My reviewrating: 4 of 5 stars
The back jacket blurb says that this is like Percy Jackson and Septimus Heap... I'd say it's more like A Series of Unfortunate Events meets Neverwhere/Un Lun Dun and The Mysterious Benedict Society.
Theo is one of those unfortunate/fortunate orphans - unfortunate in that he's basically a prisoner, kept separate from the world because of a mysterious disease, fortunate because Dr. Saint, Mr. Nicely and Clarice are all there to protect and care for him. On his birthday (I'm guessing 15th, but it's never stated), he's allowed a visit to the nearby graveyard where he finds a mysterious package: a snowglobe that "snows" dark soot and the message that he's in danger and needs to get out.
The conceit of a Candle Man ridding the world of dangerous criminals with Batmanesque names, of smoglings and garghouls, and a Society of Good Works battling the Society of Unremitting Vigilance is well constructed. Theo's life takes some unusual twists and by the end you wonder if Book Two's adventures will live up to Book One. We'll see.
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