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

3.8  ·  Rating details ·  34,544 Ratings  ·  1,679 Reviews
Midnight for Charlie Bone Children of the Red King Book 1
Paperback, 401 pages
Published September 2002 by Scholastic, Inc. (first published January 2002)
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Sam Honestly, it depends how old you are. I really really loved them when I was younger (I read them when I was 13), but now at the age 20 I don't believe…moreHonestly, it depends how old you are. I really really loved them when I was younger (I read them when I was 13), but now at the age 20 I don't believe I would like them as much. (less)
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Rating details
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Jan 18, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who doesn't care about characterizaion.
Recommended to Madysen by: Myself, after hearing some good reviews.
“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 writi
Aug 24, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: juvenile
The trouble with Charlie Bone is he's much more like Charlie Bucket than Harry Potter and let's be honest--Jenny Nimmo is enthusiastically trying to channel some of Rowling's magic, so this is a bit of a problem. As I've said before, the heroes of these series tend to fall into two camps: the Horatio Alger throwback (orphan/survivor with grit who eventually is rewarded for his selfless acts) and the preternaturally mature and intelligent youngster who makes the adults around him look like bumbli ...more
Jun 27, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: kids who aren't ready for Harry Potter
Shelves: kid
My eight year old son is currently reading this and absolutely loving it, reading it every chance he gets and proclaiming how good it is after every session of reading. My husband and I have been reading Harry Potter to him at night, and he is very enthusiastically following that story. Charlie Bone books are very VERY similar to Harry Potter, but for a younger audience, and Midnight for Charlie Bone is the perfect book for him to read on his own and still get his "troubled boy discovers his mag ...more
Nov 17, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a really fun book. It does have some similarities to Harry Potter with the magical aspects and it being set in, I believe, England. However, there are more non-magical people in these books and the school is run by bad people, so it's not necessarily a good place to be. My 9-year-old daughter started reading this at school, so I thought I'd read them too to see what they're about. I read this first book in about 3 days, very fast read. It's an enjoyable story, though I figured a few thin ...more
Jay Kennedy
Sep 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Now first let me get this out of the way. A lot of people think Charlie Bone is a downright rip-off of Harry Potter. I'm here to tell you that No, it is not. In fact it is very different. YES it does have a character who finds out he has a magical ability, and YES he gets sent to a school/academy where other children have these magical powers (although the majority of the children at the school don't have powers, and the powers don't involve wands and brooms). That's about all that is similar t ...more
Lucy Banks
Jan 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Here's a review from my seven year old son - as he's the one who read it!

"I liked Midnight For Charlie Bone because it was exciting and there were loads of secrets. At the end, it's nice when you find out what the secrets are. I liked the characters because they are very different. Olivia Vertigo was my favourite because she was weird! I didn't like that it didn't tell you what was in the ruin, because I wanted to know.

Sep 13, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: younger fantasy fans
Well, I don't have the latest one, but I just finished books 1-5. Lots of similarities with Harry Potter, but this series is targeted toward readers who are a bit younger. Charlie Bone is a young boy who discovers that he can hear pictures talking. Once his aunts discover his talent, they send him to Bloor's Academy, a creepy private school where he will study with kids who are rich and/or gifted in music, art, or drama and/or endowed with magical talents. Each book tends to focus on someone who ...more
Karyn The Pirate
Oct 06, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: children 9 - 12; adults
Shelves: fantasy, juvenile-fic
Charlie Bone has grown up knowing that his family is a little, okay a lot, different than most. Little does he know that his family are descendents of the Red King and that he has passed down his powers to them. Now Charlie Bone has discovered an unusual gift-he can hear people in photographs talking! His scheming aunts decide to send him to Bloor Academy, a school for genius's where he uses his gifts to discover the truth despite all the dangers that lie ahead.
I really liked this book. I think
Raevyn Oswald
Aug 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't like that the word mom was used instead of mum in a book that's otherwise very British. But overall, I liked this novel. There are inevitable comparisons to Harry Potter. My view on this is that, yes, this book was rather derivative, and HP is the better series. However, it was original enough not to be a *complete* rip-off.

Recommended to ages eleven and up due to some suspense/scariness, mildly sad themes, and (depending on your personal view of this) magic.
Discussion questions:
1. If y
Karen Field
First off, I have to admit that I bought these books because I thought (maybe I saw this on the internet somewhere, I’m not sure) that the story was similar to the Harry Potter books.

