No, I haven’t; I’ll check them out. Thanks! Though I should mention that wrt kids’ books rn, where effectiveness often hinges on an A+ plot with relatively simple execution, I am suddenly ignoring the clever plot elements in favor of wanting more and more complexity where there really can’t be. In short, I’m suffering a whole lot of this. So I might sit on these for a little bit until I’ve snapped myself out of it.
It’s horrible. A few things I read before and know I loved seem to pass muster; everything else my brain rails against. I go through this with fic more often than with books, and with books more often than with games or film, but either way I have these… Atrocious phases. Like this weird cycle of taste. Very finicky, entirely stupid.
Also I’m re-reading Potter in spurts because it’s all my nephew wants to talk about. While this sounds like it’ll be better with less Potter interference.
 I forgot SO MANY DETAILS, omg, and for months I was complimented on being an expert in Potter minutiae. Why? How did fandom let me get away with this? Why did no one sue me in fandom court??? I was a hokum witch doctor peddling fake storylines! I was the wizard of Oz for HP fandom. I am shamed. Boot me back to Kansas.
you just messaged the wrong person about this buddy
- First of all, CB was written for a lower age level. It written simpler, and also has simpler characters. Last time I checked, that doesn’t mean “bland.” I personally enjoyed the characters, and while they were a bit emotional-less looking back at them now, they were very individual and interesting. But that’s the thing: looking back at them now. Now that I am older, I require a much more complex character to keep me interested. These were books written for students just learning how to read. Charlie Bone and Tancred Torsson were my first favourite fictional characters. Ever. Gabriel Silk? I could write novels about him. And don’t get me started on Emma Tolly and Olivia Vertigo. These girls went through it all and back, especially the former. Bland? I don’t think so. Maybe simpler with quirks and emotions that are easier to understand for a lower age group.
- I connected with the characters, especially Charlie. All of the characters are incredibly important to me, and I honestly wish I could write a continuation of the series.
- The settings: Pets Cafe, Bloors’ Academy, the Castle of Mirrors, the small town where the series took place. Jenny Nimmo created vivid images that I can close my eyes and see. The settings she created are easy for my to fit into, and I find them incredibly comfortable and soothing. These appeared in the books, over and over again, to the point where I can go out and create my own versions of them to suit today’s more modern age.
- The whole idea of the boarding school is very similar to Harry Potter yes, and are the endowments. But. They’re. Not. The. Same. That’s why I like them so much. I have a type, when it comes to fantasy: magic and a tightly knit community. If that means a boarding school, then bring it. I don’t like adventures, where they travel across the country or the world. I like my fantasy, paranormal, etc. to strictly concern a small area. I am very drawn to the idea of a small town in fantasy (also see: The Raven Boys. Takes place in a small town that’s generally cut off from the rest of the world.) Yes, I like the idea of a wizarding academy, but Bloors’ Academy is so much more appealing to me, because of the endowments and the wonderful community that the author created. I’m just so in love with it, especially the King’s Room. All of it is just so me.
- Also: the idea of endowments is amazing. I love the Red King and the Welsh mythology the author touched on, and the individuality the endowments give the characters is still something I think about. It’s really amazing the diversity the author created with the endowments, and how everyone is able to play their own part. Yes, Harry Potter was cool because of the wands and the spells and the magic, but CB is unique. Charlie can picture travel. Emma can fly. Tancred is a storm-bringer, and Lysander can call upon his ancestors. That’s really fucking amazing, in my opinion. The way everyone comes together, and fights against the Shadow in the name of the Red King is something I can only hope to recreate. Also: as the Children of the Red King, I really like the idea of the descendants and the back stories of each of the character’s ancestors. I love it, I really love it.
- I read CB before I read Harry Potter. I read CB when the series wasn’t finished and everyone in the school knew how much I loved it. When I checked out the last one (at the time, it was the last one published), I told the librarian that I hope Jenny Nimmo would publish more. The librarian told me that she didn’t think it would happen, but a few years later, I found out that there were several more CB books that had been published. I was so ridiculously happy, and I’ll honestly never forget it because that’s how much I loved those books. They were my first fantasy series other than the small chapter books, and they were definitely my first favourite everything: character, setting, series, you name it. I read Harry Potter the summer after I started CB, and yes, Harry Potter is so ridiculously important to me. The characters are amazingly complex and the plot is breathtaking. The settings JKR creates stay with the reader long after you finish. But CB is so different in my mind, that I really can’t compare them. I am invested in both of them to the point where I could never confuse them.
- More about settings and other elements: the forests, the Torsson estate, the Silk’s residence, the Fidelio house, the Bone’s house, the Tolly’s bookshop, the Flames, the blue boa, Naren Bloor (who is one of my forever girls), the King’s Room (because it needs mentioning a second time), the painting, the King’s tree, the Mare (the Queen), Claerwen, all of it, I love it so much.
- Here’s a separate bullet point for the characters, because I love them so much. I am heavily invested in Marlene McKinnon, Benjy Fenwick, and Peter Pettigrew - looking through my blog will tell you that much. But Tancred Torsson? Emma Tolly? Charlie Bone? Gabriel Silk? Olivia Vertigo? Lysander Sage? Their backgrounds and ancestry and family dynamics are my style, through and through. I like pretty prose that’s completely angst ridden, but the magic of CB trumps everything else.
- Something else I almost forgot: HP only explores Harry’s point of view; CB explores several characters. Currently, I am writing a novel narrated by three individuals, so if that doesn’t communicate my personal preference, I don’t know what does.
In short: Why do I like it so much? It’s all mine. It fits me to a tee, and it’s gotten me through quite a bit. Is it similar to Harry Potter? Only if you just look at the surface. Bland characters? Maybe. But remember the audience. And then reread it, and look at their quirks and their talents and their fears and it’s really something special.
Do I like CB more than I like HP? Yes. Am I willing to fight to the death over CB vs. HP? No. But keep in mind that I make homes out of books, and CB feels like I was born there.
(Also, I’m slightly in love with Tancred Torsson. Actually my first fictional crush, and I’m in no way ashamed.)
I need more Narnia, Famous Five, Redwall, Charlie Bone & PotC on my dash.
Headcanon: Asa loves to dress up an goof off as much of the other drama kids but doesnt feel like he should because Manfred’s always with him and he says they always have to act ~super serious~ to get any respect (although anyone who knew Asa before he became friends with Manfred and turned ~super serious~ will tell you he was the best person you could go to for a good laugh)
No but seriously did anyone read the Children of the Red King series? Otherwise known as the Charlie Bone series? It was so fantastic and I love it and I need to talk about more in my life again aaah.
my favorite part of reorganizing my bookshelves is finding books I haven’t read in years then proceeding to spend the rest of the afternoon reading them, learning that there are more books I don’t have, going to a bookstore and then buying the rest
yeah but you know which characters I really love
Tancred and Lysander
So, Charlie Bone wakes up, one morning, to find the city covered in strange snow (Tancred!) and all the animals have vanished.
Does the shadow in the Red Kings portrait have something to do with it?
When I read this book, when I was younger, this was my favourite book in the whole series,…