Books by Kaleb Nation

THE SPECTER KEY by Kaleb Nation
CHILDREN'S
Released: Oct. 1, 2010

The author of Bran Hambric: The Fairfield Curse (2009) dishes up an equally maladroit sequel featuring the same sort of nonsensical plot, clumsy satirical elements and ham-fisted writing. Tucking in lines like, "It knew his name, which was enough to send terror through his skin," and, "the creature leapt forward, striking his finger with her teeth," Nation sends his young wizard-in-training on a rescue mission after a mysterious Key left him by his dead mother explodes with magic one random night and sucks the soul of his best friend/main squeeze Astara into a trap (her corpse conveniently disappears from its buried coffin some time later). Joined along the way by his previously unknown father and a Tinkerbell-style vampire fairy with obscure loyalties and motives, Bran eventually finds and destroys the trap (and the Key—supposedly, that is) in the sort of running battle with the mage who killed his mother that pauses while he dives into a lake to rescue the miraculously alive Astara and ends with everyone pretty much back where they started, poised for the next episode. Not a stand-alone, or, for that matter, a stand-at-all. (Fantasy. 11-13)Read full book review >
BRAN HAMBRIC by Kaleb Nation
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 1, 2009

Yet another journeyman fantasy composed by a teenage author. Wavering back and forth between labored farce and conventional bildungsroman, Nation's debut casts 14-year-old Bran as a parentless lad ignorant of his vast magical gifts being raised by the Dursleys—er, a caricatured unmagical family—who treat him like a servant. Having been attacked by a crazed stranger, followed by a mysterious black van and led to a hidden library of magic textbooks, Bran comes to realize that all is not as it seems in the magic-hating town of Dunce. As it turns out, he is a horcrux—er, repository—for the spirit of Voldemort—er, Baslyn—an incompletely dead dark magician. Though still an amateur wordsmith ("His teeth were tightened together, feeling angry and betrayed…") the author tucks in promisingly clever touches (magical power is measured in "witts," and weak mages are dubbed "dimwitts") and has a knack for crafting violent, quickly paced chases and fights. He doesn't lack for ambition either, with a soundtrack already composed and notes for five sequels in the hopper. That ambition outstrips his skill; look for better work down the line. (Fantasy. 11-13)Read full book review >