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Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite
Candlewicke 13: Death's Mortal Plague by Milan Sergent is the fifth and final book in the un-coming of age fantasy and magic Candlewicke 13, preceded by book one, Curse of the McRavens, book two, The Tombstone Forest, book three, Under the Crescent Moon, and book four, The 13th Hour Begins. This installment picks up with Valor McRaven and his younger, but really very old, sister Doomsy Gloomsy, alongside their recently reunited ragtag group of friends and compatriots of the coven. Hoopenfangia remains under threat of the Grim Warlock's Thirteenth Hour, which Valor is fearful cannot be stopped, aided by Death's Vial of Mortal Plague suspected to be at the helm of the Army of Ancients. The Candlewicke coven is left with little to press forward with as a draconian decree against the use of magic for anything but benevolence. The Hermetic Order, loss of life, murder, the possibility of betrayal by Valor's parents, and a whole host of horrible setbacks make their mission more difficult and more urgent than any could have imagined.
Death's Mortal Plague is a spectacular closing of the Candlewicke 13 series and Milan Sergent delivers it with writing that shimmers as brightly as the magic itself. Once more the coven is faced with the impossible and once more Sergent maneuverers them deftly through a sharp plot and subplots that keep a reader fully immersed. I love the tension and fallibility of even the most likable characters, humanizing a pack that is anything but human. There is a scene where spirits Genola and Ambergis redress perceived offensives in a display that is laced with exceptionally vivid imagery. “The wicked energies sent all the chairs sliding away from the table and against the wall.” The sense of danger and urgency and sacrifice really ties together the coven and those who support them at all costs against all manner of evil. I admit I'm a little bit jealous of those who may just be beginning the series now and in the future on account of them having the opportunity to binge on Candlewicke 13 all at once. Still, the finale was definitely worth the wait and I'm so chuffed to have bought the ticket and taken the wild ride.