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Candle Man, Book One: The Society of Unrelenting Vigilance (Candle Man (Quality)) Paperback – May 25, 2010
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From School Library Journal
Grade 4–6—This lighthearted, action-driven adventure features a boy with the ability to melt people into puddles of oily slime. Theo has been kept isolated inside a mansion by his guardian for most of his life, fed a diet of millet and greens, and put into a sort of radiation tube each night, ostensibly for his own good. One night, robbers break into the house. Theo discovers his powers when he confronts them and escapes from Empire Hall. He learns that his guardian is head of a sinister group, The Society of Good Works. The battle between them and the group who rescued Theo, The Society of Unrelenting Vigilance, takes place largely in an underground network of tunnels from the 19th century, complete with garghouls (gargoyles come to life), smoglodytes (creatures who form themselves out of polluted air), and other beings. Theo himself has a crucial role to play in this battle. Despite the nominally contemporary setting and the presence of laptops, the story has a decidedly Victorian steampunk feel with its old tunnels and machinery, along with pea-soup fog created by the villains. With the help of a cast of appealing characters, the nonstop action rolls to a satisfying conclusion.—Sue Giffard, Ethical Culture Fieldston School, New York City END --This text refers to the Library Binding edition.
About the Author
Glenn Dakin has written for many comics and children’s TV shows, including the BBC’ s Shaun the Sheep, for which he won an International Emmy Award; Temptation; and the semi-autobiographical strip Abe. He lives in Cambridge, England.
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Top Customer Reviews
A mysterious present and a burglary leads to Theo escaping the boredom of his old life and getting entangled in the war between the Society of Unrelenting Vigilance (the sort-of-good guys)and the Society of Good Works (the definitely-bad guys). Theo and his new friends in the Society of Unrelenting Vigilance must go on the run in an amazing underground world beneath London and meet some particularly frightening ghosts and gruesome beasts like Garghouls and Smoglodytes. (The last ones are my favourites - they're weird and gross at the same time!)
And Theo soon discovers that he has a special power passed on by his - no wonder the Society of Good Works wants him dead!
The story is fast-moving - you'll never get bored, and the ending is amazingly exciting! The characters (especially Theo and his enemies) are strange but interesting. The only bad thing: this is book 1 or a trilogy, so you'll have to wait a bit for the second story in the series!
I hope this book and series starts stirring more interest, because I truly want Dakin to continue to publish books about Theo (the hero in the story) and his friends (and enemies!).
For the most part, the book has a quick pace. Characterization is complete and realistic. I mean, how can you help but feel for poor Theo? He is the kind of hero I pull for. As a child, he is treated dreadfully and kept totally isolated from the world. When he wins his freedom, he has no idea how to interact with others and must learn even the most basic social skills from scratch (well, he does get some help from a book on etiquette). Then he discovers that he has inherited powers and a title, both of which he must use to save his new friends and civilization. The main female character, Chloe, is likewise strongly developed. Both are in their mid-teens.
Theo proves to be a very brave and inventive boy. His loyalty to his new friends rivals Percy Jackson. He inspires like loyalty from them as well.
I love Dakin's narrative voice. It is kind of like a mix between N. D. Wilson (100 Cupboards, Ashtown Burials) and Philip Reeve (Predator Cities and Fever Crumb). The world Dakin creates is refreshingly unique and creative. It's always fun to read a book that is not just a rehash of a currently popular theme.
I recommend the book and series to adults and kids alike. It won't take you long, if you read the book, to understand the Doors allusion in my review title.
The truth is much creepier. Theo soon realizes that his guardian is not the good man he believed him to be, and that Theo himself is quite powerful in ways he never knew.
CANDLE MAN is a new steampunk series for middle grade readers, with the second book just recently released. Theo is a fun narrator, finding himself as the reader goes along. It's interesting to see how The Society of Good Works is actually a bad group, and just how they disguise their plots as good deeds. It's definitely a lesson in manipulation and secrecy, but good old creepy fun for younger readers!
I loved that the book is set in London, as it fits the atmosphere really well and it makes sense that the various creatures, like Gargoyles, could come to life there. One of the most interesting characters was the butler, as he's a bit conflicting. You can't say he's perfectly good, but you can't say he's truly bad like other characters, either. He's certainly a fascinating man to think about.
THE SOCIETY OF UNRELENTING VIGILANCE is a quick read overall, and sure to excite fantasy fans!
Reviewed by: Lauren Ashley
Most Recent Customer Reviews
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