Title: Alfie Bloom and the Secrets of Hexbridge Castle
Author: Gabrielle Kent
Published: June 4th 2015
Publisher: Scholastic UK
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Magical Realism
Length: 336 pages
Source: Purchased paperback
Book Blurb (via Goodreads):
A exciting story of magic, adventure and a mysterious inheritance. Perfect for fans of ENID BLYTON, ROALD DAHL, and J K ROWLING.
Alfie Bloom’s life is dull. Dull and lonely. All of that changes when he is summoned to the bizarre offices of mysterious solicitor, Caspian Bone, where he inherits 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, a shapeshifting solicitor and a flying bearskin rug Alfie must keep the magic from terrifying adversaries and ensure that the secrets of hexbridge castle stay secret, forever!
I first picked this book up based on a recommendation from a friend and I am so very glad that I did. This is now one of my all time favourite series and I can’t wait to see where it goes in the future.
Alfie is a regular kid living in a rubbish basement flat with his inventor dad, who has to work several part-time jobs just to help them get by. When Alfie accidentally time slips after being chased by some bullies, his life is changed for the better when he discovers he’s inherited a castle from a mysterious benefactor. Thinking life was on the way up, Alfie revels in his new life of luxury closer to his cousins and family. But the headmistresses at his new school are bullying powerhouses with a dark secret that could jeopardize Alfie’s new life.
Going into this story, I hadn’t expected the story to turn into such a fantastical tale. From the beginning, Alfie is thrown into a world of hidden magic, time travel, and mysterious creatures that lurk in the dark. I loved Alfie immediately, he was such a charming boy, despite being bullied. The relationship he has with his father is wonderful – they truly love each other and the fact that they get to spend so much more time together once they move to the castle was wonderful to see.
In fact, the family relationships are what helped to make this book such a joy to read. Alfie not only has a great relationship with his father, but also with his cousins – who feature quite heavily throughout the story to help Alfie through his adventure – as well as his aunt, uncle, and granny.
With a gripping adventure that starts with Alfie’s inheritance and ends with an epic confrontation, there’s barely a moment to rest as things go from bad to worse. With the serious Mr Bones keeping an eye over Alfie’s well-being – at least as long as his inheritance might be at stake – Alfie’s got a strong ally, but there’s more going on than meets the eye and only Alfie can stop something truly awful from happening to his new home.
Just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, there’s another twist to keep you on your toes. As I said earlier, this book was an absolute joy to read and will delight and excite readers of all ages. My new favourite series, and one that I am eager to continue.
*Cheapest ebook UK
**Cheapest ebook US
About the Author
Gabrielle is from the North East of England. Growing up, she spent many a happy summer holiday pretending to be one of the Famous Five as she ran wild on her granny’s farm in Galway with her brothers and many Irish cousins. She started writing stories in 1980 but unfortunately not many people wanted to read books written on cereal packets by a five year old.
Gabrielle’s first job was in the video games industry as an artist and designer. During her career, she worked on games for Accolade, Infogrammes, Atari and Midway.
As well as writing, she is deputy head of the computer games department at Teesside University where she directs the Animex International Festival of Animation and Computer Games and gets to meet all of her favourite game and animation creators.
She has always loved exploring castles and in 2006 she visited Castle Coch in Wales. As she looked at a carving of The Fates over one of the fireplaces, a story jumped into her head and started demanding to be let out. Luckily she was old enough to have learnt that writers should print their books on nice white paper (not cereal packets) and started typing the story of Alfie Bloom.
*Picture and Biography from Goodreads