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Candle Man, Book One: The Society of…

Candle Man, Book One: The Society of Unrelenting Vigilance

by Glenn Dakin

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School Library Journal
Gr 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 ( )
  EBurggraf | Apr 6, 2012 |
The Society of Unrelenting Vigilance is the first novel in the Candle Man series of books by Glenn Dakin. The book has been nominated for the Great Stone Face Book Award.
The Society of Unrelenting Vigilance starts off much like the life of the protagonist, Theo, boring and plodding; but along with Theo, the reader is suddenly picked up and carried away into a bizarre world. Theo possesses a unique ability, his caretakers refer to it as a disease, that places him at the heart of a centuries old conspiracy between two secret organizations. Despite his lack of education and worldliness, Theo is forced to choose between these opposing ideologies, and try to save not only himself, but the people he comes to care for and the entire world as well.
The Society of Unrelenting Vigilance is filed at my local library in the juvenile section despite the sometimes graphic depictions and number of characters that are killed. The reading level is suitable to young readers, but some parents may be sensitive to the themes.
  SprouleT | Dec 6, 2011 |
This book is about Theo, and he supposedly has a "deadly disease". He has been isolated by everyone except 3 people: his guardian, his butler, and his maid. This book was written by Glenn Dakin, and I'd say it's a pretty good book. This is a sort of sad book, since Theo only had contact with 3 people, and it's sort of weird. It gets from sad to weird to weirder and finally very weird. Kind of cool through.

Okay, here's the summary. Theo's life changed when he found a note while in the graveyard with his butler. He reads the message, and then was met by some other people (other than the usual 3). When he and Chloe (the person who helped guide him away) he took off his gloves and touched a man. He immediatly melted. Then he and Chloe found out that his "horrible, deadly disease" was just a ruse, or a mistake, and that's why he wears the gloves. He goes through all this adventure, and finds out *SPOILER* that his guardian was the antagonist. ( )
  SungJeCo | May 29, 2011 |
Reviewed by Lauren Ashley for TeensReadToo.com

Theo has never been around more than three people in his life: his guardian, the butler, and the maid. He has been told he has a serious illness, having to be put inside the Mercy Tube every day, always having to wear gloves, and he's never allowed to do anything too exciting for fear of over-stimulation.

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! ( )
  GeniusJen | Jan 6, 2011 |
Theo has been told he has a rare skin disease. That is why he can’t go outside, has never known more than 3 people and has to have treatments in the ‘mercy tube’. One day, however, he is kidnapped. Once he has escaped from his guardian he discovers a whole new strange world; a world of secret societies, strange creatures and frightening powers.
Although definitely a horror story there are also many humorous touches as Theo attempts to reconcile the real world with what he has always been told. This is the first book in a series that is already being compared to Percy Jackson and it would suit children 10 and up. ( )
  RefPenny | Oct 11, 2010 |
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Thirteen-year-old Theo, who has lived in seclusion his entire life, discovers he is the descendant of the Candle Man, a Victorian vigilante with the ability to melt criminals with a single touch.

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