Title: Bran Hambric Farfield Curse
Author: Kaleb Nation
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
In a bustling metropolis where magic is outlawed, a six-year-old child is found inside a locked bank vault. A scrap of paper reveals his name: Bran Hambric. The child remembers nothing of his life before the vault. Only magic could have done this. But why would any mage risk breaking the law to place a child in a bank vault? For years, he has lived with one of the bankers, wondering why he was left behind- until one night, when he is fourteen, he is suddenly confronted by a maddened creature, speaking of Bran’s true past and trying to kidnap him. Bran finds that he is at the center of a plot which started years before he was even born: the plot of a deadly curse his mother created…and one that her former masters are hunting for him to complete. Haunted by the spirit of his mother’s master and living in a city where magic is illegal, Bran must undo the crimes of his past...if it's not already too late.
I don't always like comparing one book to another, but in this case it works. If you've enjoyed the Harry Potter books, and you're looking for another series that has magic, mystery and suspence, you need to try this book.
The plot starts out with a bang with Sewey (the man forced to adopt Bran after finding him in a bank vault) and Bran on the roof of the house trying to catch a thief. Instead they are attacked by some sort of creature that seems to want Bran. That starts Bran down the path to learning who is and who is mother was. The reader is brought along as he realizes what he thought is definately not the truth and people are not who he thought they were. Bran learns that, in a city where it's out-lawed, he can do magic. I like how the magic was revealed - coming out when he needed it the most. Thankfully there were people to help him. But they didn't always give him all the answers or answers he wanted to hear. I did find some of this confusing because of the lack of details at this point. I think it was to make you relate to Bran - to feel what he did, but as a reader I needed a bit more .Plus there were a ton of details about the whole magically world, and I found myself lost now and again.
After the scene on the roof, the action builds nicely until a battle between Bran's past is fought. It is clear that this battle will solidly place Bran on one side or the other. It will help him learn the truth about him mother - the real truth and accept it. Nation did a nice job putting answers Bran needed within this final battle, it wasn't just a fight but one you needed to pay attantion to if you wanted more of the story. That held my interest quite well! After this battle the book wraps up, but definately sets up for further books in the series.
The book was enjoyable. I really liked Bran - a young man that could've been completely bitter about where his life was. Instead, as unexplainable things start to happen to him, he jumps in and tries to come to terms with it. Not to say he's all fine and dandy with it. There is a scene where Bran runs away in the rain, that I found very understandable and real. This whole scene made me really feel for Bran and want to help him find answers and happiness. That is what will bring me back for future stories.
I do want to comment on a few other things in the story. The town Bran lives in has out-lawed all magic and gnomes - both accepted in the rest of the world. This was an interesting part of the plot because it made Bran's discovery even harder for him to accept - how could he have magic in a town that has laws against it?? The whole story line with the gnomes was interesting, but at times I wasn't sure why it was there. Maybe as the story progresses I'll learn. This was the same for the storyline of Rosie. As part of the family, she was more maid than anything, but she was Bran's only true friend in the house. I'm still not completely sure why it was included, but maybe it too will play a bigger role later on.
Final thought: Fun read and one to give to Harry Potter lovers that are looking for something new to read
Best stick-with-you image: When Sewey meets the gnome - you just need to read the book to know why!
Best for ages: 9ish-14 This one is more tween than teen