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Midnight for Charlie Bone

(The Children of the Red King #1)

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  41,168 ratings  ·  1,945 reviews
A magical fantasy that is fast-paced and easy-to-read. Charlie Bone has a special gift- he can hear people in photographs talking!

The fabulous powers of the Red King were passed down through his descendants, after turning up quite unexpectedly, in someone who had no idea where they came from. This is what happened to Charlie Bone, and to some of the children he met behind
Hardcover, 401 pages
Published March 1st 2003 by Orchard Books (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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Average rating 3.81  · 
Rating details
 ·  41,168 ratings  ·  1,945 reviews

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Start your review of Midnight for Charlie Bone (The Children of the Red King, #1)
Jan 18, 2009 rated it did not like it
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
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
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
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
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.

Nov 17, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 13, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
Madeleine Montuna
Jun 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Karyn The Pirate
Oct 06, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: children 9 - 12; adults
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
Kimberly Reads Books
Oct 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Midnight for Charlie Bone was a great early middle grade novel with elements of magic and mystery. The plot has enough twists to keep a young reader hooked without being too overwhelming and the characters are endearing if a little under developed. I loved the fall/early winter setting along with the ancient school, which led for a good Halloween atmospheric read.
Karen Field
Mar 25, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Must admit that nostalgia is a major factor in this rating, but I really do think this is a great series. Comparing it to Harry Potter doesn’t make sense to me. I enjoy the magic of that world and I enjoy superhero stories, but I also find this story refreshing in the sense that the magic is subtle. The endowed children make up a small percentage of Bloor’s academy, the gifts they have are unique, and often it’s alluded to and not just part of action sequences, which sets up future books in this ...more
Feb 14, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019, audiobook
This was a good middle grade read about magic and friends. It reminded me a lot of Harry Potter, which was good and bad. I liked the premise and Charlie and his best friend Benjamin, but I thought it was a bit of a rip off, but whatever. Charlie lives with his mom and aunts, one of whom treats him terribly. Charlie suddenly finds out he has powers and is sent off to a school for the "endowed." See what I mean? But, the mysteries Charlie and his friends investigate were fun and I liked Charlie's ...more
Jan 04, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: middle-grade
The day has come, folks. I think I'm too old to legitimately enjoy middle grade books that aren't rereads.

I remember reading this series years and years ago. I'm talking "wow I honestly thought I imagined this series" years ago. Like that one siamese cat cartoon show that everyone suddenly remembered after someone posted a photo of it on tumblr. So when I saw the title whilst scrolling through categories on Libby to find a random book to read, I just had to quench my curiosity.

This book is abo
♡ jules ♡
For Lisa, since she won't shut up about it. ...more
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.
Feb 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I can’t believe I haven’t reviewed Charlie Bone yet! Growing up, I loved Charlie Bone ever so slightly more than Harry Potter. There are so many characters to fall in love with and it’s such a fantastic story. I hunted down all 8 volumes and while they’re all different editions, they no longer print them so it’s what I have to make do with.

If you have a kid slightly too young for Harry Potter (the later books are rather dark and violent), then this is always the first series I recommend.
May 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I read the first three books in this series years ago. There are quite a few more now so I’m rereading the books I have already read first.

The Red King. Yewbeams. Three evil sisters. Children with magical powers including hypnotism, hearing conversations in photographs, and flying. Three magical fiery cats. One yellow. One orange. One red.

A school. Part evil. Part good.

Onward to book two...
Jun 22, 2012 rated it did not like it
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.
Amy Wong
Another childhood reread. I got into this around the time I read Harry Potter but HP overshadowed it by alot. I'm pretty sure I've been going back to my childhood reads due to the new realizations around Rowling and my disappointment can't be put to words. So I'm probably searching for other childhood nuggets to fall onto while I go through my pain around HP.

This honestly, is not as exciting as I remember it but it could be the second book that picks up. Most of this is seems to be background a
Feb 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
I read this book at the encouragement of a young person in my house, and I’m glad I did! It was a fun and unputdownable read, and the ending had me reaching for book 2 in the series. This series is very appropriately marketed to middle grade readers, and I tried to keep that in mind as I read it—it has just the right level of intrigue for a 4th-6th grader, in my opinion.
Dinnu Reads Books
It was a bit jumpy and lacking of smoothness, the book could have been so much more. It had its charm, if only the author would have developed the story a bit more and written it a bit more complex! 🙂 Eventually I got used to the style and will probably read the whole series... 😉
Most liked characters: Paton, Olivia, Fidelio
Most disliked characters: Manfred, Yewbeam aunts, grandma Bone
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 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
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
Sam Whitehouse
Jun 05, 2013 rated it liked it
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
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 the 21st ...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
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
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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

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)

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