Author: Kaleb Nation
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Hardcover, 430 pages
Date Published: September 1, 2009
Description (Taken from Goodreads):
A six-year-old child, his only history a scrap of paper with his name (Bran Hambric), is found inside a securely locked vault in a large city bank. He grows into a strapping teenager, remembering nothing before the vault, mostly forgotten even by his foster parents. But elsewhere, Bran is not only remembered; he is sought by those who want him back. dead or alive.
Bran instantly draws readers in with the mystery behind his story – who is he and why doesn’t he remember anything from his childhood? He’s intelligent and sarcastic and is surrounded by an insane family. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the Wilomas’ and their strange behavior, eccentricities, and very stilted values. Sewey, Bran’s father figure (if you can even call him that) does some of the most crazy things, but it makes the story that much more entertaining because I wouldn’t put anything past him. The relationship between Bran and Rosie, the ‘maid,’ is so touching and caring. I loved reading their interactions.
The city of Dunce is a magic-free zone, but signs of magic are all over the place. A favorite bit of the story for me was Dunce’s need to be magic free, including hanging a sign outside the gates that states:
no gnomesA good number of jokes spring from this and I just loved how it was consistently tied into other aspects of the tale.
Even though Dunce is magic-free, Nation brings boatloads of magic to the story. The book is split into four parts and had the beginning not been so funny and filled with crazy Wilomas doings, I may have been bored because the magic doesn’t really begin until part two opens up. But once part two begins, magic takes hold of the story, in the best possible way.
Kaleb Nation has melded this fantastical world with the very typical, everyday life in ways that work in perfect harmony. Bran Hambric took hold of my heart and never let go. So much so, that I’m more than eager to pick up the next book to see where the gnomes, mages, and etceteras lead to next.
Opening line: The night was cold and dead, and so felt Clarence’s heart. ~ pg. xiii
Favorite lines: “You don’t know…or maybe you do know how it feels to lose something that’s so important to you, even when you’ve never had it, you miss it like your life is dependent on it.” ~ pg. 286
*This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it.
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