Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Review: Candlewax (Sims)

AUTHOR: C. Bailey Sims
SERIES: none
PUBLISHER: Terabyte Press
ISBN: 9780983981110
PAGES: 384
SOURCE: NetGalley
GENRE: epic fantasy

SUMMARY: When she flees her palace home to escape an arranged marriage, Princess Catherine of Crystallia has no idea she is about to encounter a legendary giant cat or that she is an essential element in an ancient prophecy. Together with the cat, a village girl, and a rejected suitor, Catherine sets out to stop an evil king and thousands of dormant creatures that seek to dominate Crystallia and the surrounding kingdoms.

WARNING: The reviews on this site are intended for librarians who need thorough book reviews in order to make informed purchasing decisions. As such, anything below this warning may contain mild spoilers. I try not to give away too much, but I do review the entire book.

WHAT I LIKED: May I please move to Candlewax? The world-building in this book is incredible! From majestic castles to burning forests of Candlewax trees to the unforgiving land of Cinna, the fantasy world is breathtakingly beautiful and cold and evil at the same time.

Well-paced. I was sucked into the story right away and, for the most part, had a hard time putting it down. Sims provides plenty of conflict to keep the story moving; there were times when I wondered, "How on earth are they going to get out of this mess?"

Strong characters. Princess Catherine, Bessie, and Cyril are all likeable, brave, and clever. Readers will love to hate thoroughly evil characters such as Kallik, Warren, Julia, and Magnus. Even though King Cyril is a bit of a "golden boy," I liked him anyway. His feelings for Catherine are so obvious and shy and sweet, and I especially love how Cyril is not the typical "bad boy" love interest so prevalent in today's YA literature. Though their romance is fairly new, Cyril and Catherine seem to be the kind of couple that lasts.

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: The battle scene at the end is a little drawn-out, and I found myself skimming the last 40 pages or so. I like how the story wraps up but leaves a few loose ends for the sequel, Tebrek. Maybe Bessie will find love in that one; I felt kind of sorry for her, always having to look on as Catherine and Cyril grow closer and closer.

BOTTOM LINE: Despite a slightly sluggish ending, fans of Cashore's Graceling or Golding's Dragonfly will love Candlewax.

READALIKES: Graceling (Cashore); Legacy (Kluver); The Seer and the Sword (Hanley); Dragonfly (Golding)

  • Overall: 4/5
  • Creativity: 5/5
  • Characters: 5/5
  • Engrossing: 4/5
  • Writing: 4/5
  • Appeal to teens: 4/5
  • Appropriate length to tell the story: 3/5

  • Language: none
  • Sexuality: very mild; a couple of kisses
  • Violence: medium; several bloody murders of people and animals; sword fighting and hits from arrows
  • Drugs/Alcohol: very mild; "bad guys" get drunk

STATUS IN MY LIBRARY: When the book is published, I will definitely be getting a copy for my library. Great for middle schools!


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