REVIEW: Shadow of the Candle (Elements of the Æther #1) by Marin Wyden

Shadow of the Candle (Elements of the Æther Book 1) - Marin Wyden, Sally Evans-Darby, Richard Sheehan, Joe Pee

I read this book last year, but with the recent release of the third book I decided to do a proper review.


To get right to it, this book is one of the best fantasy novels I read in recent years. Regular readers of my reviews know I frequently harp on poor plotting, which is an all too common occurrence in many fantasy novels (a wizard did it!).


That doesn't happen here. The plot begins in the city of Rios where an entire magic guild vanishes without a trace from within their own guild seat. This event sets several factions into motion, each represented by one of the six point of views in the book. The point of view style of the book is similar to Game of Thrones, an entire chapter deals with one character's point of view.


Most importantly, however, it's the characters that drive the plot. The actions of one character frequently affect events in a manner that causes things to rapidly shift for another character, who then is forced to respond and change things for yet another character. Needless to say, the six characters and the factions they represent all have their own ideas on how to handle the crisis and frequently get in each other's way. Sometimes as allies, sometimes as enemies.


In essence, it's basically a mystery novel that just happens to be set in an epic   fantasy world. Even the cliffhanger of the book throws you for a loop as the expected 'big finale' isn't what you expect it would be.


The only issue I have, which prevents me from giving five stars is that the writing is a bit shaky in some spots, but never to the point of distraction. I actually do appreciate the style, which is light on description. Show, don't tell.


Final verdict:

This is the sort of book that is right up my alley and I therefore cannot recommend it enough. If you care in any way about well-crafted character-driven fantasy plots then this is the book for you.