Friday, September 7, 2018

Blog Tour Book Review: The Lantern's Ember + GIVEAWAY!

Release Date: September 11, 2018
Author: Colleen Houck
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Length: 416 pages
Source: eGalley for Review

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.



Protagonist: While this story is told from multiple points of view, after a while in this story it's plain to see that Ember O'Dare is the main protagonist of this story and since most of the other POVs are love interests I thought it made sense to only talk about her in this section. When we first properly meet Ember she's already quite a capable witch, I really appreciated that while she has character flaws such as being incredibly stubborn even in the face of mortal danger, she's still able to take a lot of agency in her own story and can hold her own against the threats that come up. While I think that things come too easily to her and she seems to have luck on her side more than once, she's still an interesting and compelling protagonist.

Romance: This is probably the biggest weakness of the entire story. At the start of this tale there's a lot of time spent establishing a connection between Jack and Ember, and during this time, while some of the things Jack does poke at the border between acceptable and sketchy, there is a really great chemistry there, then the love triangle is introduced. I'm calling it a love triangle since even though there's a third gentleman with romantic feelings for Ember it's made abundantly clear that those feelings are unrequited. So the thing is, I have no innate hate for love triangles, in fact, I love when love triangle tropes are subverted, but unfortunately not only is this love triangle very paint by numbers, but I just don't think love triangles can truly work in standalones and this book did nothing to dissuade me of that opinion. While Ember has some amount of chemistry with each of her suitors, they all just felt so stereotypical to me, Jack's the "Brooding Protector," Dev, yes his name is really Dev, is the "Bad Boy," and poor Finney is the "Best Friend" and they played those roles to a tee. Not only that but 90% they're either focused on or competing over Ember instead of focusing on the problems around them, though somehow they always seem to rally when an action scene starts.

World Building: The beginning of this tale is wonderful, there's a really autumnal Halloween vibe and the entire setting is extremely atmospheric. I thought that this story was going to take place in the modern day, but it seems like this story takes place not long after the Salem Witch Trials. The town Ember lives in is very quaint and I enjoyed the time we spend there, but most of the book takes place in another realm and that has a bit of a classic horror meets steampunk vibe to it. I have to admit at first it was very weird, especially since I was so comfortable in Ember's village, but as we spend more time in the Otherworld, the more I liked what I saw, while the story can go a bit slow at first, since the author spends a good amount of time setting up a wide variety of plotlines, the story does begin to pick up and the story really grew on me. While I do feel like things can resolve a bit too conveniently at times, the story, when not focusing on the romantic drama, was really interesting. I loved seeing more of this world and all the little Easter Eggs relating to classic horror, penny dreadfuls, and Halloween lore. I'm a huge sucker for folklore and I was so excited to see how this rendition of the Jack O' Lantern tale was done and was surprised and delighted to see a lot of other Halloween classic goodness in this story. I love the design for Jack in this story, but even though the author paints a pretty clear picture with her words, I could never stop imagining him as a scarecrow with a pumpkin head.

Predictability: One of the most interesting things about this story is how easy it was to pick up on all the information that will be important later, and yet even though I knew certain topics were going to come up again, every time they did it happened kind of out of the blue. It was really weird, it was almost as if the author set up these things and then never really continued foreshadowing before the big reveal. It wasn't bad necessarily, except for a few twists that felt more convenient than anything, all the other twists just felt randomly timed and while I do wish there was a tad more foreshadowing and that more time would be spent setting things up, but I still did enjoy the shock whenever an out of the blue twist would show up.

Ending: The final climax of this story was different than I expected, I was expecting more action and instead, the final climax is a lot more character driven which I really enjoyed. As for how everything wraps up, well this is a standalone and thanks to an epilogue every little plot thread is wrapped up rather neatly and while I enjoyed this world and would like to see more of it another time if the author decides to never visit this world again I wouldn't feel heartbroken.


This was a really tough choice, but even though I hate the majority of the romance in this book, the main storyline and world are fascinating and while I'm not a fan of certain character(s) there are a lot of great side characters in this tale, and the magic system and how it mixes with the world is really cool.

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.


3 winners will receive a finished copy of THE LANTERN'S EMBER, US Only.

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1 comment:

  1. The cover is creepy, yet I can't take my eyes off of it. This book has been on my radar since i first found out about it--it sounds suspenseful and amazing.