Review: Bran Hambric: The Farfield Curse by Kaleb Nation

by First Mate Keira on March 30, 2014 · 3 comments

in 3.5-4 Treasure Chests, Advance Reader Copy Review, Fantasy, Guest Review, M-O, YA Genre

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by First Mate Keira

Title: Bran Hambric: The Farfield Curse
Author: Kaleb Nation
Page Count: 464 pages
Format: Hardback
Grade Reading Level: Ages 9-12

Summary: Bran Hambric is different from other boys and doesn’t even know the true extent of it. He was found as impossible as it might sound in a locked bank vault. Sewey Wilomas, the man who found him takes him home as he must under the Finders Keepers law. Eight years have passed and Bran still doesn’t know who his mother is or how he came to be in the city of Dunce’s third bank. All he has for a clue is a scrap of paper with his name on it directing him “To Clarence.”

Why I Started This Book:

I began this book for a number of reasons. The first is that I have been off and on watching Kaleb on YouTube and Twitter because of his Twilight involvement and he’s just plain fun, his novel was sure to be too. Second, he’s approximately my age and wrote a fantasy story with a very interesting concept, how could I not support that by picking up the book? Third – who doesn’t crave a Harry Potter fix? Bran Hambric promised to be one and fulfilled it.

Note: While receiving this book early as a reader copy from the publisher, it is the final consumer version of the book.

Likes:

  • Bran Hambric is set in the city of Dunce, a place that outlawed mages and gnomes and all things etcetera. Who couldn’t like something as silly sounding as that? Plus it’s the perfect setup to include all three!
  • Sewey’s cursing: “Great Rot!” and “Great Moby!” Sewey is excellent for humor and spouting off the town’s ideology. He blames everything bad on gnomes.
  • Polland the gnome. He’s a good character. I hope to see more of him in future Bran Hambric novels.
  • The five kinds of magic: mental, physical, mortal, illusions, and natural.
  • Shambles. Guessed his importance right off the bat and then doubted it until I got to the ending of the story.
  • The bad guy #1 and in particular the Farfield curse. Very spooky.
  • The cover! It’s gorgeous! The illustrator was obviously influenced by Harry Potter but it still reads as it’s own universe. Love.

Dislikes:

  • The first 20-100 pages are really tough. Mainly because of the grammar issues that cropped up repeatedly. Most particularly the improper use of ‘and’ and ‘but’ in several long sentences. The author should have reversed the choice or gone with a smaller two letter transition word instead. Another issue was the occasional switching mid sentences between characters. For instance – Shambles would do something then the second part would be about Joris’ actions however the subjective personal pronouns would still be reflecting back on Shambles.
  • Mabel’s hypochondria. For some, I see this being humorous and fun, for me not so much. I was over it by the third time it was mentioned and she went crazy trying to ingest her body weight in them. Figuratively of course.
  • The #1 bad guy didn’t seem to understand how to convince Bran to join the dark side as it were. He had ‘compelling’ arguments but they weren’t really tailored to what Bran truly desired which the bad guy should have known having been in Bran’s head.

Last minute thoughts: There are quite a few parallels to Harry Potter. I will be listing some in bullet format below, so for those not wishing to be spoiled I expect you to click away immediately.

  1. Harry and Bran are in the care of families who don’t acknowledge them and both take the place as a sort of house elf. Bran however is treated much better by the Wilomas family than Harry by the Dursley’s.
  2. Harry and Bran were vessels for the bad guy’s soul.
  3. Their mothers were instrumental in saving them once from the baddies.
  4. The major bad guys, Voldemort and Baslyn, do what they can to control the magical world and to defy death. Baslyn’s main magical power is concentrated on mortal magics.
  5. Shambles while more similar to Golem than Dobby is of equal importance to Bran Hambric as they were to their stories.

Buy: Bran Hambric: The Farfield Curse (Hardback), Bran Hambric: The Farfield Curse (Audio Book)

Book Rating: 3.5 Treasure Chests
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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Karin October 6, 2009 at 9:09 am

I just finished this book. On the whole, I enjoyed it. I skip around when I read, rather than read it from beginning to end which is both good and bad.

I liked that the book began quickly and grabbed your interest with the characters as far as Bran being on the roof. But it was confusing to me as I didn’t know the characters at all.

There are many parallels to Harry Potter, but there are enough differences to make it interesting.

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First Mate Keira October 6, 2009 at 9:51 am

I agree about the parallels and differences.

It is a very enjoyable book and I think if Kaleb Nation writes sequels it will be easier to follow as we are already introduced to the characters.

I hope that despite appearances to the contrary that the bad guy comes back and plays his role a little better. After all the scariest thing is to be tempted by evil, as Potter found in Sorcerer’s Stone, and Baslyn–if he truly tried could offer such a temptation to Bran.

Reply

CaptainYarr October 6, 2009 at 4:21 pm

“I skip around when I read, rather than read it from beginning to end which is both good and bad. ”

I am going to make this a topic of a future blog post, Karin! :D

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