Title: The Lantern's Ember
Author: Colleen Houck
Genre: YA paranormal
Release Date: September 11th, 2018
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Source: ARC received at ALA Summer 2018, which did not influence my opinions in any way.
My rating: 4 stars
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.
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This book was one of my unicorn ARCs to hopefully get when I attended ALA in New Orleans this past June, because I really enjoyed her other book that I'd read in the past. Getting a hold of this one made my day. And when I finally picked it up to read, I was not disappointed! Houck has created a beautiful world, or should I say, "Otherworld", with this story. I loved how she wove in details of well-known fairy tales and legends, along with creating new background stories or even giving more life to characters only touched on with our modern day recountings of these legends and tales. Not only did we get legends and fairy tales and monsters, but actual historical events were sprinkled throughout. I always have been intrigued by the whole Roanoke Colony mystery, and we got a unique new story for that. And then there was a trip into the Salem witch trials that also got its own retelling.
I mentioned that it was a beautiful world, and that was so much from the descriptions of this place, as well as the thought out mythology and unique takes on the creatures. At times it was very much like a kind of Alice in Wonderland world, but with witches and vampires and the boogeyman. Then there was Jack, a Lantern, as in Jack-o-Lantern, or even might call him the Headless Horseman. While I've read other tales that may have given you a bit of sympathy for this person, I fell in love with Jack in this book, and wished that he could actually be with his Ember, the witch who everyone seemed to be after. Another point in the book I felt as if it was reminiscent of Wizard of Oz, and I was on the edge of my seat as I read, waiting to find out who was this "man behind the curtain" going to really turn out to be. There were little clues sprinkled throughout the story, but it all went in a pretty unique way that I was kept hanging on and wondering until it was all wrapped up very neatly.
A great new paranormal, fantastical fairy tale retelling that I will be recommending to customers at the store where I work, and purchasing for the students at my library.
About the Author:
New York Times Bestselling author Colleen Houck is a lifelong reader whose literary interests include action, adventure, paranormal, science fiction, and romance. When she’s not busy writing, she likes to spend time chatting on the phone with one of her six siblings, watching plays, and shopping online. Colleen has lived in Arizona, Idaho, Utah, California, and North Carolina and is now permanently settled in Salem, Oregon with her husband and a huge assortment of plush tigers.
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