Part of the reason I chose to review Candlewax is because it sounded like something I would like: a prophecy, a magical heirloom, a mythical beast, and a story that happens long ago and far away. But, I was completely unprepared for how much I would enjoy it! C. Bailey Sims has crafted a story that rivals other greats in its genre, like Christopher Paolini’s Eragon.
The story follows Princess Catherine of Crystallia as she flees her kingdom rather than marry some prince from a nearby land. She sets out with a bag of jewels and some heirlooms left to her by her grandmother, but her journey to a far away town by the ocean is quickly sidetracked when Catherine is attacked by robbers. A fairrer cat, a magical creature the size of a horse, named Spelopokos saves Catherine, and in doing so changes her life forever. This wise and sarcastic beast reveals parts of Catherine’s heritage that have been kept from her and clues her into the real dangers that the land of Lackanay is facing. In addition to an evil ruler named Kallik, ravenous trodliks are waiting for Pokos to die so they can awaken and feast on the land until it nothing but barren desert. Unable to leave Pokos to fend for himself after saving her life and educating her on an important part of her legacy, Catherine embarks on a dangerous journey that will either completely save or destroy her kingdom and all of the surrounding lands.
The plot moves swiftly and often in directions you don’t expect (although there are a few guess-able plot points, as well) yet the action doesn’t flow at the expense of character development. All of the characters are very well developed with their intentions clear and their personalities very distinct. Candlewax‘s heroine, Catherine, is stubborn, bold, spoiled, and brave, but she also as the uncertainty of someone still finding her way in the world. Cyril, the Candlewax King and Catherine’s intended husband, is wise for his age, brave, and mature in the way that all good rulers are in this type of story. I loved watching them work together despite her unwillingness to be part of an arranged marriage and his inability to figure her out (Cyril sounds like a lot of guys I know;)
Sims’ also develops an amazing world in which the setting is another character. The landscape contains so many exotic features: the ever-burning Candlewax trees, gothic castles, the wilds of Cinna, even the barren desert of Devona.
I highly recommend C. Bailey Sims’ Candlewax. It is expert storytelling that draws you into the novel and I savored every second of reading it. Its sequel, Tabrek, will be on my must-read list.
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An Ancient Prophecy. A Powerful Relic. An Insatiable Evil. When all three converge, the fate of every living thing will be in peril.
All her life Catherine had hoped to see a fairrier cat. No book, no scroll provided to her by her tutors had ever mentioned this legend, much to her frustration, and now-at the worse possible time-she was getting her wish. Only, in her wish the cat wasn’t about to kill her.
A 732-year-old fairrier cat the size of a horse has killed his fair share of hunters. Driven to the brink of extinction for the supernatural powers of his coat, is he indeed the last of his kind?
Sheltered, 16-year-old Catherine is about to find out. Unwitting heir to the Ancient Onyxes, she flees an arranged marriage only to stumble upon the cat’s secrets, the force of the ancient relic she wears, and the dangerous mission they must undertake.
Hidden under a desert that was once a fertile land, millions of predators are waiting to feast again. Catherine must discover the secret of the Ancient Onyxes and stop the creatures known as trodliks before they consume everything in their path. A whispered prophecy becomes her only guide and a rejected suitor just might be the one warrior she desperately needs.