Title: Alfie Bloom and the Talisman Thief
Author: Gabrielle Kent
Published: June 2nd 2016
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Magical Realism
Length: 266 pages
Source: Paperback ARC from the publisher
Book Blurb (via Goodreads):
Perfect for fans of J.K. Rowling and Roald Dahl!
When Alfie Bloom inherited a castle and a centuries-old magic, his dull and lonely life was changed forever. But Alfie’s new life has come with dangers he never could have expected. When Ashford the butler is kidnapped in the middle of the night, the castle comes under threat from a terrifying enemy. Trapped inside with only his twin cousins and best friend Amy, it’s up to Alfie to defend his inheritance and prevent a terrible fate from befalling the whole of England!
When I was offered the chance to read the next book in the Alfie Bloom series, I jumped at the chance. This series has fast become a new favourite and one that I will auto-buy in future. The first book was amazing and the second book was even better.
After the events during his first Christmas at Hexbridge, Alfie Bloom has a new challenge to face, along with his cousins and best friend, when his inheritance – the magnificent and mysterious Hexbridge Castle – comes under attack from a formidable foe. With Ashford, their butler, kidnapped and their parents stuck outside the grounds of the castle, it’s up to Alfie and the others to defend their home.
I thought, going into this book, that it would be as exciting as the first and I was eagerly looking forward to it, and then I started reading. And it was even better than the first. Ashford was my favourite character from the first book – the butler with his own secrets and mysterious ways that were just barely touched upon in the first book. I was keen to see if we would learn more about him this time around and I was not disappointed. From the very beginning, Ashford is the focus of this story.
When Ashford is kidnapped late one evening, Alfie and his friends begin a plan to get him back – with infuriatingly little help from Mr Bones, who doesn’t seem at all interested in getting Ashford back.
I really enjoyed the fact that some of the smaller characters from the first book were given bigger parts to play in the second; namely Ashford, Amy and Emily. I enjoyed exploring their characters more and getting to know them as well as we got to know Aflie, Robin and Madeline in the first book. Seeing them all band together as a group to tackle their intruders was fantastic – even amidst all the arguments and disagreements, they still managed to come up with several daring plans in their bids to not only rescue Ashford, but each other too!
While the first book had a surprising reveal at the end, I hadn’t expected the number of twists this time around! Not only do we learn something huge about Ashford, but also Emily too! I actually read the last 75-100 pages with this face: :O
As magical, imaginative, and fantastical as the first, with extra adventure and intrigue, Alfie Bloom’s continued adventures keep getting better and better and I can’t wait to see what he does next.
*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