A young boy’s life goes from dull to extraordinary in Kent’s debut novel.
Alfie Bloom is prepared for a boring summer holiday at home, but then the letter arrives. Alfie’s inherited ancient Hexbridge Castle from the Great Druid, Orin Hopcraft. Alfie, who is about to turn 12, was born in a time-slip that took his parents (his mother is deceased) back 600 years. As a result, Alfie is “a child of two times,” at home in both the past and the present. The English boy is also the living hiding place for a powerful creation magic Hopcraft passed to newborn Alfie through a touch to the forehead. Life at Hexbridge isn’t all exploration and flying bearskin rugs. Sealed under the castle is something terrible, something that can be set free only with Orin’s talisman, now under Alfie’s protection. Murkle and Snitch, the sadistic headmistresses of Alfie’s new school, want the talisman. It’s up to Alfie and his cousins, Madeleine and Robin, to stop the evil sisters from unleashing an unimaginable terror upon the world. Game designer Kent pens an amiable, formulaic adventure with an ending that provides closure but doesn’t shut itself off from a possible sequel. Alfie and his cousins are white, and his best friend’s surname, Sui, implies she may be Chinese. Readers won’t fail to miss the countless similarities to Harry Potter.
Unoriginal but still enjoyable. (Fantasy. 8-12)