source for free and $1 books


Powered by FreeFind

Site search
Web search

    Review of TO LIGHT A CANDLE by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory


    TOR, October 2004

    When Knightmage Kellen breaks the barrier that has kept rain from the elf kingdom, he knows it's only a small victory in the new war against the dark. The demons of darkness respond quickly, attacking elves with monster-wolves and, when the elves attempt to move their children to a guarded fortress, kidnap the son of the elf-King. Now Kellen must lead a rescue party--but how can he expect to prevail against a mysterious force that has already destroyed the strong guard over the children?

    What Kellen finds is an entire civilization--elves somehow corrupted by the darkness. He and the elves agree that they must be eliminated, but the genocide will take time--and Kellen knows that the demons have plans to use that time.

    In the great city of Armethalieh, the demon's secret emisary continues his work in undermining the mages' affiliation with the light. If he can divide these humans from their traditional elf allies and the wild mages, darkness's triumph becomes inevitable. Political distraction amongst the leading mages, and a few well-placed hints and threats let Anegrel move up in the ranks, to become a leader--and the adopted son of the city's chief mage. With the elves distracted and the mage council's mind poisoned against the wild magic and the elves, darkness stands at the verge of victory.

    Authors Mercedes Lackey (see more reviews of novels by Lackey) and James Mallory (see more reviews of novels by Mallory) continue their high-fantasy in a world where each defeat of darkness leaves the elves and the other hosts of light weaker and less able to continue the battle. Kellen shows increasing maturity as he understands his strengths as well as his weaknesses and forces himself to confront his deepest fears. Adding to the stories interest, Lackey and Mallory add another victim of the city's banishment--a young high-mage used by Anegrel. Cilarnen is a distorted image of Kellen--the man he was supposed to be--and the two grow through contact with one another.

    Fans of this series will welcome the exciting second book. There's plenty of action, lots of unicorns, the introduction of a dragon, the first elf-mage in three ages, and a deeper understanding of the magic system underlying the Lackey/Mallory world. I had a few problems with the story, however. First, I thought the immediate decision that the shadowed elves could only be genocided was harsh. Given that they'd already determined that the daughter of a demon could serve the light, how could they be so certain that none of the shadowed elves, not even the babies, could be saved? The elves realization that the shadowed elves were their cousins made this logic failure even stronger. Second, the demons seem too willing to sacrifice their pawns for no benefit at all. Even if they didn't value them as beings, surely they would want them to be more effective in the battle against the elves.

    Although these flaws occasionally pulled me out of the story, strong writing, plenty of adventure, and a powerful magic system tugged me back in.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 4/05/05

    Ready to buy it? Click the button:

    Want to learn more?
    Click this link and see more reviews, similar books, and other Amazon information on TO LIGHT A CANDLE from

    Rather buy it from Barnes and Noble?
    Click this link for TO LIGHT A CANDLE from Barnes and

    Too generous? Too stingy. Or did I miss the whole point? Send your comments to I'll publish the best letters I get so let me know if I can use your name.