Lorey joins the ranks of screenwriters who've made the transition to children's books and found that their cinematic skills stand them in good stead in their new endeavor. Let's grant all the obvious criticism right up front: Yes, this bears more than a passing similarity to the story of another boy who goes off to boarding school to learn magic. Yes, the plot is derivative and predictable, and the characters are flat clichés. But if the variations are intriguing, the action exciting, and the pacing tight, it hardly matters. This book is just fun.
Visual imagination, crisp pacing, and clear plotlines are helpful, if not essential, for both, and Lorey has those down pat. This may not be great literature, but it's well-written, and does what it sets out to do quite well. Many kids, including some who are nearing but not quite ready for Rowling, and others who are reluctant readers, will find lots to enjoy here.
From the Book:
Towering over him, it raised its long, curved stinger, preparing to strike. A thick, poisonous-looking fluid oozed from the tip. Charlie's knees went watery and he dropped to the ground.
"Don't," he said.
The monster's tail whistled furiously down toward him with the force of a sledgehammer.