I first heard of author Kaleb Nation by his alias, The Twilight Guy. In 2008, while fans of The Twilight Saga were waiting for the release of Breaking Dawn, Nation started blogging his journey through each of Stephenie Meyer's books, one chapter at a time. I found his blog extremely funny, well written and sometimes insightful. He got a lot of traffic, and much recognition, even from Stephenie Meyers herself. If you're a Twilight fan, you should go check it out.
When I found out Kaleb Nation was publishing his first book, before he had even graduated college, I was really looking forward to reading it. Lucky me, Sourcebooks sent me an advanced copy! I put aside everything on my To-Read shelf and tore into this book right away. Unfortunately, that was the peak moment of my first experience with Bran Hambric.
I don't want to give too much of the book away, but if you've read Harry Potter, then you get the general idea of Bran Hambric. For me, there were simply too many similarities between the two books, many of which were really hard to swallow.
I understand that six years ago, when Nation first began writing Bran Hambric, J.K. Rowling had already released 5 out of 7 Harry Potter installments, so not only was he at the perfect age to get swept up in the Harry Potter frenzy, but the saturation of the books and movies and merchandising had to have an impact on any young creative mind. No, I don't think it was his intention to steal ideas away from one of the most beloved characters in modern children's literature. He was only fourteen years old!
All of that aside, in spite of his age, the book really was well written. I have read books by adults with post-graduate experience, published around the world ten-times over that don't demonstrate the raw talent that Kaleb Nation has. He can turn a phrase, write fast-paced action scenes, and pull off great dialogue. There were a few dangling modifiers that any high school English teacher would have circled with red ink, but I think it was part of the charm.
On its own, ignoring the Harry Potter comparisons, Bran Hambric: The Fairfield Curse was a good book. If there are any young readers out there who are finished with the Harry Potter series, and can't get enough magic, give Bran Hambric a try. In the meantime, he has a long career ahead of him, and I'm looking forward to when a unique storyline is combined with his writing talent.
Many thanks to Sourcebooks!
About the Book: Reading level: Ages 9-12 Hardcover: 464 pages Publisher: SourcebooksJabberwocky (September 9, 2009) Language: English ISBN-10: 1402218575 ISBN-13: 978-1402218576
Synopsis: Bran Hambric was found locked in a bank vault at six years old, with no memory of his past. 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.
Visit Bran Hambric Online for more information and to download the first four preview chapters.