Thursday, September 3, 2009

Bran Hambric: The Farfield Curse by Kaleb Nation - Book Review and Giveaway


"What no one knew was who the boy was, and neither did he. Wasn't a memory left in the boy's head; everything about his past was gone...except for the note." - Bran Hambric: The Farfield Curse by Kaleb Nation

We've all heard about them or seen them. You know, those odd little creatures with the conical hats found in gardens. Up to this point, I've never had the slightest desire to place a gnome anywhere near my home. But after reading Kaleb Nation's debut fantasy book, I just might change my mind. Maybe. It's a thought, anyway.

Of course Bran Hambric: The Farfield Curse isn't completely about little gnomes. Actually it's mostly about an orphaned chap named Bran Hambric who struggles to figure out where he fits in a magical world gone awry. After a childhood of not knowing, he discovers the truth about his perplexing past, a past deeply entrenched in an evil sort of magic and a terrible secret curse.

The book begins with a prologue. A six-year-old boy named Bran turns up inexplicably, locked in a bank vault in a city called Dunce--the only city in the world that does not allow magic of any sort. No gnomes, no mages. No magic. A banker named Sewey Wilomas discovers Bran in the vault and finds himself responsible for the boy due to a Finders Keepers Law. Bran ends up living with the very annoying Wilomas family, and they treat him like dirt. A ripped note stating his name and birth date is the only clue to his past. Fast forward eight years later. Bran still lives with the Wilomases and one fateful night finds himself face-to-face with a scary creature. He learns his mother was a powerful mage that used dark magic in horrific ways, discovers the reason for the torn note and determines the meaning behind a special crescent moon necklace. Along his journey of discovery he makes a few new mage friends and meets a gnome named Polland.

Young author Kaleb Nation creatively depicts an exciting magical world in his suspenseful middle grade/YA fantasy. There's many obvious similarities between Bran Hambric and the beloved Harry Potter series--orphaned boy, magical world, an evil counterpart, unpleasant family life. But Nation has developed the city of Dunce and all the people and creatures inside and outside the city entirely from his own imagination. The scenes involving the Wilomas family in the beginning of the book bog down the story a bit, but the pace picks up when Bran learns more about magic and meets some mages and magical characters. Written using uncomplicated language, the book is sure to appeal to all those young readers that have been clamoring for Harry Potter read-a-likes. Nation makes readers chuckle with his over-the-top characters and even a few clever word plays, like measuring magical power in witts, calling those with the most, brightwitts and those with the least, dimwitts. Just so readers know, there are a number of slightly violent scenes involving guns, death and troubling dark magic in this book but nothing is especially graphic. The enticing artwork by Brandon Dorman on the cover is worth a mention and deserves a big thumbs up. The book leaves quite a few questions unanswered and Kalab Nation has plans for a sequel. I'm hoping to learn more about the gnomes and their sacred Givvyng Tree!

As part of his homeschool education, Kaleb Nation started writing the book at the age of 14 and worked on it throughout his teenage years. Currently 20 years old, his young age makes this debut book an impressive accomplishment. Highly ambitious, Kalab Nation is also a successful blogger at his popular TwilightGuy.com website.
Bran Hambric: The Farfield Curse by Kaleb Nation. Sourcebooks Jabberwocky (September 2009); 464 pages; ISBN 9781402218576 (Ages 9-12/YA)
Book Source: ARC copy provided by for free by Sourcebooks. All quotations should be checked against final version. (View my full disclosure statement for more information about my reviews.)

Related links:
Bran Hambric - Official Website
Kaleb Nation - Author Website
Downloadable preview of the first 4 chapters of Bran Hambric: The Farfield Curse
List of Harry Potter Readalikes from Infosoup.org
Enter to Win Bran Hambric Prizes or an Exclusive Kaleb Nation Event Invite on Sourcebooks.com

Book Trailer:


Win a copy! This review is part of the Bran Hambric blog tour, and Sourcebooks has kindly offered to give away a copy of Bran Hambric: The Farfield Curse to a Brimful Curiosities reader.

