While my interest was taken when I began the series, it rapidly faded as I went on. The plot formula appeared to be a sort of Urban Fantasy/Mystery, which is fine as long as the characters and setting are reflective of the genre. Unfortunately, they are not. Darker themes conflict heavily with the juvenile and idylic atmosphere. Murder is often ignored with rather awkward Angst? What Angst? in order to preserve the narrative style. The characters, however, are not particularly endearing. Characters that are meant to appear sympathetic are... quite ineffectual. Characterization is quite static, and honestly, there isn't much to them. This simplistic style indicates a pandering to a younger fanbase, which I honestly did not expect given the gradually darkening mood of the books. Charlie himself is effectively a Black Hole Sue, as despite his relative unimportance, the only thing that concerns the antagonists is dealing with him (Which they seem fantastically incompetent at doing.) Idiot Balls drive the plot more than they should. I don't think that the direction of the series was well thought out. In the sliding scale of Idealism Vs. Cynicism, this series qualifies as bipolar. The author was unable to choose a clearly defined method to blend the necessary elements, and I found many sequences extremely cringeworthy as I alternated from a saccharine Sugar Bowl to a corrupt and hopeless Crapsack World. I'm familiar with the comparison to Harry Potter, and I'm inclined to agree. However, the plot of COTRK fell apart before the climax.
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