Guest Post: ‘Bran Hambric’ Book Review

My son Timothy, age 11, devoured a book this week, a magical mystery featuring a boy wizard written by Kaleb Nation, age 20. The book, Bran Hambric: The Fairfield Curse, was published just a few days ago, and, judging from sales and Timothy’s enthusiasm about the book, I suspect we have, if not the “next Harry Potter” (how many times have we heard that prediction?), perhaps another Artemis Fowl or Percy Jackson. Which would be very good news indeed.

The recommended age range for the book is 9-12 so I thought you might be interested in Timothy’s thoughts about the book which he wrote up this afternoon as a Hogwarts Professor guest post. He read all 464 pages of Bran Hambric in three days and has this to say:

When I first saw the book, Bran Hambric, I did not think, frankly, that it was anything I would be interested in. But then, when I asked Dad what the book was about, he read the back cover to me and I was immediately curious. I mean who is not intrigued when they hear the questions, “What if Your Mother was a Criminal? What if Her Crime was Magic? What if Magic ran in the Family?”

So I started to read the book and found that it reminded me of Harry Potter, the books along with Redwall, Eragon, and Artemis Fowl, that I know best. In the beginning, for example, Bran’s only parent dies, he has his mother’s eyes, and Bran is taken into the care of two of the meanest people in the city. These parents give their greedy little children everything they wanted (except, of course, the MEGAMES MAXIMAS that Balder wanted so much). Bran can do magic, but he does not know it. Just like Harry, right?

In the second chapter, my Dad told me who he thought that the Shambles character would turn out to be. He was right, though I was surprised when it was revealed much later in the story (it wasn’t obvious). I guessed correctly that there was something like a Horcrux in one of the major characters (I don’t want to spoil the story for you) but when it turned out I was right, I confess I was still surprised, again.

The story, though, is not just Potter echoes like surprise identities and boy wizards.

The best part? Missives of Magic. Netora the Physical, Comsar the Mental, Archon the Elemental, Illian the Illusional and Drimra the Mortal: these are the five Missives of Magic mentioned in Chapter 10 of Bran Hambric. Without giving too much away, each of the Missives is a certain type of magic.

If you have Netora magic, then you are master of things that can be touched. If you have Comsar magic, then you are master of the mind and can control other people. If you have Archon magic, then you can control the four elements; fire, water, earth and air (and as a favorite character says in Chapter 20, “Yes, always good to keep a flowerpot handy for the miniature tasks”). If you have Illian magic, then you have the power of illusions; you make images of yourself or of other people, but if you are Drimra, then you have the power over life and death and can place your very soul in another body. The variety of magic in Bran Hambric is unique and very well done, I thought.

Best, if you have all five kinds of magic, then you are more powerful than any of them. But with great power comes great hardship, as Bran finds out. Fortunately he has good friends like Adi, Astara and Polland. I enjoyed reading their conversations and about their adventures.

Do I look forward to the next book in the Bran Hambric series? Yes, I do. The first book was amazing; it was full of new friends, mages, magic books and much more. Some of the reasons that I would like to read the next book is to see what really happened to Baslyn and Shambles. Could anyone have survived the finish in Fairfield Tower? I would really like to find out, too, what the ‘S’ on Astara’s bracelet stands for. I’m assuming that it is not the first letter of her last name, as she thinks.

One of the many things that I like about this book are the “Forty Winks.” I love their detecting powers that give them the ability to reveal things about the Mages (read the book to find out what!). When I first heard of the ‘Fairfield Curse,’ I had two ideas of what it might be. The first idea was that it was a plague of some sort that would make you burst into flame or age really fast. The second idea was that it was a sentient being of fire, shadow and energy. What I did not guess it could be – was what it turned out to be! Kaleb Nation wrote a very satisfying and surprising conclusion.

I recommend Kaleb Nation’s Bran Hambric to readers my age who like wizard stories and mysteries. A fascinating book filled with magic and mystery, Bran Hambric is guaranteed to cast a spell over you that you will never forget!

Timothy Granger


  1. The book is probably okay, but I’m more impressed with how well your 11-year-old expressed his opinion. Very cute. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. I completely agree with LMB….Timothy, you are truly your father’s son, an eloquent chip off the professor’s block!! Thank you for the inspiring review of *Bran Hambrie: The Fairfield Curse*. I am forwarding the information to my 7th-grade grandson, whom I am sure will be thrilled to add this book to his growing collection. He and I had a grand time reading and discussing all five Percy Jackson books this summer.

  3. Sorry…that’s *Hambric*, not *Hambrie*. I’ve rented these fingernails for the next week and can’t do a thing with them ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. Arabella Figg says

    Timothy, great report on the book–you made it sound very intriguing! And you managed to tell quite a bit without giving very much away. There are book and film critics who could take a lesson. Thank you for sharing with us.

    You might really enjoy the Prydain Chronicles (prih-dane) by Lloyd Alexander (which are oved by many Harry fans). There are five books, to be read in the following order: The Book of Three, The Black Cauldron, the Castle of Llyr, Taran Wanderer, and The High King.

  5. Hear! Hear! Well done indeed! Some of my college students should wish they were such solid writers.
    I’ll second Arabella on Alexander, though I doubt he’s passed John’s notice. The Black Cauldron that revives dead warriors will be of particular note to HP readers, but many more delights await in Prydain. When I was your age (forgive the cliche), I also loved a book called Wizard Children of Finn, if you can still find it in print.

  6. Excellent review, Timothy! I just might have to read this book. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. John, you might be more interested in this than Timothy will, but has made Bran Hambric: The Farfield Curse their book of the month for October. It should be interesting to read their discussion. There’s a short trailer for the book at the link.

  8. I have posted Timothy’s review on the Bran Hambric page. If it was helpful to you, please be sure to click on the appropriate button after the review there!

  9. John, perhaps I’ve suddenly gone blind, but I couldn’t seem to find the review to click on it. ๐Ÿ™‚ What name did you use?

  10. Hmmm. I guess Amazon didn’t approve it. They only want reviews by those over 13 so maybe this triggered their internal gatekeeper.

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