Magic for the 21st Century- Review of BRAN HAMBRIC: THE FARFIELD CURSE

-posted by Ruth

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BranBran Hambric: The Farfield Curse by Kaleb Nation.

Fourteen-year-old Bran Hambric is a magical teen-ager with a difference: he is contemporary. It will come as no surprise to readers of this brand-new fantasy character’s adventures that Bran was imagined and brought to the page by a young author who knows first-hand what it is like to grow up in the landscape of the 21st century. Kaleb Nation was himself 14 when he first created his hero and began to write this tale of magic, mystery, and intrigue.

In the City of Dunce, magic is illegal, unlike all the surrounding cities. It was Bran’s misfortune (or was it?) to be found alone in a bank vault in the City of Dunce at age six with no memories, no connections, and no explanation of his past, his family or how he got there. Clearly, magic is at work. Fast-forward 8 years and we meet the fourteen-year-old protagonist living his mundane and lonely existence with the Wilomas family as a kind of live-in servant to the banker who found him locked in the bank vault.

The book starts with Bran and his foster-father of sorts Sewey Wilomas confronting a sinister hissing character on their rooftop. We soon learn that Bran is the center of a complex plot that involves him, the mother he doesn’t remember, a horrible curse, and a world of magical creatures with wands, weapons, and special abilities. Sub-plots (with lots of whimsy thrown in) include the town’s obsession with gnomes, and arcane Dunceland laws and requirements.

You’ll find yourself making connections immediately to the Harry Potter series: a young boy with magical powers he doesn’t know he has at his fingertips, an unsympathetic family that is opposed to magic, special new friends with unseen powers, a totally evil villain out to wreak havoc that only a young boy can stop, and of course, a mysterious family past. But there are differences as well. Rather than being whisked off to a special and privileged school, Bran is more of a streetwise kid who deals with what life has thrown his way by using his wits and summoning up considerable courage and loyalty. Twists in the plot rely on magical cellphones and other modern technology that is missing in earlier fantasy tales for young adolescents.

Middle-school readers who loved Harry Potter will appreciate this modern, American adolescent hero. It’s well-written, humorous, and intentionally suspenseful, with each chapter ending in a kind of cliff-hanging moment. The young author, Kaleb Nation, leaves the door wide open for “further adventures” and he will have many middle-school readers looking forward to the next book in what I imagine to be a magical 21st-century series.

What are other reviewers saying about Bran Hambric? You might want to check out the blog tour posts. I’ve posted the full schedule below.

Sunday, August 30th

Jenn’s Bookshelf

Homespun Light

Monday, August 31st

Dolce Bellezza

Bobbi’s Book Nook

Tuesday, September 1st

The Looking Glass Review

Beth Fish Reads

SMS Book Reviews

James Holder’s YouTube Channel

Wednesday, September 2nd

Reading Rumpus

Katie’s Literature Lounge

Ultimate Bookhound

Thursday, September 3rd

Brimful Curiosities

Charlotte’s Library

Friday, September 4th

Bran Hambric by Kaleb Nation

Saturday, September 5th

Library Lounge Lizard

Sarah’s Random Musings


Sunday, September 6th

Cindy’s Love of Books

Monday, September 7th

Lauren’s Crammed Bookshelf

Grasping for the Wind

Life After Twilight vlog channel

Tuesday, September 8th

Shooting Stars Magazine

Mrs. Magoo Reads

Lori Calabrese Writes

Wednesday, September 9th

The Brain Lair

The Children’s Book Review

TV Watch Online

Thursday, September 10th

The Friendly Book Nook

Book Journey

Stephanie’s Written Word

Home School Buzz

Friday, September 11th

The Inside Scoop With Chandelle

Booking Mama

Saturday, September 12th

Zoe’s Book Reviews

Lit for Kids

Sunday, September 13th

Never Jam Today

A Bibliophile’s Reverie

Monday, September 14th

Café of Dreams

Marta’s Meanderings

A Book Blogger’s Diary

The Reader’s Quill

Tuesday, September 15th

a book in hand

Not Just for Kids

Wednesday, September 16th

Write for a Reader

Thursday, September 17th

Howling Good Books

The Written World

Friday, September 18th

Always Riddikulus

YA Books Central

Saturday, September 19th

Ms. Bookish

Into the Wardrobe


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