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The first in the series, Bran Hambric follows the story of a young boy of six who is found within the walls of a locked bank vault with no memory of how he got there, or in fact of anything in his past. Living in a city where the art of magic is illegal, he discovers that his mother (whom he cannot remember) created a deadly curse and a curse that revolves around him.
Thoughts / Opinions:
Bran Hambric has a well-crafted plot, with excitement and action present throughout, giving a positive vibe to a novel with its basis grounded within fantasy - Nation writes with a talent that is hard to find, bringing together humour and creativity at just the right degree, creating a novel that is truly a pleasure to read. There are so many twists and turns that give the book a real energy that, as the reader, you can't help but take on yourself. This novel is PERFECT for younger teenagers and children - the good vs evil premise, not only engages but also serves as an education. Yet, I think what most makes this novel stand out in the children's genre is the care that Nation goes to. The invention of a mystical language gives it a challenging quality, trying to decipher the meaning can be especially fun for children.
It may be said that the book's similarities to the Harry Potter series do bring readers to it, however, it MUST be said that Bran Hambric has the strength to stand by itself. The characters, are strong and each have their own individual quirks that allow them to make their own mark, however, the relatively shortness and sheer quantity prevent them from truly being developed to the degree they deserve. Bran himself is a key asset to this novel - his defiance and strength allow him to be seen as a hero, yet he has an air of modesty that allows the reader to connect with him and it is this that drives the narrative through the chapters, whilst his dry wit (derived from the author) gives it moments of hilarity and comical value that prevent it from becoming too serious.
The novel's cover itself draws the reader in, providing an air of mystery that is exciting, a definite evaluation of the text itself. However, that said, towards the middle of the novel, the pace, that was previously so fast, slows to be almost snail-like. Though this does allow a better development, one cannot help but feel that it also divulges the reader's attention slightly - it is only when it speeds up later that it is truly given justice.
Kaleb Nation began writing Bran Hambric at the age of 14, taking him many years to write. He is a key member of the Twilight and Youtube communities, which lead to him having an actively large part in the publication of the series, including the writing of a score.
I think the series can only get better with the characters being continuously developed and enhanced in meaningful and interesting way - a novel that leaves you wanting more and eagerly awaiting the next edition - 'The Specter Key'.
This book is a pleasure to read, comfortable for both adults and kids.