Elise Abram's Reviews > The Necromancer Candle: And Two Additional Tales of Contemporary Fantasy

The Necromancer Candle by Randy McCharles
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Jul 18, 2014

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Randy McCharles, author of "The Necromancer Candle" (Edge Publishing) is a master storyteller in this collection of three novellas. Each of the novellas tells a compelling story with well-rounded characters.

In the first story, “The Necromancer Candle”, teenage Cassidy is reeling having just lost her mother in a break-in. Cassidy is dying from brain cancer and struggles coping with her mother dying before her. She must battle Child and Family Services and the return of her estranged father. If that wasn’t enough, she sees visions of a dishevelled man she’s not sure is real, or a product of her cancer addled brain. Her life is thrown into further upheaval when she learns her family has been tasked since medieval times with protecting the necromancer candle.

In “Full House”, unemployed Jonas spends his time painting house and playing cards with his neighbours. When a neighbour is murdered and the head of the family tasks him with finding the murderer, Jonas is swept into an age old quest for the holy grail with ties to King Arthur and Merlin.

In “Merlin’s Silver”, Joan buys a silver tea set on a whim at auction. Amidst requests by shadowy figures to purchase the tea set from her, Joan contends with a wave of deathly bad luck. Though Joan is in this adventure with her husband, best friend, and a peculiar stranger, she alone must decide what to do with the tea set.

I read "The Necromancer Candle" inside of a week. I found the stories gripping and the characters interesting but marred by the deus ex machina method of plot resolution. “The Necromancer Candle” has wisps of the supernatural woven throughout, but the true supernatural aspect of the candle is not revealed until the climax and denouement. There is nothing paranormal about “Full House” (with the exception of a false reporting of a pentagram in a neighbour’s basement) until the climax. By contrast, “Merlin’s Silver” is rife with references to black magic and Merlin, but the magic doesn’t manifest until the climax. Though I was drawn in by each of the stories (with the exception of “Merlin’s Sliver” which seemed more farcical than not), I was let down by the climax.

In The Necromancer Candle, McCharles has great potential, but it falls flat. Perhaps this is due to the choice of narrative point of view. In each case, McCharles chooses the viewpoint of an outsider, totally uninitiated into the world of the supernatural. Had the first story been narrated by Cassidy’s father instead of Cassidy herself, for example, the same story might have had a more satisfying climax, as the reader would be in on the magic from the start.

One last note: I received a free copy of "The Necromancer Candle" by Randy McCharles in exchange for this review. My hope for this novel is that Edge plans to edit further before publishing to eliminate many of the typographical errors within.
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July 18, 2014 – Shelved
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