Charlie Bone and the Invisible Boy by Jenny Nimmo
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Once again, Charlie Bone has proven an enjoyable diversion. The question of invisibility must always come up in any good magical series, and the treatment of the theme here was fascinating. I've never thought about it before, but there is something inherently deceitful about hiding one's presence, be it in darkness or actual disappearance. Thus, powers of invisibility could be seen as evil and undesirable, which angle I've never considered.
It's also interesting to consider that this is the second time that misfortune has befallen a character just because he was curious. It's interesting that these curious characters also seem to be fairly helpless when it comes to resolving their situation. Ollie didn't do anything to help, yet it was pretty clear that he wasn't being watched very closely, so it would have been fairly simple for him to play a more active role in his rescue. To me, curiosity and cleverness seem to go hand in hand, so he ought to have been more forthcoming with suggestions for a solution.
Pros: I am SO glad they have finally started making up with Billy. I could sense all along that he really belongs on the good side. But upon closer reflection, I realize that Billy has needed to engage in this development to realize that even though he is small and alone and scared, he still has the power to resist the opposition and make a difference. He's not just a weaselly little spy whose services are given to the force which provides the best benefit.
While it was a bit frustrating, the Yewbeam castle encounter for Patton was a really good move; I hope this means that he will become a more active force who is in control of his endowment. His taking a stand against his sisters has been really fun to watch. I'm not sure how I feel about the attempt to test his "relationship" with Julia. I think there is enough instability in Patton's life and it would be really good to just allow that to be the one good thing in his life, perhaps even the significant driving motivation.
Cons: I was surprised by the coat-turning of Scarpo; that was unexpected, but definitely not unwelcome. However, I wish that the wand would have been a more prominent presence if it was going to be introduced as belonging to Charlie and being so powerful. It needed to be more important to the plot development and conflict that it was. As it stands, it was almost more trouble than it was worth, what with letting Scarpo and the mouse out and the havoc it wreaked on the city, etc.
I wanted the explanation and denouement of Mr. Boldova's situation to be more clear. All of a sudden, he just appears with his memory intact from the Aunt's burning house? I'm not convinced. And how was it so easy to kill a shape-shifter? We can just electrocute them? It seems that, if that were a way to kill her, she would have been more wary of being next to such appliances, especially when she is intimately aware of Patton's endowment.
Cons notwithstanding, this was still a plausible plot line and an entertaining story.
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