Candle Man: Society of Dread by Glenn Dakin
|Candle Man: Society of Dread by Glenn Dakin|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: The Candle Man returns in this second volume about a British - yes, British! - teen superhero. Pacy and packed with rather marvellous villains, this steampunk and comic book-inspired series will be a big hit with tween readers.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 384||Date: May 2011|
|External links: Author's website|
We left Theo after he had discovered his true identity as the Candle Man and defeated his evil ex-guardian, Dr Saint. The young boy is still ambivalent about his superhero status and conflicted over his ability to use tripudon energy to melt his - and London's - enemies. But the fight against evil pays no attention to inexperience or moral ambiguity and Theo is about to find himself down in the Network again. This time, his attempts to return The Society of Good Works to its original benevolence are thwarted by the renaissance of an old, and even more terrifying, villain - Dr Pyre. With his friends abducted and enslaved, Theo must use his Candle Man abilities once again...
I love the setting Glenn Dakin has dreamed up for these books. Underground, the dark, steamy corridors of the Network are bleak and scary with a Victorian feel, reminiscent of books in the popular steampunk genre. But on the surface is quite a contemporary world with computers and a modern police force. Over the series, this will allow for all sorts of wiggle room and variety in Candle Man adventures.
The Society of Dread itself, though, has a completely steampunk feel as Theo must meet and vanquish the malevolent Dr Pyre and prevent the Wondrous Machines from being used. Aside from this arch-villain, we're also given the crelp - horrible, eel-like creatures who suck out brains and steal bones and have laugh-out-loud lines such as Please to stand still and not killing us back. Marvellous!
My only reservation is Theo himself. We like our heroes to be reluctant ones. We like our superheroes to have weedy alter-egos. But there's reluctant and there's so wet it's dripping. And Theo is that wet and he isn't the Candle Man in secret, so his nerdiness and nervousness is a tad deflating. He has an explanatory backstory - the evil guardian from book one - but I do hope he gets over it in following books.
But this is a nitpick: I can see this series running for a long time. It's pacy and accessible, with fantastic villains and a really great comic book feel. Tween readers - both boys and girls - are going to stick with it, I'm sure. In fact, I'm looking forward to book three myself!
You can read more book reviews or buy Candle Man: Society of Dread by Glenn Dakin at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Candle Man: Society of Dread by Glenn Dakin at Amazon.com.
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