Bound To Stay Bound

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 Secrets of Hexbridge Castle
 Author: Kent, Gabrielle

 Publisher:  Scholastic Press (2016)

 Classification: Fiction
 Physical Description: 324 p.,  21 cm

 BTSB No: 514445 ISBN: 9780545869294
 Ages: 8-12 Grades: 3-7

 Inheritance and succession -- Fiction
 Castles -- Fiction
 Fantasy fiction
 Adventure fiction

Price: $6.50

Alfie receives a strange letter and makes a shocking discovery--someone has left him a castle!

Accelerated Reader Information:
   Interest Level: MG
   Reading Level: 6.10
   Points: 10.0   Quiz: 185629
Reading Counts Information:
   Interest Level: 3-5
   Reading Level: 5.70
   Points: 16.0   Quiz: 75269

   Kirkus Reviews (07/15/16)
   School Library Journal (08/01/16)
   Booklist (10/15/16)
 The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/11/16)

Full Text Reviews:

School Library Journal - 08/01/2016 Gr 4–6—The mundane reality of English schoolboy Alfie Bloom's life ends when he is swept into his destiny, which involves time travel, dragons, and mysteries. After Alfie accidentally time-travels during a near-death experience, he discovers that he has inherited the fantastical Hexbridge castle from an ancient druid named Orin Hopcraft. Alfie had been born to modern parents who were brought backward in time so that Alfie could be born and become the keeper of a particular magical power in order to protect it from a corrupted druid named Agrodonn. Alfie wants to learn more about the magic, his inheritance, and the creature that appears to be menacing the town. He finds support among family and friends, letters left from Orin, and a flying bear rug named Artan with a taste for bad jokes. The broadly drawn evil headmistresses of his new school, Wyrmwald, are cruel disciplinarians with a taste for outlandish punishments, and they try to sneak into Hexbridge Castle for obviously nefarious purposes. This is a fast-paced mystery that draws upon tropes of Western fantasy and may appeal to many readers, though it lacks the depth and gravity that can often be found in more ambitious middle grade fantasy novels. VERDICT A fun but optional addition to middle grade fantasy collections.—Kyle Lukoff, Corlears School, New York City - Copyright 2016 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.

Booklist - 10/15/2016 Alfie Bloom is more than a little puzzled to learn that he’s inherited a castle. For one thing, he’s never heard of Orin Hopcraft, the druid who left him Hexbridge Castle. The biggest surprise, however, is the castle itself, full of hidden rooms and other wondrous magic. Alfie and his twin cousins have great fun exploring, but danger comes with a two-headed dragon terrorizing the village, and a pair of horrendous headmistresses at Alfie’s new school. Kent’s debut has undeniable shades of that other magical boy who finds himself unexpectedly in a magical castle—Alfie receives letters by raven, he’s helped by an enigmatic man in a high tower, he’s the sole bearer of powerful magic, and so on—but Kent carries it off well, neatly interweaving backstory, hints about Hopcraft’s tasks for Alfie, comical interludes, and plot threads about friendship and family that help keep the narrative firmly grounded in reality. This well-paced, engaging fantasy is tailor-made for Harry Potter fans, who will be pleased to learn there are more adventures in the works for Alfie. - Copyright 2016 Booklist.

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