To enter, leave a comment relevant to this post. Or, just for fun, if you are feeling particularly creative, think of an original gnome name and leave it in the comment section.
• For contact purposes, if you are a non-blogger or your email is not accessible in your blog profile, please leave a valid email address within the comment section.
• Contest is open to US only
• Contest ends on Monday, September 14th, 2009 at 11:59 PM CST.
• Winner will be chosen at random and sent an email notification.
Three ways to gain extra entries (Maximum total entries is 4; please leave a separate comment for each entry):
1st extra entry: Follow Me! or subscribe by email or RSS reader
2nd extra entry: Blog about this contest then post your link in the comment section.
3rd extra entry: Follow me on twitter (iambrimful) and tweet about the contest.

112 comments:

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I love the name for the city of Dunce! Please enter me!

nbmars AT yahoo DOT com

holdenj said...

Sounds like a great new magical world to explore. Gnomes are a newer twist, they seem to be less featured than elves and fairies. Please count me in!

JHolden955 (at) gmail (dot) com

Belle said...

I love Kaleb Nation. He is amazing. And I love the gnomes!!!!! I am waiting until the day the book is ACTUALLY supposed to come out to buy it, but I would love a free copy. :)

email: gm.1995(AT)yahoo(dot)com

okbolover said...

heard such great things about this book would love to win!

pls enter me;

sensitivemuse at gmail dot com

Sylvia said...

My grandson would love this book and I would love to win it for him
sylviawhit@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a delightful book. I'd love to read it.

bgcchs(at)yahoo(dot)com

Dolphin Girl said...

Interesting, I am in awe of people who are so creative in this way to create a new world with words!

Terra H. said...

Seems like a book that my teenage daughter and I would enjoy reading.
partymix25(at)hotmail(dot)com

Bingo said...

Do you think Dunce has a school named DUNCE ELEMENTARY? Wouldn't that be funny? (always the teacher in me, sorry). I'd LOVE to win this book@

Bingo said...

I follow and think a cute gnome name might be Osceola (because I have two gnomes in my house and that is one of their names---long story)

Oh, email is kdhaney (AT) gmail (DOT) com

thanks for the chance!

Rachel Sue said...

I'm kind of out of the loop on the new YA novels. I would be interested to read this.

Fickles said...

Sounds interesting, I'll enter. (:

truesummer05 [at] aim [dot] com

Fickles said...

I also follow via email.

truesummer05 [at] aim [dot] com

bridget3420 said...

Twitter follower & tweet

http://twitter.com/bridget3420/status/3763657853

etirv said...

Jabbers Pavelwaldo! Cute name for a gnome!

delilah01809(at)yahoo(dot)com

shopannies said...

I am not very creative but I have posted this question for my children to answer

shopannies@Yahoo.com

shopannies said...

tweeted http://twitter.com/shopannies/status/3767580429

shopannies@Yahoo.com

Limerick said...

Kaleb Nation is so awesome! Did you know he made his own soundtrack for this book also? I can't wait till it comes out!!

Count me in for this chance to win his book!

Sarah
two_of_hearts_101 at yahoo dot com

Limerick said...

I also follow you with Google Reader. :)

two_of_hearts_101 at yahoo dot com

Thanks for posting up this great review!

valerie2350 said...

hmmm.... not feeling at all creative since it's wayyyy too hot today... but this does look like a fun read - my guys like fantasy tales

Alleykatt said...

I actually have an original female gnome name but I am bound to secrecy to share where I got it however it is:

"Grynvara"

It means mixer of potions

espressogurl at hotmail dot com

Baba said...

Posted here:
http://babasfarmlife.blogspot.com/2009/09/cool-giveaways_04.html

Baba said...

Twitter/Tweet
http://twitter.com/Babasfarmlife/status/3776584991

bridget3420 said...

Blogged

http://bridget3420.blogspot.com/2009/09/95-book-giveaway-list.html

bjhopper(at)me(dot)com

Anonymous said...

I have gotten alot of great info from your blog! Thanks! An original gnome name, huh. Let's see... how about "Hans"?
Zoe0825@verizon.net

trishalynn0708 said...

This sounds like a magical and fun place. Great review! Please enter me

lovestoread0708(at)yahoo.com

trishalynn0708 said...

Blogged:
http://trishasbookshelf.blogspot.com/2009/09/giveaways-of-day-97.html

Renee said...

I love to read books like this-I am just a kid at heart :)
This sounds a bit like Harry Potter meets Artemis Fowl, and I loved both those series.

Paula said...

This sounds like a great book to read with my children.

ryspenc@yahoo.com

mverno said...

right up my grandsons alley hope to win it for him
mverno@roadrunner.com

catriona_sweeps said...