Yes, there is an 11 year old boy who has a magical “ability”. Yes, there is a special school for children with these abilities. Apart from that, the story is quite different. I had to push the Harry Potter thought out of my head and start thinking Charlie Bone, because wherever I got that idea…I was wrong…and it was
Sam Whitehouse
The comparisons to Harry Potter are inevitable, and sometimes Nimmo steps dangerously close to plagiarism. A young boy discovers he has powers and ends up in a old school that teaches him to develop these powers. Sound familiar yet? If not there is an evil teacher, a nefarious plot and a dark forest. Harry Potter may be all over this book, but it has to be said that Charlie Bone does have some originality. His powers aren't necessarily magic - he can listen to what the subjects in photographs ar ...more
Ann the Cynic
If I was rating this book as though adults were the audience, it'd likely warrant 3 stars. But this book isn't written for adults.

I would recommend this book to 10 -13 year olds. Keeping in mind that age range, it isn't a bad read.

There are flaws. Characters are either good guys or bad guys. Overall, the book is VERY derivative of Harry Potter in a manner that is almost laughable.

But ignoring that and keeping in mind the intended age-group, it is a fun and exciting adventure.
Jun 22, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I got less than half-way through this book and had to put it down.

How this came to be a successful series I don't know. The writing is god awful, the story as unoriginal as you can get, and the characters are all unbelievably dense.
Madeleine Montuna
Once again I return to you with another comparison to Harry Potter. I recently read the book Midnight for Charlie Bone by Jenny Nimmo.Before I read this book most people told me it was just like Harry Potter , but I hate to disappoint once again this is nothing like Harry Potter. There might be some similar things, but lets clear the table this is a different story and just as good. Midnight For Charlie Bone is a very compelling story that keeps you longing for more. The book starts out with a ...more
So, some might argue with the shelves I chose for this book, particularly the POC-main-character shelf. Here's the thing: Charlie is, in the context of this story, a descendent of the Red King. The Red King came from Africa. Yes, the Red King could have come from a section of Africa that was colonized by a European nation. But he could also have come from a number of other areas in Africa. Nimmo also chooses to focus on Charlie's hair a number of times- she often mentions that it has a course te ...more
Jill Williamson
Feb 05, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 gift
This series has its good points and its bad points, and I'm going to address them as a whole for this review, so get ready.

First of all, I would like to say that my overall impression of this is that Midnight for Charlie Bone and the accompanying books in the series are actually a Harry Potter series written for a younger audience. So if any young adult or adult readers have younger siblings or children who want to read Harry Potter and are too young, have no fear! This is the perfect series to
Taylor Destito

Midnight for Charlie Bone by Jenny Nimmo is the first book of the Charlie Bone series. I would recommend this series to anyone who is a fan of modern fantasy and is looking for a good series to keep them occupied. The first book is about Charlie Bone, who discovers he is a descendant of the Red King, who holds magical powers and passed them on to his kids, who then kept passing them on. Unfortunately, half of his descendants are evil and the other half are good. Charlie’s grandmother and her sis

Kathie H
Mar 18, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Young people age 8+
This book was exponentially better than any of the J. K. Rowling Harry Potter books. It's obvious that Jenny Nimmo based her plot outline on the first Harry Potter book, but who cares? J. K. Rowling summarily lifted the plot & most of the goings-on in "Sorcerer's Stone" from the book "Mary Poppins" by P. L. Travers, & Rowling has never even received a slap on the wrist in any court of law for her outright plagarism. I think there are probably many new things under the sun, but no one in ...more
This book/series is just as great as I remember thinking it was when I first picked it up in middle school. I love the characters and the plot and everything about it, however, there a lot of parallels to Harry Potter. I mean, a main character with dark, messy hair that people complain about. A family full of ginger-haired, freckled-faced people. A dog with four names, two of which are Percival Pettigrew, I mean I could go on, lol. Maybe it was drawing inspiration but I know this might annoy a f ...more
Tommy Hancock
Jun 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another one kind of hard to rate.

I didn't love the book in the beginning. Wait, that's a lie, I did. I loved the prologue. From there on, I didn't love the book in the beginning. Once we started to meet the people in the academy, though, it really got going and I went all in.

