When Alaric ruled ancient Haven; his people turned on him and killed his son, causing Alaric to vow to leave Haven. But before doing so, he gave out seven unique necklaces to seven men and promised that his son would one day return from the dead and that a messenger would announce his coming.
Hundreds of years later, when the story has turned to legend, the messenger comes. He tells the land that Alaric’s son is returning to reclaim his land. Along the way, the messenger finds the seven men’s descendents. Together, they set out on as epic journey to tell every one of the upcoming battle. However, Rahm, the dark lord of wormwood, is aware of their task and has sent out Watch Eyes, nonhuman creatures, to stack out every town and to follow them. Rahm has also sent the land’s four wizards to reach the people before the seven men do and to spread rumors and lies. Join these seven men as they encounter wizards, Watch Eyes, dragons, and the very force of evil itself.
Melissa and Emily Boverhof are home school’ers from Grant Michigan and Seven Candles (The Reclaiming of Haven) is their debut novel. Unashamedly Christian in theme, the book’s introduction features the following words “Watching friends and teens alike become engulfed in fanaticism involving wizards, witches, dragons, powers, mysteries, magic, and legend inspired Melissa and Emily to write Seven Candles: The Reclaiming of Haven. They wanted to find a way to show these dark arts in their true light – evil - to teens everywhere.”
Strong words indeed and, reading between the lines, you would be led to believe that the Boverhof’s are not exactly smitten by the works of JK Rowling, JRR Tolkien, Robin Hobb and Christopher Paolini (amongst others). In fact, it seems that these two young authors are all that can stop the wicked fantasy authors turning sweet, god-fearing children into Satanists.
Whilst I was reading Seven Candles I was fortunate enough to come across an article written by E.F. Ortega entitled “Why Christian Fantasy Novels are not selling”. It perfectly voiced my inner thoughts and I have, by kind permission of the author, reproduced sections of that article to help illustrate what I feel are the shortcomings of this book.
“New York Times Bestseller List. Not many Christian High Fantasy series are on that list and that is because the shakers and movers in the literary capital of New York and beyond do not view Christian fantasy as something viable and appealing but as something unoriginal, narrow in scope and character development, and single-minded. The “Christian” way of storytelling draws heavy influence from medieval times when simplistic stories of completely evil dragons and completely virtuous champion knights pair off against each other in a battle unto the death. Historical Asian and Middle-Eastern storytelling was more diverse, more gritty and realistic as far as character depth and development. Their characters were not entirely virtuous or absolutely evil (not black and white like many Christian fantasy works today: which might I remind you secular editors summarily detest because of its lack of authentic humanity). The protagonists of Asian and Middle-Eastern lore were both evil and good, like true humans are.”
By taking certain words from the above I can briefly summarise the book. Seven Candles is unoriginal, narrow in scope, single-minded and, unfortunately, lacking in authentic humanity.
So what can authors of Christian Fantasy do to make both critics and readers want to read and review their work?
“Christian fantasy needs to modernize . . . to move away from the Euro-centric paradigm of fantasy storytelling and to mirror the reality of true humanity. This is why the Orson Scott Card’s, Robert Jordan’s, Sara Douglas's’, and Tad Williams’ of the world are influencing a fallen culture more than Redemptive Fantasy. This is because the masses will gravitate towards characters that are like themselves and not virtuous knights riding on white horses.”
Seven Candles is not a terrible book, but neither is it one that will be enjoyed by many whose thoughts do not mirror those of the two authors.
E.F. Ortega, along with his love for High Fantasy, is also a devout Biblical Scholar searching for truth both outside of the four walls of the church and within. He has over ten years of ministerial and pastoral experience and is a spiritual mentor to many within the entertainment, religious, and publishing industry. He lives in Maine with his beautiful wife, artist Sara Ferrer, and Elan Ezekiel, his rambunctious 2 year old baby boy.
Review by Floresiensis
2 positive reader review(s) for Seven Candles
The Reclaiming of Haven: Book 1
When Alaric ruled ancient Haven, his people turned on him and killed his son, causing Alaric to vow to leave Haven. But before doing so, he gave out seven unique necklaces [...]
Cody from USA
I totally disagree with the reviewer. Seven Candles is a REALLY good book. Who ever wrote this: Seven Candles is unoriginal, narrow in scope, single-minded and, unfortunately, lacking in authentic humanity - is really narrow minded. Ok, Seven Candles did remind me a several books, but they were all books that I love. I can prove that it is NOT unoriginal. Has anyone ever heard of Watch Eyes before they read this book? Who ever heard of Rahm before reading it? This book is amazing and would appeal to a lot of my friends, when they find out about it. All people need to do is get word about it out and then people will read it.
Steve from Orlando
This is a wonderful book for the pre-teen and teenage crowd. The story reads like the best of the classical bedtime stories and is perfect for parents who like to read to their children. The characters are fun and the story is engaging. I am looking forward to the next installment in the series!
7/10 from 3 reviews