Children of the Red King is a series of fantasy novels by Jenny Nimmo which first began publishing in 2002. They describe the adventures of Charlie Bone.The series begins with Charlie Bone accidentally getting the wrong photograph from the photo developer... and discovering that he can hear people talking in the photo. While he is perturbed at this development, his grandmother and great aunts inform him he has magical abilities and enroll him in Bloor's Academy where he becomes part of the music department (because of his supposedly dead father, who played the piano). At Bloor's, Charlie makes new friends, encounters strange magic, and learns all about the history of his Big Screwed-Up Family. The books in the series are:
Midnight for Charlie Bone (2002)
The Time Twister (2003) (Also Charlie Bone and the Time Twister)
The Blue Boa (2004) (Also Charlie Bone and the Invisible Boy)
The Castle of Mirrors (2005) (Also Charlie Bone and the Castle of Mirrors)
Charlie Bone and the Hidden King (2006)
Charlie Bone and the Wilderness Wolf (2007) (Also Charlie Bone and the Beast)
Charlie Bone and the Shadow of Badlock (2008)
Charlie Bone and the Red Knight (2009)
This series contains examples of the following tropes:
Adults Are Useless: Mostly averted. Most of the adults are fairly competent; when they're unable to help the kids it's for reasons that actually make sense, and when they do help out it makes a big difference. Plus, for every nice adult there's two who are Jerkasses or completely psychotic.
Animal Eyes: Asa Pike's eyes are yellow, which just adds to his wolfish demeanor.
Archnemesis Dad: A curse on Dagbert Endless' family ensures that when he turns thirteen, he will have to battle his father, Lord Grimwald, to the death. He wins.
The Assimilator: Yorath is capable of this. The victims were released upon his death, though.
Awesome McCoolname: Olivia Vertigo, Lysander Sage, Tancred Torsson, Gabriel Silk, Eric Shellhorn, Alice Angel, Orvil Onimous, anyone with the last name "Yewbeam"... yeah, there's a lot of these.
Bad Powers, Bad People: This almost seems to be the case when it comes to the endowed. Those with more destructive powers tend to be on the side of the Bloors, while those with more useless-sounding powers tend to be good. This is averted by Tancred and Lysander, who are easily the strongest of all the kids at the Academy, and who are both very firmly on Charlie's team.
Badass Teacher: Dr. Saltweather and Senor Alvaro, though barely mentioned at all in the final battle, make quite a team.
Balance Of Good And Evil: What Cook/ Treasure does. This actually is almost her downfall in the fourth book when the good children start getting systematically picked off by the bad ones.
Beauty Equals Goodness: Miss Chrystal/Titania Tilpin gets increasingly ugly after she turns out to be an evil witch.
Big Bad: Ezekiel Bloor, until Count Harken Badlock came around.
Body Horror: Asa when he changes from human to beast, or vice versa.
Bouncer: Norton Cross is a sort-of bouncer for the Pets' Cafe.
Butt Monkey: Poor Benjamin and his dog Runner Bean just can't catch a break.
Cast Calculus: Rotates through the books. Mostly involves Charlie and Billy, involves Emma and Olivia more often than not, and occasionally includes Gabriel, Tancred and Lysander.
Cats Are Magic: Played straight in the case of Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius, otherwise known as the Flames. They used to be leopards belonging to the Red King, and are capable of turning themselves into fire, and occasionally can resume their true forms.
Disappeared Dad: Lyell Bone, who was hypnotized by Manfred and hidden away as a music teacher in the Academy for the next ten years. He's woken up in the fifth book and is finally reunited with his wife and son.
Face-Heel Turn: Norton Cross. Dorcas Loom, to an extent. Previously she was neutral, and even hinted to be a good person. It wasn't until Yolanda came around that she became bad.
Gone Horribly Right: Ezekiel Bloor attempts to bring the brutal tyrant Borlath back to life, and seemingly succeeds - except that there's no way of controlling him. It turns out that he actually brought back Queen Berenice, who was a loving mother and is compelled to protect the endowed children.
Heel-Face Turn: Asa Pike, due to his nature as a Changer. It's implied that he actually might have rejoined the Bloors, had they not seen fit to lock him up for a few months in a cave, later on without sunlight (which is what he requires in order to be human). In other words, they deprived him of his humanity for several weeks and nearly starved him to death in the process. Their actions also led up to Asa's father being shot and killed by local hunters. It's no wonder he turned his back on them completely after that.
Heroic Albino: Billy Raven, though he flip-flops a bit before settling on the side of the good kids.
I Never Told You My Name: Alice Angel knows Olivia's name immediately when she and Charlie walk into her shop, and uses it repeatedly. It doesn't say much for Charlie's character that he doesn't think anything is wrong until Alice also says his name. It turns out that, unknown to them Alice is Olivia's next door neighbor, godmother, and self-declared guardian angel and a friend of Charlie's Uncle Paton.
Involuntary Shapeshifting: With a sufficient light source, Asa is human. But in the dark, he cannot retain that shape, instead automatically transforming into a beast — the eponymous "Wilderness Wolf" of the sixth book. Being trapped as an animal for too long can also have a bad effect on his sanity, though luckily he manages to hold himself together enough to not rip apart his rescuers when they come for him.
Magic Enhancement: Paton Yewbeam is a "power booster", though this mainly extends just to electronics, lightbulbs in particular. He also knows how to utilize this power effectively, and even manages to fatally electrocute Yolanda with it.
Papa Wolf: Do not kill Yolanda Yewbeam or Tancred Torsson. Their fathers will be pissed.
Parental Abandonment: Emma's dad, Mostaf Tolly, traded her to the Bloors for a replica of the Toledo knight when she was a baby. He eventually tries to put this right, but is murdered before he can.
Playing with Fire: Manfred Bloor, upon losing his hypnotism power, begins instead to develop fire powers like his ancestor Borlath. This is especially terrifying for the younger kids when the only other firestarter in the series was a cruel, brutal tyrant whose greatest sport was stated to be torture.
Plot-Induced Stupidity: By all rights, Tancred and Lysander as a team are powerful enough to solve just about every problem Charlie has ever struggled with — especially when it comes to the Bloor family, who are all terrified of them. Why they never seem to remember this is a mystery.
Tancred actually isn't very good at controlling his powers, and often has to force himself from losing control of them. Lysander doesn't really have an excuse, though.
Police Are Useless: Justified, since there's not much the police can do about magical crimes, especially when they've got their hands full with the mundane variety already. Though one does help Charlie's mother offscreen in the last book.
Portal Picture: Charlie's endowment, though it first manifests as simply hearing voices in the pictures.
Shapeshifting: Yorath Yewbeam and his daughter Yolanda are traditional shapeshifters, able to become literally any living thing (even plants, apparently, in Yorath's case). Emma Tolly and Asa Pike are slightly different, with Emma able to become any type of bird she wants, including made up ones, and Asa being more of a werewolf and transforming depending on how light or dark his surroundings are.
Ship Tease: Emma and Charlie, until it is revealed that Emma has a crush on Tancred. Olivia and Charlie would probably qualify too.
Stupid Scientist: Ezekiel has shades of this, crossed with Genre Blindness. He literally had no other plan for controlling Borlath except that since he was Borlath's descendant, he'd of course be obligated to help him out.
Sword Cane: Uncle Paton has one in his walking stick, used in the final battle. And it's electrified.