf with the entire series on the shelf so i walts over and pick up the book, the entire series was finished in a week and a half!
dannystoner2001 More than 1 year ago
The title of my book is Midnight for Charlie Bone which is written by a wonderful author, Jenny Nimmon's. The genre of my book is fiction. The main character is Charlie. He is a young boy that is 14 or 15 years old he just recently lost his dad and he has a very strange family. Grandma Bone is another character in this book; she is very old and is mean she also doesn't like dogs because every time Charlie's friend comes over and brings his dog Runner Bean she is very nasty to the dog. Charlie had started to get very bad head aches one day and then while he had a head ache he looked at a picture and the picture started talking to him. He had 3 aunts that has special powers and they were not very nice people they were just like Grandma Bone. They knew something was up when Charlie wouldn't look at pictures so they asked him if he could hear pictures talking to him. Come to find out Charlie is and one the Red Kings very own cousin. So he started going to a school where he was only around kids that has powers like him. He had noticed on his first day of being there that there was some people who looked very mean or evil but Charlie stayed away from them so he was ok there but he did get in some trouble. There was a game where all the kids went through a garden and there was this one boy who could turn in to a beast and it did things to the kids well luckily Charlie got out of the garden. In the end Charlie gets to go home at the end of the year but he still has to go back when school starts up. Read the next book to find out what happens to Charlie.
Novel_Teen_Book_Reviews More than 1 year ago
Review by Jill Williamson

Charlie bone had a special picture blown up for his best friend¿s birthday present. His mom picks it up from Kwik Foto, but when Charlie opens up the package, it¿s not his order. He stares at the photo of a man holding a baby, mesmerized. Then a conversation floods his mind. He can hear a woman and a man talking about the baby. Charlie convinces himself that he imagined it, but Grandma Bone has her own theory.

His grandma enrolls him at Bloor¿s Academy, a school for gifted children. She thinks that Charlie is endowed with special abilities. Charlie doesn¿t want to go to any special school. But since Grandma Bone supports him and his mother, he doesn¿t have a choice. Life at Bloor¿s is different, and soon Charlie discovers that there are other students in his class who have equally mysterious powers.

The people in the photo and a mysterious gift set Charlie hot on the trail to solve a mystery of a missing girl. Can Charlie find her at his school? And what other secrets might the Bloor¿s hiding? Could any of them have to do with Charlie¿s past?

This series has some parallels to Harry Potter. A British author. A magically gifted boy away at boarding school. Some kids are good, some are bad. Charlie has wicked relatives. But these students aren¿t studying magic. They are born with their endowments which are anything and everything including: shape shifting, mind reading, controlling the weather, speaking to animals, and flying. I found the book fun. It was a little predictable, but entertaining. The characters are amusing and real, sometimes choosing to do what¿s right, sometimes not. There is no strong element of faith, but the story is clean and the plot centers on righting a wrong. I recommend this for younger readers who love fantasy.
romance-nut More than 1 year ago
Oh My Gosh! I absoulutely love this book and once again I owe it all to my friend! I picked this book up just to read a few chapters to see if it was good and I immediantly was hooked by the third page and couldn't put it down untill I finished it. The story was uniqe,suspenseful,and breathtaking! The characters were amazing and I would definitely recommend this book to anyone!I can't wait to read the second book!
Maya_Mayflower More than 1 year ago
I recommend this series to anyone who's a fantasy, Harry Potter maniac! I personally say that the Charlie Bone series is every bit as enchanting as Harry Potter! Their story lines may seem alike- but the author, Jenny Nimmo, wrote Charlie Bone BEFORE the first Harry Potter book actually came out. The first book TOTALLY got me at its first page! I was dragged into the world of the endowed children, with their special powers (hypnotize, control the weather, fly...) and battle of good and evil. This book is one of the best fantasy magic stories ever written- way to go, Jenny Nimmo!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time i read it. I read it within a day without stopping to eat or sleep. I got in trouble for not doing my homework too. I suggest you read this amazing book.(on the weekend if you have work to do.):D
Amajorbibliophile More than 1 year ago
MAGNIFICENT BOOK! "Midnight for Charlie Bone," by Jenny Nimmo is very good and anyone who reads it, young or old, will be completely entertained!
Guest More than 1 year ago
For those of you who do not know what the word 'ripped' means, it means 'awesome'!!! 'Midnight for Charlie Bone' is a ripped book!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. I have always had a love for books like Harry Potter and things like that scince the 3rd grade. Now I'm in the 6th grade and This book has stolen my heart! Charlie Bone looked like aa very weird book. And when I needed a suggestion for a book late in my 5th grade year, my librarian had suggested to write a review about this book. granted I had no intention to really sink into it, but I had fallen in love with it and I had to have more of it!! So when I found out that it was a seris, I made it my goal to read all of it before 2008 was over. I am almost at my goal, but if you wanted to ask me for any book filled with adventure, excitment, and lots of mysteries, I would recommend this book to you faster than the speed of light!
Guest More than 1 year ago
it is great i am reading all of the books sometimes i just cant stop reading them i wouuld recemend this book to anyone that likes magic and wonderful books
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is fantastic. It is much like Harry Potter books in the sense that Charlie Bone can see things thru photographs, and that is interesting to me. I like this book and plan to read others to my daughter who is an X Files/mystery buff.