- Multiple plot problems and inconsistencies, very rushed coverage of climactic moments
A disappointing and uneven second book in the Charlie Bone/Children of the Red King series. I will suspend any comments about Henry and the Time Twister until I have read the rest of the books, and I hope that both of these elements prove critical to the overarching plot. On the positive side, we see Charlie's relationships develop, new characters are introduced, and we (and Charlie) gather new information about the Red King and, perhaps, a confrontation between his good and evil progeny.
Unfortunately, bad plot construction, bad editing, or both contribute multiple flaws to this volume. I am willing to suspend disbelief if the world depicted in a novel stays true to its own internal logic. This rule is violated in numerous instances, some small (if the endowed are never expelled, why do they put up with the cruel and capricious rules at Bloor's Academy?), some large (if the Time Twister is unidirectional, the argument about Mrs. Bloor is not compelling). Additional problems are introduced related to what appears to be faulty world-building. Are all of the endowed children morally compelled to attend Bloor's? Then why aren't (or weren't) the other endowed who have not attended Bloor's? If Charlie can "hear" portraits, why doesn't he hear the drawing of the Tollroc?
Worse still, both Charlie and Henry engage in extremely stupid decision-making that has no justification or basis given how Charlie has been described beforehand or how Henry was introduced. Their actions are implausible as well as distancing for the reader, and contribute strongly to the sense that Nimmo did not think this through as well as she might have. Inadequate forethought an characterization appear elsewhere, as Charlie seems to forget that Billy's allegiances are clear and Gabriel has "the famous gerbils" (never named in Book 1 but suddenly needed for the plot in Book 2), to give only two examples. Encounters with both Skarpo and the Red King are brief and underwhelming considering the power they should pack. I can't imagine that a reader would not have known where Charlie's father is by halfway into Midnight for Charlie Bone, and Book 2 does little to advance this aspect of the story.
The timing is off in a sequence involving a freezer; the villains are astonishingly ineffective; Uncle Patton's car would have to have headlights; I could go on naming inconsistencies. Since Midnight for Charlie Bone was much more coherent, I can only hope that Charlie Bone and the Invisible Boy is a more sufficient offering.
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MachoMonkey33, January 9, 2007 (view all comments by MachoMonkey33)
Charlie Bone and the Time Twister is a book of mystery and excitement. There's not even one page that talks about nothing having to do with the plot. It's always important, if you miss just ONE thing, you might be very confused later on in the book. Jenny Nimmo is obviously a very creative writer, and I think she should pursue her talent and make more books in the series unless she already ended it in the most recent book. (I haven't read that one yet..) I hope everybody loves this series as much as I do because it's a very creative different perspective that other writers don't have. Good job Jenny!!! ~MachoMonkey33
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by School Library Journal,
"[A] breezy read....Sadly, there are plot elements that seem to come totally out of the blue or that just don't make sense....[A] likable character to whom kids will turn...after they've finished the latest Harry Potter for the fifth time."
by John Peters, Booklist,
"Nimmo's world is...darker than Rowling's (so far, at least), with the line between good guys and bad not as well defined. Still, Potterphiles, and many Snicketteers too, will find the territory comfortably familiar."
January 1916: Henry Yewbeam and his younger brother, James, have been sent to stay with their cousins at the Bloor's Academy. It is one of the coldest days of the year, and all Henry wants to do is hide from his mean cousins and play marbles. He finds a nice, long hall and begins to roll his marbles. Then he discovers a marble that doesn't look familiar to him. Suddenly a series of strange events takes place. Henry begins to disappear. He quickly scribbles on the floor Give The Marble To James, and then he vanishes from the year 1916.
Time Twister is the second book in the Children of the Red King series by award-winning author Jenny Nimmo. While playing a game of marbles, Charlie finds a marble he doesn't recognize and suddenly begins vanishing from the year 1916.
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