I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Lantern's Ember by Colleen Houck
Published by Delacorte Press on September 11, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Supernatural, Paranormal, mythology
Buy on Amazon
Welcome to a world where nightmarish creatures reign supreme.
Five hundred years ago, Jack made a deal with the devil. It’s difficult for him to remember much about his mortal days. So, he focuses on fulfilling his sentence as a Lantern—one of the watchmen who guard the portals to the Otherworld, a realm crawling with every nightmarish creature imaginable. Jack has spent centuries jumping from town to town, ensuring that nary a mortal—or not-so-mortal—soul slips past him. That is, until he meets beautiful Ember O’Dare.
Seventeen, stubborn, and a natural-born witch, Ember feels a strong pull to the Otherworld. Undeterred by Jack’s warnings, she crosses into the forbidden plane with the help of a mysterious and debonair vampire—and the chase through a dazzling, dangerous world is on. Jack must do everything in his power to get Ember back where she belongs before both the earthly and unearthly worlds descend into chaos.
Wow, this book was not at all what I was expecting! But I kind of love that because I really liked what it was. Colleen Houck is a YA author I’ve seen around a lot but never gotten to read. The one thing I love about her style is the visceral experience she provides. I literally FELT fall reading this book. I live in South Texas, where there is no threat to the end of summertime, but I could literally smell the apple-cider and pumpkin spice when I was reading this book.
First of all, the cover is what originally drew me in. It’s inviting, yet haunting, and beautifully made. The artist did an absolutely splendid job because I could not get the book out of my head. Second, for anyone who is a lover of fall, paranormal, and Halloween, the synopsis will have you practically drooling for the book. So, naturally, I had to join this blog tour!
This book did seem like it could have been the perfect middle-grade story, if not for the romance. However, I was happy to see a younger YA read that I could recommend to my daughter. Ember herself was a fun character – completely compelling in the dichotomy that she both seemed completely competent in her own skills, but also a little naive when it came to the world. She was bold and headstrong, but also kind of to the point where she missed the danger just lurking around the corner. Even so, this made her all the more interesting to read about. I feel like I should point out the romance in the book once more because it was so overdone. There were THREE potential love interests, which just seemed like too much for a standalone novel. I loved the connection between Jack and Ember, especially at the beginning of the book, so the continuing chaos of all these extra relationship opportunities felt like overkill. I did like the characters, but at times it felt like there were so many that we didn’t get adequate time to really learn more about them and delve under their skin, so to speak. That’s really the downside to a standalone. The upside is that you get to invest in a wonderful world without having to carve out time to read several books at once. This is refreshing, especially considering I’m constantly looking down the barrel of series with 6-9 books in them.
The world-building has to be my favorite part of the book. I was absolutely spell-bound by Ember’s village – it was one of my favorite parts of the book just because Houck did such a wonderful job detailing everything. I felt like I was THERE. It’s clear from the synopsis, and Ember’s passive feelings towards the plainness of the village, though, that we wouldn’t stay there long. And of course, we didn’t. Instead, we are thrust into a world that I’m sure you’ll see many reviews call steampunk. There was definitely a horror vibe to the place, but I never FELT scared. It was just more of that overarching theme. Even so, the classic Halloween vibes and storylines were sensational. You could see the work to tie in lots of folklore into the story. There’s not only Jack, whose soul is in a pumpkin, but witches, vampires, werewolves, and more. You’re definitely going to see a lot of the classics.
Overall, the world was fun and had a lot to left to explore if the author ever sides to delve back in. However, I think it was a wonderfully encapsulated story. Overall, this is best read with a nice warm blanket, some rain on your windowsill, and a hot cup of apple cider.
Three winners will receive a finished copy of The Lantern’s Ember! Enter to win below (US Only)
9/3/2018- Captivated Reading– Review
9/4/2018- Jrsbookreviews– Review
9/5/2018- Portrait of a Book– Review
9/6/2018- YA Books Central– Interview
9/7/2018- Zach’s YA Reviews– Review
9/10/2018- Such A Novel Idea– Review
9/11/2018- Lisa Loves Literature– Review
9/12/2018- Wishful Endings– Interview
9/13/2018- The Bookish Libra– Review
9/14/2018- Here’s to Happy Endings– Review
9/17/2018- The Desert Bibliophile– Review
9/18/2018- Smada’s Book Smack– Review
9/19/2018- Book-Keeping– Review
9/20/2018- A Dream Within A Dream– Review
9/21/2018- A Court of Coffee and Books– Review
9/24/2018- Do You Dog-ear?– Review
9/25/2018- Savings in Seconds– Review
9/26/2018- Book Briefs– Review
9/27/2018- Pacific Northwest Bookworm– Review
9/28/2018- Two Chicks on Books– Excerpt