‘Charlie Briggs and the Witch’s Emerald’ – Karen Pink
Eleven year-old Charlie thinks middle school would be much better if he could just raise his popularity a notch or two. But getting the student body to forget about his past admission of seeing clips of the future is easier said than done. Adding to his social complications is his sister (his TWIN sister) Mia who not only is smarter and better looking than him, but is pretty much top of the social ladder at their peer pressure focused middle school (and likes to boss her brother around wherever she sees fit).
But life is about to change drastically, for the both of them, whether they are ready for it or not.
Dragged unwillingly one night into an unknown world of adventure and danger, where the earth crawlers are vigilantes and vampire wasps are after your blood, it is up to Charlie and Mia, along with the help of a very stern dragon guide, to help save the princess and change the destiny of Atronia forever.
Will Charlie be able to forget his innate craving for popularity and realise that worthiness is not measured by a boy’s number of social networking friends, but by the belief that he holds in himself? Will Mia learn to be less of a control freak, and understand that her way is not always the best way? Will Kavator learn to let go of a deeply rooted guilt that threatens to stop him from caring for anything else ever again? And just who is the mysterious person following them at a comfortable distance? Ultimately, will the three manage to pull together and show a united strength when facing their darkest hours at the mercy of the King’s nemesis, Morvoina?
With an entire hidden world depending on Charlie and his ability to undertake a journey of such greatness, it is up to him to live up to his promise and save the princess.
Life as a middle school student has never been so heavy.
This debut novel from Karen Pink contains lots of elements that will delight young readers – dragons, evil witches, and giants, to name but a few. However, the delivery of the plot didn’t quite keep up the pace and I felt there were plenty of places that Pink could have expanded on.
The main character, Charlie, is a stereotypical outsider at school and the complete opposite to his popular twin sister, Mia. Charlie is desperate to beat the bullies at school and it is only until he is magically transported to another world, Atronia, that he finds himself a real hero. From the beginning we are shown that Charlie has visions and this has plagued him throughout his young life. What would have been great was if Pink had given a bit more background about this magical powers, particularly with how the book concludes, setting it up for a follow-on story.
I liked the different fantastical elements that Pink included and am sure this will satisfy young readers. The descriptions are very colourful and it reminded me of a computer game. However, these descriptions did lessen the pace of the story and at times I found myself wishing that the plot developed sooner. Sometimes the narrative is a little too wordy and focuses on the intricate details whilst at other times I wanted to have more information about other parts of Atronia, such as when the giants are talking together or snapshots of the princess’s imprisonment.
Pink has set up a successful fantasy world and it would be interesting to see where the next book takes Charlie and Mia. It is a simple read and though I found it lacking in places, think it will suit its young readers as intended. The characters were sweet and likeable and it was lovely how good triumphs over evil at the end and that Charlie is recognised for the hero he has been.
My two star rating reflects how I sought more of a pacey novel and hope that the author can deliver this in the next part of this story. There were peaks of excitement in the narrative and it was disappointing this did not continue throughout. Nonetheless, I believe that the intended audience will enjoy this read and immerse themselves into the wonderful creatures of Atronia.
This book was provided to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.