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The Lyons Orphanage – Charlie King

29 Jun

Sam Watkins, an orphaned young teenager, possesses the ability to read the minds of almost everyone he meets.

Howard Lyons, the owner of the orphanage where Sam has lived since he was a baby, has been reluctant to let Sam leave the orphanage.

Unable to read the mind of Mr Lyons, he takes it upon himself to investigate the reasons behind the owner’s decisions and learn more about the origin of his ability, his parents and the potential of his power.

However, Sam’s investigation and mind-reading abilities reveal a power struggle at the top of a faltering orphanage between Mr. Lyons and his assistant Natalie.

Sam’s involvement in this conflict leads him to look for ways to save the orphanage and uncover the true motivations of both the owner and his assistant while trying to learn about his past.

Orphanages don’t seem to pop up in the books I read very often – unless a it’s a grim Dickensian version, that is – so it was a refreshing backdrop for a story.  I had no idea what to expect from it really and by the end I knew I would never expect what I did get from it.  That’s all the hints you will get plot wise as it is fun to discover where it branches off from your expectations.

From the outset there was plenty of character building and this foundation really allows the reader to get invested in the plot.  All this does well to build up a fast paced story where what the characters do and think matters, leading to an ending where all the threads all come together in a pleasingly dramatic fashion.

Main protagonist Sam is a very mature thirteen year old, perhaps too mature for his age but owing to his circumstances, this is perhaps a case of me not understanding the emotional complexities of an orphan.  Not that this was a negative point, it was refreshing to see kids with strong personalities having serious conversations without then resorting to lying about a hurting scar as one book series that-shall-not-be-named did so tiresomely.

The adults are an intriguing bunch too, each layered with different motivations, this is added to as we see them through the eyes of children which gives a different, more naive slant on them and their actions.   The adults act as both adversaries and parents throughout which gives a further twist to the struggles that happen later on in the book.  The need for the children to lean on authority figures and go against them sometimes creates a struggle which is always finely balanced.

The Lyons Orphanage is a well-paced romp with lots of moral questions to be had along the way, in fact when pondering this book last night after finishing it, I realised certain things that had happened, the implications of said acts were even grimmer on reflection.  When I read the book I was eager to get on find out what revelations would be next and to see how it ended, part of the fun was speculating on the future after the story ended.

The part of the book that stood out for me the most though was all the intriguing details and hints dropped to the reader.  I started speculating about the purposes of certain sentences really early on, hoping I was wrong about where the story could be going and thankfully I was spectacularly inaccurate which is what you want in a book.  Save

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23 Comments

Posted by on 29/06/2017 in Children's Literature, Fiction

 

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23 responses to “The Lyons Orphanage – Charlie King

  1. Andrea Stephenson

    29/06/2017 at 21:05

    Sounds like an intriguing story – it’s great when a book surprises you that much.

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      30/06/2017 at 07:53

      I really wasn’t expecting it and ended up going to bed at about half six in the evening to read for the night, which is always the sign of an entertaining read!

      Liked by 1 person

       
  2. Lyn

    30/06/2017 at 04:07

    Now I really want to read this!

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      30/06/2017 at 07:44

      It’s a quick read but different to what you may be expecting. A good holiday read, if one was going to say Western Australia for a bit!

      Liked by 1 person

       
  3. Patrick Dykie

    30/06/2017 at 18:09

    First time here, and that was a very nice review. I love stories where the character is special in some way. I also love stories with a build up of tension, and many unanswered questions – until the end. I’ll check this book out, and come back to see what else you’re reading. I write a lot of humor, but I love sci-fi and fantasy. I look to get away from my own dull world. Take care.

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    • Ste J

      02/07/2017 at 22:02

      Greeting and welcome to the blog! I read plenty of diverse books and this one is quite a mix of genres in one. What grabbed me initially was the character building, followed by the way my opinions of certain characters changed throughout the book. I didn’t really know what to expect before reading this but I was rewarded for taking a gamble on it.

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  4. Liz Dexter

    30/06/2017 at 18:24

    I really wouldn’t fancy that but it sounds like a very interesting read for the right reader.

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      02/07/2017 at 21:53

      What I like about it, is that the blurb really gives nothing away whatsoever, so rare with books and it does reward the curious reader.

      Liked by 1 person

       
  5. Sarah

    01/07/2017 at 02:03

    This does look good. It also looks like the kind of book both my daughter and I could read which is a bonus as it’s nice to be able to discuss themes that come up in stuff we’ve read. Fingers crossed the library has it in stock!

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    • Ste J

      02/07/2017 at 21:55

      It has just come out and is self published so not sure if/when the library would have it, as I don’t hit the libraries much these days. It will certainly throw issues and some intriguing moral choices though.

      Like

       
  6. Asha Seth

    01/07/2017 at 08:12

    A debut author who once sent me her book for review told me when I asked her why should I review your book that her book is about a boy and a girl, how they meet then depart, and then meet again. And I said Thank you very much but it doesn’t interest me much.
    So, I guess, the fact that there is something not already told in so many words, and that I do not know what’s under the covers make me want to read the book.
    This seems like that book.

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    • Ste J

      02/07/2017 at 21:59

      That is possibly the biggest underselling of a book ever. This one is more subtle drawing the reader in, after a few pages I already cared what was going on and kept me reading.

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  7. Lucy

    01/07/2017 at 12:17

    Your last line is so right, I’m often right when it comes to the ending of films and books (and well, in general life, too, hahaha) and it really disappoints me. A twist doesn’t have to be huge, but I really love that slap from a page that tells me I’m wrong.

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    • Ste J

      02/07/2017 at 21:46

      This one repeated slapped me about, it’s nice to have the twists keep appearing, one huge only works every so often, Hollywood should have stopped them for at least a decade after The Usual Suspects!

      Liked by 1 person

       
      • Lucy

        03/07/2017 at 22:31

        Oh man! That is indeed the best, and last good twist in the history of film! I can see the image of those legs walking and that limp disappear even now.

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  8. macjam47

    02/07/2017 at 14:38

    I love when a book takes me somewhere unexpected. It adds so much to the excitement of reading. I love the cover of this one, though it makes a statement of foreboding? Perhaps that is what initially drew you in.

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    • Ste J

      02/07/2017 at 21:42

      The free copy helped, haha but yes the door kncker does conjure up make ideas of a sinister nature.

      Liked by 1 person

       
  9. Maniparna Sengupta Majumder

    02/07/2017 at 20:14

    Seems to be an interesting read.

    I sometimes think, how painful it would be if we were able to read each other’s minds. Trust, love, faith…these words would have lost much of their meanings because we seldom say what we think.

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      02/07/2017 at 21:50

      It would be a curse, to know people’s real feelings, although a bit more trust, love and faith wouldn’t go amiss in the world.

      Like

       
  10. shadowoperator

    02/07/2017 at 22:21

    You’re quite right, there’s nothing quite so much fun in a suspense book as for something that seems to be heading for a predictable pattern ending, and which then veers off dramatically in an unexpected direction. Good you left your description nice and vague–you avoided the spoilers!

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      05/07/2017 at 15:30

      You know me, I hate spoilers, so many reviews and blurbs seem intent (and content) on spoiling a book. I like to keep it deliberately open so people can have at least something approaching my experiences, albeit in the knowledge that there are twists but then again we seem to just expect that these days.

      Like

       
  11. Charlie King (@Charlie_K24)

    18/07/2017 at 12:38

    Hi all. It’s the author of the book here. I’d like to thank Ste for his review and I’m pleased to see his review may encourage others to give it a read.

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      19/07/2017 at 12:01

      It was a pleasure to read.

      Like

       

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