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The Farfield Curse: Bran Hambric    by Kaleb Nation order for
Farfield Curse
by Kaleb Nation
Order:  USA  Can
Sourcebooks, 2009 (2009)
Hardcover, CD

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* *   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

While parts of debut author Kaleb Nation's Bran Hambric: The Farfield Curse are interesting and unique, quite a few similarities to Harry Potter might put some readers off. However, if you can look past this, Bran Hambric promises to be another fun middle-reader magic series.

Eight years ago, Bran Hambric was magically sent by his mother into a Dunceland bank vault in order to spare his life. Since then, he has been living with Sewey Wilomas (the man who found him) and his wife. The Wilomases are none too happy about raising Bran, but do provide for his needs, though he is expected to do the bulk of the chores. The only person who really cares for Bran is Rosey, Mabel Wilomas's distant cousin who acts as their live-in help. Having no memory of the first six years of his life, Bran knows nothing about his mother except for the slip of paper she left with him.

As Dunceland forbids gnomes and mages, life is rather dull, aside from Sewey's reckless driving and belief that gnomes are out to get him. It is during one of these fits of paranoia that Bran starts to learn who he really is. A strange creature tries to break into the house one night to take Bran, mentioning something about his mother. The creature escapes without Bran, but more and more clues pop up about his mother, as well as secret mages in Dunceland. Soon Bran learns that his mother was a criminal associated with the diabolical Farfield Curse. Now the same people who killed his mom are after him, and Bran must come to terms with his magic if he and his friends are to survive.

As mentioned earlier, there are hints of Harry Potter in Bran Hambric. The two that stand out are the fact that both boys are orphans living with a family that could care less about them, and also that both have nemeses that need them to survive. Nation, though, did come up with neat additions to the middle-reader magic genre. The divisions of magic in Bran's world are well thought out and make a lot of sense. Also, gnomes - creatures relatively absent from modern literature - play a huge part in Nation's story, and I am curious to learn more about them as the series progresses.

Bran Hambric is a good hero and The Farfield Curse is well-written. I think as twenty-year-old author Kaleb Nation grows more into his writing, he could have a hit on his hands with the Bran Hambric series.

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