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Charlie Bone and the Castle of Mirrors by…
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Charlie Bone and the Castle of Mirrors

by Jenny Nimmo

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Is this series going anywhere? My son highly recommends it, but so far it's doing nothing for me.... ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
In some ways this installment is an improvement over the previous three. Nimmo actually seems to have anticipated aspects of the plot earlier in the series, and to be looking ahead to future volumes. However, it is still disappointing. Characters who are no longer needed for their one plot point simply disappear, objects of great attention in one book never reappear, and it is still the case that any new information about a character is quickly shown to be a vital plot point. Charlie Bone and the Invisible Boy ended with an incipient visit to Sparkling Castle. However, the castle, Ollie, and Mr. Boldova are not even discussed in the present volume. Christopher Crowquill comes out of nowhere and, his utility outlived, he disappears from the action. Inconsistencies and discontinuities abound. For example, the endowed can usually identify each other, but Cook has never been identified by the Bloors. A character whose endowment flowers in this volume is similarly not identified by the other endowed. We learn late in the book that a shapeshifter has the people he is impersonating held captive. There is some implication that this is not just to keep them out of the way, but to "borrow...the mind" of the person. Should we then suppose that Yolanda had a little blonde girl locked away somewhere earlier in the series? Charlie now speaks enough Welsh to command the wand, though we haven't seen him study the list Uncle Patton gave him. An evidently stupid endowed child puts on a cape, even knowing that various poisoned-clothes makers are about. There is much to-do about the child's rescue and how important it was to circumvent the staff of Bloor's; later, however, said child is recouperating in the Academy's infirmary, presumably vulnerable to the Bloors' influence, but no one cares about this. Why do the prisoner's captors sequester him at the castle? It seems pretty labor- and capital-intensive to do so. Charlie and some of the other endowed children remain at Bloor's Academy to keep the balance. Other endowed seem not to have this compulsion, either as children or adults. The endowed seem for the most part to be remarkably disorganized. The characters' lack of curiosity troubles me. The adults remain generally inadequate. Troublingly from a humanitarian perspective, Uncle Paton has received an inheritance, which he spends on gourmet food. Given that Amy Bone is under Grizelda's thumb because she lacks the economic resources to have her own house, Paton's behavior seems remarkably insensitive. In addition, there's something that rings a little racist to me in Lysander's repeated reference to his ancestors as "my African ancestors." If I were an endowed person from my own ethnic background, would it be necessary for me to refer again and again to invoking the spirits of "my Jewish ancestors"? "Don't worry, Charlie--I'll call upon the powers of my Jewish ancestors"? "Don't worry, Lysander--I'll call upon the powers of my WASP ancestors" Poor editing dogs this series. This volume again reprints the introductory page about the Red King and his Time Twister, which has no bearing on the events in this book. The family named de Grey was referred to in the publisher's promotional materials as "O'Gre." While O'Gre makes more sense than de Grey, it was apparently changed after promo materials went to booksellers and others, lending confusion to the enterprise. Finally, and I hope that this is not too much of a spoiler, the Castle of Mirrors has relatively little to do with the book, and is an inaccurate title for that reason. ( )
  OshoOsho | Mar 30, 2013 |
This is the fourth book about Charlie and his friends. In this story Mr. Bloor brought back the old queen, who helps Charlie and his friends to rescue someone from the Castle of Mirrors in the middle of the sea.
  msampsel | Feb 27, 2011 |
Nimmo, Jenny, Charlie Bone and the Castle of Mirrors, Chldren of the Red King Book 4 The balance is split, the endowed children shift sides, and a magical horse is resurrected. ( )
  caro488 | Jun 9, 2010 |
Charlie Bone is worried about his friend, Billy Raven. Billy, an albino and an orphan, has longed for a family of his own and it seems like his wish has come true when Mr. and Mrs. de Grey agree to adopt him. Charlie is happy for Billy, but the de Grey's are friends of the Bloor family and Charlie doesn't trust them. Charlie is right to be worried - the de Grey's have powers that literally won't let Billy leave the house unless he is going to school. Charlie, his Uncle Paton, and his friends all try to find a way to get Billy out of the de Grey's house and to a place where he'll be safe. Charlie also wonders what is going on at his school Bloor's Academy. Piano teacher Mr. Pilgrim is gone and his replacement, Tantalus Ebony, is a bit odd. Charlie also wonders what's up with a new student, Joshua Tilpin, who seems to be magnetic. Charlie also wonders why his friend Olivia is acting so strange. On top of it all, Charlie keeps searching for his missing father.

"Charlie Bone and the Castle of Mirrors" certainly has its good points. For one thing, some of the children grow as characters, especially Billy and Olivia. Author Jenny Nimmo also shows some increasing aspects of Charlie's ability to read the thoughts of people in photographs and pictures. There's a nice sense of humor throughout the book, with some punny word play and an especially funny scene at the Pet's Café. The fantasy elements are nicely done, especially the introduction of Alice Angel, and a wonderfully imaginative scene involving written oaths coming alive and attacking Charlie and his friends. The "flames" as always, add much to the fantasy elements.

However, the book has its flaws. While some characters are well developed, other characters aren't developed at all. Once again Nimmo awkwardly gets rid of characters without any real explanation as to why they are gone. New characters that are added are underdeveloped, especially Joshua Tilpin and Tantalus Ebony. With the exception of Uncle Paton, most of the "good" adults are once again useless, especially Charlie's mother, Amy. Charlie's life at school is not particularly well-written - it's not clear what classes he takes and what classes many of the teachers actually teach. One plotline - losing balance - was very interesting, but felt thrown in at the last moment and could have been much more developed. The ongoing plot line of Charlie looking for his father could have been plotted and written better since it's obvious who his father really is.

The Children of the Red King series is a quick, at times enjoyable read, but continues to be somewhat frustrating. ( )
  drebbles | Apr 15, 2010 |
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Prologue: The Red King and his queen were riding by the sea.
A fatal sneeze: At the edge of the city, Bloor's Academy stood dark and silent under the stars.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Published in the US as "Charlie Bone and the Castle of Mirrors". Published in the UK as "The Castle of Mirrors".
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0439545285, Hardcover)

Over 3.4 million Charlie Bone books in print!!!

Charlie's power is taking on a new dimension as he meets a new cast of characters, including Mr. Pilgrim's replacement, Tantalus Ebony, and the mysterious new student Joshua Tilpin, who appears to be magnetic. But Charlie isn't the only one dealing with changes . . . Billy has been adopted by a child-hating couple called the O'Gres, who carry a gray bag of oaths wherever they go, pressuring Billy to sign an oath of obedience, and locking him behind a force field in an odd place called The Passing House. Will Charlie be able to rescue Billy and uncover the mystery behind Joshua's power?

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:32 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Charlie and his magically gifted friends and relatives work together to rescue Billy Raven, a young orphan, from a mysterious and dangerous couple who have adopted him.

» see all 3 descriptions

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