What’s it all about?:
A exciting story of magic, adventure and a mysterious inheritance. Perfect for fans of ENID BLYTON, ROALD DAHL, and J K ROWLING.
Alfie Bloom’s life is dull. Dull and lonely. All of that changes when he is summoned to the bizarre offices of mysterious solicitor, Caspian Bone, where he inherits a castle full of wonders that has been sealed for centuries. Alfie is astounded to learn he was born in that very castle six hundred years ago during a magical timeslip. There, Orin Hopcraft, the last of the druids hid an ancient magic inside him, which others seek but should never be used. With the help of his cousins Madeleine and Robin, a shape-shifting solicitor and a flying bearskin rug Alfie must keep the magic from terrifying adversaries and ensure that the secrets of Hexbridge Castle stay secret, forever!
What did I think?:
Another day, another fantastic piece of middle grade fiction in the form of Alfie Bloom, an ordinary boy whose life changes dramatically when he is left a beautiful but very strange old castle in an inheritance that pronounces him as the new caretaker of some magical powers he could only have imagined in his wildest dreams. I missed this book when it was first released last year but when I was asked if I would like to be involved in the blog tour for the second book in the series, I jumped at the chance – although I knew without a doubt that I simply had to read this one first.
When we first meet Alfie, he is as I mentioned, just a normal boy who lives with his father in a rather modest little flat. His father is a struggling inventor and quite scatter-brained with bits and pieces of things that he’s working on (that mostly don’t work very well unfortunately!) dotted around the flat and because he gets quite wrapped up in his work, he sometimes forgets to spend much quality time with his son. Alfie himself is fairly happy for the most part, he enjoys spending time with his best friend Amy and is quite used to his father’s occasionally eccentric behaviour but is having a bit of trouble with bullies at his school, something his father is quite unaware of.
Then one day everything changes. Alfie receives a strange letter through the post from a solicitor, calling himself Caspian Bone informing him that he has been left an inheritance and that a coach will arrive to pick him and his father up one minute before midnight to go to the solicitor’s office and discuss the matter further. Things get even more mysterious when the coach appears to fly like the speed of light, Caspian Bone turns out to be half man, half raven and Alfie discovers that he is now the owner/protector of a castle and the guardian of magical (and somewhat dangerous) powers.
Alfie meanwhile is absolutely delighted at the turn his life has taken and he and his father move into the castle almost immediately. On exploring the property and the many secret passages with his twin cousins, Madeleine and Robin who live nearby, Alfie’s excitement and happiness increase ten-fold at what he finds within. They are even provided with a very special butler who takes charge of all the cooking and maintenance of the castle which is a huge relief to Alfie’s father – there is so much more room and time for all his inventions!
Of course, this book wouldn’t be much of an adventure story without a real adventure to be had and this all begins when Alfie starts at his cousins’ school, presided over by two headmistresses, Murkle and Snitch. The two sisters dislike children intensely and devise a number of terrible punishments for any child they believe to be stepping out of line (which can be for the smallest, silliest thing believe me!). They also appear to be very interested in Alfie’s castle for reasons which at first, Alfie cannot understand. The story is about to get a lot more dangerous, even more exciting and unbelievably tense as Alfie takes up his mantle as guardian of the castle and whatever lies within its walls and discovers a lot of interesting and at times, frightening things about himself as a result.
I’m a bit of a sucker for a magical adventure story and it’s certainly true that fans of Roald Dahl and J.K. Rowling will really enjoy this thrilling middle grade read. The strong characters and solid plot grabs your attention instantly and leaves you eager for more at the end and I believe the fantasy elements will appeal to both the young and the young at heart. I can definitely see it being read in classrooms and also read by children on their own and if they are anything like me when I was younger they’ll be turning the torch on to read under their covers after the light goes out, desperate to reach the end!
Come back and visit me tomorrow where I’m honoured to be joining the blog tour for the second book in the series, Alfie Bloom And The Talisman Thief.
Would I recommend it?:
But of course!
Star rating (out of 5):