As a librarian, I'm always on the lookout for new books. This one sounds like it will capture the reader's interest.

abfantom said...

I think my daughter would love to read this book. Please enter me in the giveaway.

abfantom at yahoo dot com

Debs Desk said...

Please include me in your giveaway.
Thanks
Debbie
debdesk9(at)Verizon.net

john ferris said...

He is a great writer.
john ferris
guapo1317@live.com

chromiumman said...

i think a good name for a gnome would be 'big ed', it works the same way you call a big guy 'tiny'

Mom said...

I believe this young writer has a lot going for him, and who knows? It may be fanrasy or..maybe...he knows the land of Dunce??

Carol EL said...

I have a grandson (Sam) that this book would be perfect for. jelly15301@gmail.com

pixie13 said...

This sounds like a fantastic read. Please accept my entry, thanks!

Fionen said...

I subscribe to your feed via Google Reader.
email: fionen_ftw{at}fionen{dot}com
username: Fionen

CherylS22 said...

Such amazing talent at such a young age - I can't wait to read this book.
I love being able to escape into a fantasy world & become involved in all the new characters.
Thanks ~ megalon22{at}yahoo{dot}com

CherylS22 said...

I follow on Google Friend Connect & subscribe via Google Reader.
megalon22{at}yahoo{dot}com

Ninja Fanpire said...

Awesome! This is definitely going to be a great book! I follow Kaleb on Twitter and watch most of his BlogTVs!

Ninja Fanpire said...

Following on Twitter, and Tweeted: http://twitter.com/NinjaFanpire/status/3957804725

Ninja Fanpire said...

Made a blog post about the contest: http://ninjafanpire.blogspot.com/2009/09/win-copy-of-bran-hambric-farfield-curse.html

Carol said...

My two granddaughters would really enjoy this book.
Carol M
mittens0831 at aol dot com

wantsandwishes said...

How about "Harlin" for a gnome name. If it is lame. Sorry not really in the business of naming gnomes over here. But I would love to get my hands on that book.

Carol said...

I follow you on Twitter-CarolAnnM and I tweeted this giveaway.
Carol M
mittens0831 at aol dot com

Qwill said...

This looks like a great book. I think my tween would enjoy it. A great gnome name would be Crackalacka. That's her softball name.

Qwill said...

I follow and tweeted: http://twitter.com/qwills2cats/status/3958694557

Anonymous said...

This looks like a great yound adult read!

theyyyguy@yahoo.com

Candie L said...

THis is the type of book that my 9 year old loves to read. Thankyou

candieluster(at)gmail(dot)com

AnimalGurl55 said...

I've always tried to win this and never have, so it's worth the shot :D

animalgurl55(at)hotmail(dot)com

ParaJunkee said...

Hiya great review. I love gnomes, unfortunately I ran mine over - when someone blocked me in my driveway. I named him freddie, now he's got no feet. I tweeted about this and am now a follower. Thanks for the contest.

Renee G said...

My youngest would love to read this.
rsgrandinettti(at)Yahoo(dot)com

Sue said...

I'd love this! Thanks for sharing.

s.mickelson at gmail dot com

Wehaf said...

I love gnomes; in Scandinavia they play significant roles in mythology and folklore.

urchiken at gmail dot com

sherri419 said...

My nephew would love this!!! A new name for a gnome? Hmmm...let me thing...how about Pizzastilksin??? Lol Thanks!

sherri419 at gmail dot com

Ginny said...

Oh this book sounds really good. I love that the author started creating the story at 14, love that!

Ginny said...

Following & tweeted http://twitter.com/momof2dancers/status/3993192936

purango said...

It sounds like a great book for children. My granddaughter would love it. garrettsambo@aol.com

tina said...

sounds like a very fun interesting book my nephew would love it thanks for the chance to win eaglesforjack@gmail.com

tina said...

i subscribe thanks for the chance to win eaglesforjack@gmail.com

ZESTYWONDERLAND said...

How about : "evilBgone"
this gnome would make all evil people turn into dust & send their souls straight to the devil.

zestywonderland@gmail.com

ZESTYWONDERLAND said...

I subscribed to emails & to feed in reader & Follow on blogger!

zestywonderland@gmail.com

Kristy said...

My son would like this! I'm always looking for a new, interesting book for him to read!

jellibeenz1978@hotmail.com