Charlie Bone and the Beast by Jenny Nimmo

The Children of the Red King (or Charlie Bone) series has the familiarity of school fiction, the intrigue of a magical fantasy, the constant pull of a mystery, evil villains that you love to hate, and the rich back story of the Red King. The King's Children even have magical powers. What's not to like?

As you may have suspected, trouble follows Charlie Bone wherever he goes. His Grandma Bone, and his great-aunts are always up to no good. The evil children of the Red King are always out to get him, and even some of his teachers are on their side. He has a bad habit of 'traveling' through pictures, and sometimes meeting strange people while he's there. But things have started to look up. His dad is back, and he has some great friends to back him up. Then he gets stuck with the new kid.

The latest installment Charlie Bone and the Beast begins to deal with the ability for people to change. People are very rarely all good, or all bad. They can change based on the influences around them. At the end of book five, Charlie Bone and the Shadow, Charlie and his friends get some help from a very unexpected source. This time around, it is their job to help him. Manfred's anger is even more potent than before, and he blames Charlie for all his misfortune. The new addition to Bloor's Academy is Dagbert Endless. He smells of fish and matter-of-factly tells his dorm mates that he drowns people. As one of the endowed, he quickly seems to side with Manfred. He begins to turn Charlie's friends against him. Even Cook is dismayed by his arrival, and the delicate balance of good and evil is threatened.

With Charlie's parents on a second honeymoon, who is he to turn to for help against the dark forces at work? Even his great-aunt Venetia has bewitched a man into marrying her so she can use his son's endowment. Many of the adults he has relied on in the past seem unable to give him the support he wants, and he begins to rely more on his intuition.

There is the mysterious kettle shop, and the other old magical shops on Piminy Street. The Red Knight is seen wearing the King's Cloak. The so-called Wilderness Wolf is being hunted, and creatures not-quite-human seem to be following Charlie. He knows it all points back to Ezekiel and the Bloors, but how? Events begin to converge, and Charlie must risk himself to maintain the balance.
"All at once Dagbert straightened up. He fixed Bragger with his aquamarine eyes and said, 'My name is as endless as the ocean and I drown people.' Bragger's feet slipped off the rain and he landed on his back on the floor. Nobody laughed," (Nimmo pg. 56, 2007).
*Library Link*

If you liked this, check out:
Midnight for Charlie Bone by Jenny Nimmo (Children of the Red King, Book 1)
The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

Nimmo, Jenny. (2007). Charlie Bone and the Beast. Orchard Books (Scholastic): New York, NY.

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