Synopsis: In a bustling metropolis where magic is outlawed, a six-year-old child is found inside a locked bank vault. A scrap of paper reveals his name: Bran Hambric. The child remembers nothing of his life before the vault. Only magic could have done this. But why would any mage risk breaking the law to place a child in a bank vault?
Eight years later the City of Dunce has forgotten about Bran. Even his foster parents don't seem to know he exists. But there are those who have been watching, biding their time, waiting to strike, people who know where Bran came from and why he was sent away. And they will do anything to get Bran back, dead or alive…
Review: I was really interested in reading this book for 2 big reasons. One, I watch Kaleb's videos on youtube and he's a really funny guy. He just seems like one of those people that you would enjoy hanging out with so I wanted to see what his storytelling is like. Two, Kaleb ran a website called twilightguy.com where he read and talked about every chapter in every book in the Twilight series. I don't like Twilight, but I wanted to see if I would like this book even though Kaleb does like Twilight. Yes because I'm awesome and fair like that.
The story itself was really good. If you can picture the magic that's in Harry Potter along with the nonsense humor that's in the A Series of Unfortunate Events books then you've pretty much got Bran's world. Dunce is just a city of...I don't even know how to describe it. The way Kaleb described Dunce was very similar to the world in A Series of Unfortunate Events. Here's a bit from Chapter 1:
Hanging outside the gates of the city of Dunce was a sign that read:
And if you didn't agree, you had best like jail food. Every other city in the rest of the world allowed gnomes and magic, but for centuries the Duncelanders had proudly stayed the exception. Behind thier border wall of brick, the police chief put officers on perpetual watch for any short gnomes wearing tall, conical red hats. Helicopters regularly patrolled the borders, and every good citizen was quick to report anything remotely magic, in case a mage was around. They had orders to report any etceteras as well, if they happened to see one.
One thing I really really liked was that Kaleb brought gnomes to life for me. Oh sure they were real in Harry Potter, but just in CoS for a wee bit where Ron and Harry threw them as a chore. No Kaleb did so much more than that. Here's another bit of from a later chapter when you're introduced to Polland, a gnome, and Bran finds out what his hat is made of.
Handcrafted by the Hatcrafters Duvalle Company
Material composed of:
"Perfect perfection," Polland said, pouring more water. "Ten percent Reddinn, that's awful spiffy. It's what makes it fire- and waterproof! Spirit always keeps your head in the right place. And eighty percent love? Tops it off like icing on a cake."
The characters that Bran interacts with mostly (Rosie, Adi, Polland, and Astara) are all really good characters. They're very likeable and I enjoyed every bit of the book that they were in. Well okay I enjoyed every bit of the book.
It gets a 4.5 out of 5. For some reason there just felt like something was missing so I can't give it 5 stars. It was a very magical book. I enjoyed it so much that I think it is a solid contender to be one of my top books of the year. I can't wait for The Specter Key this fall.