Madysen's Reviews > Midnight for Charlie Bone

Midnight for Charlie Bone by Jenny Nimmo
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Jan 18, 09

Recommended to Madysen by: Myself, after hearing some good reviews.
Recommended for: Anyone who doesn't care about characterizaion.
read count: 1

“Almost as good as Harry Potter!” This was the line I was repeatedly hearing on the internet about the so-called amazing Charlie Bone. Being a Harry Potter fan (actually, I rather hate the writing style but love the story) I quickly drove to my poorly stocked library and picked up the first book of the series. Never in my life since the Inheritance Trilogy have I been so disappointed by a book that may have had potential.

I have only a few things to comment on, the first being Jenny Nimmo’s writing style. Yes, I understand that this is a fantasy written for children younger than I am (I’m sixteen, by the way). But honestly, this gives her no excuse to write in the way that she does. What is it, exactly, that I am referring to? Simple—and believe me when I say that “simple” is the right word to use in this situation. Nimmo never gives her characters a chance to express themselves, instead speaking in their place and telling the readers about their actions. Never does Charlie “clench his fists and stare ahead through narrowed eyes”. He is merely described as angry. There is no indication of what he does when he’s angry, how he reacts, or even what he is thinking (more often than not). It isn’t only Charlie, however; every character you come into contact with is practically a cardboard cut out with a narrator following him/her around to explain how they feel. Even young children like to experience the characters’ emotions along with them, and Nimmo seems to think that young equals stupid.

Along with this, the sentences she uses are awfully short and rather choppy as well. Yes, children are used to reading such things, but taking the content of the Charlie Bone books into account, the kids reading them are at least able to understand what sentence variety is. Meaning, of course, that they should be able to handle it. In my opinion, this book would have been much better had the author allowed her characters to speak for themselves, and if she’d varied her sentences to include compounds.

Now, I have two other things I would like to mention that—so far—I haven’t seen mentioned in other reviews. One would be the “hero” of the story, Charlie. Why is he the hero? If you take a closer look at the book, you will find that Charlie doesn’t actually do much of anything that would label him as such. Examples? Benjamin is the one keeping a look out for the Tolly Twelve Bells; Feldacio or whatever his name is, is the one who looked after it as well; Gabriel Silk is the one who helped unveil the fact that Charlie’s dad was alive; and Tancred and Lysander are the ones who rescued him from the ruins. Yet in the book’s end, Emma thanks Charlie above everyone else despite all of this. (Oh, there is more that his friends do, but I can’t quite remember what.) It seems to me that Nimmo was sort of desperate to create a hero for her story and give him credit whether he did anything or not. I don’t think its fair to praise a character that hasn’t done anything other than get lost in the ruins. And I still don’t see how this makes him special.

Lastly, I must complain about the school, Boor’s Academy, because there’s something I don’t get. What exactly is this school doing to further the endowed children’s usage of their abilities? I mean, the only thing they do that is set apart from the normal arts students is do their homework in a different room. That’s it. They never undergo any training, they never study about the Red King, they never do much of anything that actually concerns their endowments! So what’s the point of sending them to Bloor’s in the first place? They could have gone to any other school and been subjected to the same treatment. I’m sorry to say this, but it truly looks as if the author just wanted to create a “special boarding school” like Hogwarts for the sake of making her story more interesting. We never really learn too much about Bloor’s, anyway, so I believe there is really no point in having the school there at all (except as a means of meeting new people, of course).

Well, that’s all I really have to say for now. I’ve only gotten to the third book, but only because I skipped the second. I can’t stand the writing enough to make it through. Sad, though, because this story definitely had the potential to be great.
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Comments (showing 1-14 of 14) (14 new)

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message 1: by Adam (new)

Adam Mikrut You sound like a very brilliant 16 year old. I was curious about these books (aside from believing them to be Harry Potter rip offs), but now I don't think I'll bother. Thanks for the thorough review.


Rachel One thing that really bothered me about these books is that the lines are double spaced. It's like saying the author wants the book to be long so she could get some credit.


Madysen Rachel wrote: "One thing that really bothered me about these books is that the lines are double spaced. It's like saying the author wants the book to be long so she could get some credit. "

That's exactly what I was thinking. I mean, give them regular spaced lines and it'd probably be too short to even live up to a novella.




Colleen Great review. I couldn't even get through the book and after reading your thorough review, I'm glad I didn't finish it. I now know, that I didn't miss anything.


Casey *laughs*
I loved your review, so happy someone saw my views!


Quidditchfan Umm....it's Bloor's academy. And the writing style in HP is fantastic. And why did you read the third book if you didn't like the first? That's the point. They don't like the endowed, so they want to keep them all in the same place.


Quidditchfan Also this is an excellent book. Why'd you read it anyways?


Grace Johnson I didn't really like it ether and I'm 10. It was just plain BORING!


Danyiele Kibby totally agree with ur review but still love the book though


Joseph Salvatore Vitale I think you are just a bitch. I'm a literary snob but I wouldn't diss another writer like that. Jenny Nimo is doing quite well for herself. These books are not HP but they are genuine and if you read the later books. The characters are described just fine. Everything unfolds differently. Glad I read your review I am not never taking into account what someone comments on a book series unless they read it All.


message 11: by Kimo (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kimo Katashima I believe that your review on the story is a little harsh. Before reading your comment, I did not even fathom the idea of it being a Harry Potter ripoff. She gives her own ideas and presents them in a way that is pleasing to readers. Also, you scoffed Nimmo on why she does not say quote "clench his fists and stare ahead through narrowed eyes". The writing style is not 3rd person singular. It's 3rd person omniscient, get your facts straight!


Holly Cox I also think you are being a little harsh! I can understand where you are coming from, the writing is simple, but you have to bear in mind that you are 16 reading a children's book! I first read these books when I was about 8 and if the writing was anymore complicated than he was angry it would have been lost on me. I just thought I would add my opinion into the pot!


Adrianna Yglesias i agree with Holly. if Jenny Nimmo's books are too simple minded for you than go read a "better" book. Im 14 and like this "Children Book" is that a problem? sure the writing style isn't too good but I judge books by their plot not their writing style.


Riley It is the best book ever


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