There was something about the writing that felt, for lack of a better word, clunky all the way through. Certain things were too obvious and seemed too simple. Those gripes didn't bog me down too much though, because I really
I got to page 167 and I couldn't finish it. The characters in this story are so mean that it's not even an enjoyable story. Part of the lure of reading a book is enjoying the world that the characters live in - being in a world different from your own. I don't want to be in Charlie Bone's world! His world sucks. There is nothing in this story that makes me want to finish it.

I was really looking forward to this book so I'm pretty disappointed with the outcome.
This was a beloved book series from my childhood that I recently decided to pick up and re-read. And oh my goodness, I wasn't expecting this, but IT'S STILL SO GOOD.

This was honestly so much fun to dive into again, after all these years, and fall in love with the story all over again. Considering everything and considering all the books I've read since reading this, I can say that this is actually a really, really good book series. The writing is lovely and incredibly descriptive and gave off v
Char Hockey
Sep 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I just can't stop with nostalgic childhood throwbacks
Zak K.
Nov 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. It has a lot of potential to become a famous novel series but no one ever notices the novel.
Mel Hawk
Mar 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love rereading old childhood memories.
James Maxon
Mar 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
On the long list of British children’s authors is Jenny Nimmo. In 1986, she began The Magician Trilogy, which was completed in 1989. From there she wrote several miscellaneous works before starting The Children of the Red King. This series went on for eight books, beginning in 2002 and ending in 2009, with an extension written in 2011 called The Secret Kingdom.

Story overview:
10-year-old Charlie lives in a house with his mother, two grandmothers, and uncle. His father supposedly died in a car acc
Elliot S.
Oct 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: quarter-1
"And up from the case rose a knight, with the most dazzling sword I had ever seen..." Midnight for Charlie Bone, by Jenny Nimmo, is one of my favorite books of all time. It is about a boy named Charlie Bone, he has an average life, average friends, and goes to an average school; until he starts hearing voices. His aunts have been testing him all of his life, to see if he is one of the "endowed." The endowed are people with special powers, who descended from the "Red King," a ruler who was skille ...more
I initially picked up this book after it was suggested to me by one of our local children's librarians. He said it was like Harry Potter, in that Charlie Bone discovers he has powers and is sent to a special school. I loved Harry Potter, so I figured it was worth a try. The book is kind of slow in the beginning, but picks up eventually and you start getting into the story. Charlie Bone lives with his mother and maternal grandmother Maisie, as well as his paternal grandmother Grandma Bone and his ...more
I have been encouraging my 10 year old to read this book since someone told me it was like Harry Potter, and she loves Harry Potter. She was dragging her feet, so I decided to read it first.

It's similar to Harry Potter in that there is a boy and he has a magical ability and end up at a boarding school. That's really about it, though. The magic is different and so is the school. The book is also written at a lower reading level than Harry Potter. I think a kid who has read all of HP might find th
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Jenny Nimmo was born in Windsor, Berkshire, England and educated at boarding schools in Kent and Surrey from the age of six until the age of sixteen, when she ran away from school to become a drama student/assistant stage manager with Theater South East. She graduated and acted in repertory theater in various towns and cities: Eastbourne, Tunbridge Wells, Brighton, Hastings, and Bexhill.

She left
More about Jenny Nimmo...

Other Books in the Series

The Children of the Red King (8 books)
  • Charlie Bone and the Time Twister (The Children of the Red King, #2)
  • Charlie Bone and the Invisible Boy (The Children of the Red King, #3)
  • Charlie Bone and the Castle of Mirrors (The Children of the Red King, #4)
  • Charlie Bone and the Hidden King (The Children of the Red King, #5)
  • Charlie Bone and the Beast (The Children of the Red King, #6)
  • Charlie Bone and the Shadow (The Children of the Red King, #7)
  • Charlie Bone and the Red Knight (Children of the Red King, #8)
“He found himself in a room not unlike the shop. All books again, packed tight on shelves or laying in piles on every surface. It was a cozy room, for all that ; it smelled of warm, rich words and very deep thoughts.” 10 likes
“ALSO BY JENNY NIMMO BOOKS IN THE CHILDREN OF THE RED KING SERIES Midnight for Charlie Bone Charlie Bone and the Time Twister Charlie Bone and the Invisible Boy Charlie Bone and the Castle of Mirrors Charlie Bone and the Hidden King Charlie Bone and the Beast Charlie Bone and the Shadow Charlie Bone and the Red Knight” 0 likes
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