Theo has spent all of his life inside and away from people. His guardian Dr. Saint has always told him that he has a deadly disease that prevents him from being involved in modern society. So it’s a treat for Theo when, as a birthday outing, Dr. Saint allows him to take a stroll in the cemetery near the house. Imagine his surprise when he happens to find a gift with his name on it randomly sitting on one of the headstones.
Aside from the strange gift, suddenly Theo is thrown into a world of hidden messages and strangers who keep telling him he’s in danger. Eager to get away from his predictable and monotonous existence, Theo follows his deaf maid out the door one night and into the cemetery alone, setting in motion a grand adventure that Theo could never have imagined in his wildest dreams.
Candle Manstarted out strong. I was hooked. I was on the edge of my seat to find out why Theo was being held captive and what was going to happen once he escaped. Candle Man had all the makings of a great adventure/fantasy book for kids.
Unfortunately it became tedious. Despite the fact that Glenn Dakin has created a fantasy/superhero plotline in a modern setting, I got conflicting feelings from the writing style and the plot itself.
Allow me to explain. The style of writing that Glenn Dakin writes in is very elementary. This is to be expected, as Candle Man is a book that is geared towards 9–12 year olds. However, the writing became annoying after awhile. I mean, I would expect kids to get kind of sick of reading about “Dr. Saint” and “Mr. Nicely” who say things like: “Very nice Mr. Nicely” and “How saintly of you Dr. Saint.” I didn’t feel like Dakin was giving the kids he was writing for enough credit.
On the flipside, the plot is shockingly complex for a tween book. There were many, many characters to keep straight, plot twists and turns, conspiracy theories, and complex mysteries that never really got explained.
I found that the writing style and the plot were polar opposites. This is unfortunate because I felt Dakin had a good story and a good idea for a series, but I just don’t think I could work my way through another The Society of Unrelenting Vigilance book.
Julie Waineo, one of our earliest guest reviewers, earned an MBA at Bowling Green State University. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies with a minor in French. Now living in Virginia with her husband and dog, Julie is an avid reader of not only fantasy, but historical fiction, the occasional “chick lit,” and children’s literature.
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