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Alfie Bloom and the Secrets of Hexbridge Castle by Gabrielle Kent ARC {5 Stars}

Alfie Bloom and the Secrets of Hexbridge Castle by Gabrielle Kent  ARC {5 Stars}

Alfie Bloom and the Secrets of Hexbridge Castle by Gabrielle Kent (Alfie Bloom #1)
Published by Scholastic on October 25th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, MG
Page Length: 336 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
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Alfie Bloom's life is dull. Dull and lonely, and this summer is set to be the most boring yet. All of that changes when he is summoned to the bizarre offices of mysterious solicitor, Caspian Bone, where he discovers he has inherited a castle full of wonders that has been sealed for centuries. Alfie is astounded to learn he was born in that very castle six hundred years ago during a magical timeslip. There, Orin Hopcraft, the last of the druids hid an ancient magic inside him, which others seek but should never be used. With the help of his cousins Madeleine and Robin, and Artan the flying bearskin rug, Alfie must keep the magic from terrifying adversaries and ensure that the secrets of Hexbridge castle stay secret, forever!

5 Stars

Note: I received an advanced copy of ALFIE BLOOM AND THE SECRETS OF HEXBRIDGE CASTLE from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

Strengths:

  • This is a fun, well-paced, action-packed fantasy adventure that will keep young readers turning the pages to find out what happens next to our lovable protagonist, Alfie, and his friends.  It has a similar flavor to the first Harry Potter book.  There are some villains and tight situations, but they are mostly overshadowed by the touches of whimsy that include a flying, sentient bear-skin rug, torches that turn on with a light switch, and a butler that seems to have genie-like qualities.
  • Alfie and his dad are charming and kind.  As with many books in the genre, the hero starts off poor but quickly has a happy turn of fortune and finds his destiny revealed to him in his pre-teen years.  Thankfully, he remains kind and generous – in marked contrast to some local snobs – and has some troubles that serve to reveal the hero within.
  • I loved the fact that Alfie has a family – one that continues to remain around him to support him through his transition and growth as a young magic user.  The author deftly manages the relationships between the young magician and his father, cousins, and grand mother (who I wouldn’t cross for the world!!), allowing them to be concerned for him without smothering … or preventing his adventures.
  • Friendships remain platonic, and Alfie reacts to adults suggesting that something more might be developing with a characteristic “Yuck!”

Weaknesses:

  • There really aren’t any serious weaknesses with this story that I could see, but I do have to warn dragon-lovers that there are dragons in this book …. and they are not the good guys.

Have you read this one? What did you think? Are you excited for it if you haven’t gotten to it yet?
– Barbara

 Alfie Bloom and the Secrets of Hexbridge Castle by Gabrielle Kent

© 2017, Barbara. All rights reserved.

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