The Book is out Sept. 9, 2009 (9-9-09)
In a bustling metropolis where magic is outlawed, a six-year-old child is found inside a locked bank vault. A scrap of paper reveals his name: Bran Hambric. The child remembers nothing of his life before the vault. Only magic could have done this. But why would any mage risk breaking the law to place a child in a bank vault?
Eight years later the City of Dunce has forgotten about Bran. Even his foster parents don't seem to know he exists. But there are those who have been watching, biding their time, waiting to strike, people who know where Bran came from and why he was sent away. And they will do anything to get Bran back, dead or alive…
Welcome to a world unlike any other where the adventure of a lifetime is just beginning.
I was asked to review Bran Hambric as part of Kaleb Nation's blog tour. I have to say, that I'm glad I could take part, as I'm loving the book and it might have taken me longer to get to it if I hadn't been able to review a copy. Now, you might have noticed that I said "loving" and not "loved" because I'm almost finished, yet not quite there. I'll try and re-update when I do, but for the most part...here is my review (with an interview below, so please read that as well!)
Bran Hambric starts off reminding me a lot of Harry Potter and I don't just say that because it's about magic (after all, in this book, magic is illegal) or that Bran is an orphan. It has a few other similarities, yet nothing that should keep you from seeing this as its own story. I know some people hate picking up books that sound familiar, but I can tell you now that this is definitely a book all its own and I think a lot of people would love it, Harry Potter fan or not.
Bran is a pretty wise soul with a great sense of humor and thirst for knowledge. I couldn't help but feel his emotions throughout the story and I really related to him as a character, which is something that I love about books.
A first in the series, I'm definitely excited to see where Nation takes this story as I'm definitely hooked and was so from the very beginning. Magic is illegal and Bran's mother is a criminal? What does that have to do with Bran then? It's a mystery alright and it's only partly why you'll want to flip through the pages as fast you can. This might seem like a rather long book at first glance, but like other good stories, it goes by quickly and a lot of people will want to slow down and savor the moments.
One of the things that I thought of while reading Bran Hambric however is that it's very amusing. I mentioned before that Bran has a great sense of humor and is sure to make most chuckle, but he's not the only one. Sewey, the man who found Bran and therefore must raise him as his own, is probably the most ridiculous, yet hilarious character in the book. He's always spouting off crazy ideas and making up lies to get out of speeding tickets. This isn't to mention his wife, Mabel, who takes more pills than a pharmacy can hold in order to ward off all sorts of bugs and diseases. If you're a fan or have read anything by Roal Dahl, you might see some similarities in Nation's debut novel. The humor, the crazy made-up words. It's filled with it and I can't help but love it! This novel is like a children's comedic bedtime story mixed in with an adult's mystery tale. It's perfect for many ages and any gender!
Overall, this is a great first novel and I think the series will only get better. I can't wait to finish this one and see how it ends, only to be left wondering...what next? And really, in a series, that's all you can wish for is that your readers will end with that very question. But don't worry, I'll update you when I'm finished, but for now, why don't you go out and buy yourself a copy so I can hear what you think? It's out tomorrow, September 9, 2009. Get your hands on a copy...pronto!
Interview (with a few comments from moi):
1. It took you a few years to finish the first book in the Bran Hambric series. When you were writing it then, did you always plan to try to get it published or was it just a fun thing to do at the time?
I think it has always been a bit of both. I started writing the book as another story that was just a lot of fun to do, and even though I wanted to be published, in the beginning I didn't know that Bran Hambric was THE story that would make it. As I wrote, I stuck with it because I enjoyed the characters and the world that had grown around them, and by the time I was finished I was a bit surprised that I had just spent nearly a third of my life on one project!
2. You've gotten some great blurbs from other authors such as Kim Harrison and D.J. MacHale. It's very impressive for a first novel! If you were able to have one author blurb your book who would you pick and why would it mean so much?
My dream blurb would be from John Green. He's one of my writing idols.
Love him. Love him. -Lauren
3. The idea for your series came to you on 3-3-03 and now the first book is being released on 9-9-09. Was the release date made to go along with the theme and how did that whole idea first come about?
I don't exactly know why the idea came to me on such a strange day as 3/3/03, but it certainly added a bit of magic to its history! I was really just in bed, on the top bunk in the room I shared with my brother, staring at the ceiling, and thinking of another story, when I just imagined a boy and a banker on a roof waiting for a burglar. Years later, when my publishers told me they wanted to release the book in Fall of 2009, I knew I absolutely had to have it out on 9/9/09, because it was just too epic to pass up. Thankfully, they liked the idea!
4. Most of the people who know your name these days are because of your life as The Twilight Guy. This is obviously great publicity to launch your first novel and I think it's fantastic, but do you ever hear any criticism about this? Do you worry about the reaction some fans might have when the book is finally released?
One of the things that I worry about is people getting my own story mixed up. Despite what some people think, we had already sold the book before I started TwilightGuy.com, and the website's popularity did not get me the deal. In fact, Stephenie and I started writing our books within a few months of each other (she just finished Twilight much faster!). My book has not been influenced by Twilight in any way, because it was entirely written before I'd ever read Stephenie's books. Writing for TwilightGuy has been an enormously wonderful experience though, and I've learned a lot about how to be an author from watching Stephenie at her events.
5. Having a name like Kaleb Nation pretty much screams "fame" or "celebrity" but if you had to come up with a better pseudonym, what would you want to use and why?
When I was a radio DJ, I went under the name Kaleb Krew. It seemed dashing and adventurous, in an amusing sort of way.
6. Obviously, you have a huge following all over the web from Twitter to your blog to youtube, but how do your friends and family in your everyday life deal with this? What's it like to be an internet sensation, yet a regular college student at the same time? Does any of the people in your classes, as far as you know, ever happen to recognize your name before meeting you?
When I meet people, I don't usually tell them about my internet popularity, because to me being popular on the internet isn't real fame. It does become somewhat of a struggle when you have creepy people who dig around on the web for family photos/my parent's house/who my prom date was, but it's one of those things that just comes with having your photo and name all across the internet! And it's certainly fun being recognized at the mall or events by people who enjoy what I do.
7. While I'm writing this, your website says you are currently reading the book If I Stay by Gayle Forman. I read that one not too long ago and loved it. Gayle is also a great person and I'm definitely wishing her a lot of success with the novel and film. As for you, what did you think of the book? Any thoughts on who should be Mia?
(I actually haven't finished this book, so I'm not sure how to answer this question)
I say he'll love it, right guys??- Lauren
8. We have to ask this, as it's one of our staple questions. If you could wish on a real shooting star, what would you wish for and why? (It can be serious...or not...)
Right now I think I would wish for an easy and painless move to California! It's my first time living out of Texas, so it's scary and exciting at the same time.
9. Any word on what the second book in this series will be called? How many books will the entire thing include?
I can't exactly say what the title of the second book is yet, but its code name is BRAN HAMBRIC: T S K. I have six books planned out, unless the last one is too long, and I have to chop it into a seventh.
10. And finally...what do you wish people would stop asking you (such as "OMG! Do you like know Rob Pattinson?!") ?
"CAN U PLEEZ GIV ME ROBERT PATTINSONS NUMBR?" I get something similar to this about a dozen times a day!
hahahahahhahahahah I mean, poor guy....don't do this people!!-Lauren
And finally, if you want to see more reviews/interviews/possible giveaways, head over to Lauren's Crammed Bookshelf to see all the tour stops: