CANDLEWOOD: A WIZARD’S HERITAGE
By Carol Louise Standley
Indie Reader RATING: 3.5
Crafted with warmth and evident fondness for the genre, Carol Louise Standley's CANDLEWOOD: A Wizard’s
Heritage promises old-fashioned fun for readers hungry for traditional epic fantasy with a playful twist.
Young Adult (/book-reviews/?_sft_book_genre_tax=young-adult)
Posted by Edward Sung | June 3, 2022
A seemingly-ordinary farm boy living on the edges of a mysterious, magical forest, is propelled into a world of wonder
and peril when an evil wizardess threatens his family's lives in Carol Louise Standley's debut fantasy epic.
CANDLEWOOD (https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/candlewood-a-wizard-s-heritage): A Wizard’s Heritage opens
in classic fantasy-epic fashion, with a callow young man eager to escape his mundane existence and seek a life of
heroism and adventure. Gaylen, an ordinary, un-magical farmboy, lives on the edges of mysterious Candlewood Forest,
rumored to be the home of dragons, elves, ogres, and other fantastical creatures. One day, Gaylen encounters an old
man (known by locals, appropriately enough, as “Ol’man”), who reveals himself to be a wizard. It isn’t long before
Gaylen—who soon discovers his own magical potential—is drawn into the forest’s otherworldly secrets, and embarks
upon a perilous quest to save his family and ful�ll his true destiny.
Fans of fantasy and fairy tales will recognize bits and pieces of their favorite works throughout CANDLEWOOD, from
the “seemingly unremarkable hero who discovers he’s a wizard” premise to the hero’s journey that pits Gaylen against
implacable evil—a wicked wizardess named Murchesla Crona—and introduces him to a world full of colorful, mystical
Author Carol Louise Standley brings a lifetime of passion for epic fantasy to CANDLEWOOD, her debut novel,
which shines with obvious affection and deep knowledge of the genre. Readers will appreciate the richness and
breadth of Standley’s world-building (the novel’s various factions, including elves, dwarves, and goblins, have their own
distinct personalities and traditions) and an eye for detail that breathes life and naturalism to this mythical setting.
Standley’s fondness for fantasy literature may also be her book’s chief weakness; much of the story feels cobbled
together from other works, from the Harry Potter series to The Lord of the Rings, as well as Piers Anthony’s Xanth
tales. Very little about Gaylen’s quest feels surprising or unexpected, and while the writing is polished and competent,
the novel too often lapses into long, overcrowded passages that read more like plot summary than vibrant storytelling.
While uneven in execution, however, CANDLEWOOD offers much to appreciate, from its energetic pacing and vivid
characterizations to Standley’s charming addition of children’s fairy tale elements to a genre that tends toward stony
Crafted with warmth and evident fondness for the genre, Carol Louise Standley’s CANDLEWOOD
(https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/candlewood-a-wizard-s-heritage): A Wizard’s Heritage promises old-fashioned
fun for readers hungry for traditional epic fantasy with a playful twist.
~~Edward Sung for Indiereader