Blog Tour – Review & Giveaway for THE LANTERN’S EMBER by Colleen Houck
Published by Delacorte Press on September 11, 2018
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy, Paranormal
FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley. All opinions are my own.
Today is my stop on the Rockstar Book Tours blog tour For Colleen Houck’s latest novel, The Lantern’s Ember and I’m thrilled to be able to share my thoughts on this unique and atmospheric read with a fun Halloween-themed twist. This was my first time reading one of Colleen Houck’s books and after experiencing The Lantern’s Ember, I’m really looking forward to checking out more from her!
The Lantern’s Ember follows Jack and Ember. Jack used to be mortal until 500 years ago when he made a pact with the devil that led to him being sentenced as a Lantern. As a Lantern, his job is to guard one of the portals to the Otherworld and keep everyone – mortal and non-mortal – on their respective sides of the portal. He is supposed to immediately report to his supervisor if any mortal or supernatural creature ends up on the wrong side. Ember is a teenage witch who, thanks to Jack and his ability to conceal her witch light, has managed to live undetected in the mortal realm for most of her young life.
Until now, that is. Someone has detected Ember’s presence and wants to meet her. A handsome vampire named Dev is hired to retrieve Ember, not a difficult task since Ember has been itching to visit the Otherworld for as long as she has known of its existence. Jack, who has deemed himself Ember’s protector, has done everything in his power to deter Ember from the Otherworld, but the Vampire wins out and Ember slips away right under Jack’s nose.
Who could possibly be powerful enough to detect Ember when she should have been undetectable? How much trouble is she going to get into with her vampire in the Otherworld? Will Jack be able to find Ember now that she has a vampire cloaking her? And if he can find her, can he bring her home safely?
Ember was probably the highlight of the book for me, primarily because she’s the catalyst for much of the story’s action. She is smart, sassy, and stubborn. Because she can’t resist the call of adventure or the allure of a dashing vampire, Ember completely ignores Jack’s warnings about the dangers of crossing over to the Otherworld. Although Ember is a natural born witch, she is self-taught as to how to use her powers. The result of her lack of formal training is that she is completely clueless as to how powerful she really is until she arrives in the Otherworld. It was very entertaining watching her gradually learn how to more effectively channel her witch powers.
Aside from liking Ember, I also developed a soft spot for Jack immediately. He lives a nearly solitary existence, a shell of a man, with his soul tethered to a pumpkin that he must carry around with him. My love for Jack grew as soon as it became clear that not only has he been well aware of Ember’s presence in the mortal world since she was a small child, but instead of doing his job and turning her in, he has actually devoted himself to hiding her from those who would destroy her, serving as her self-appointed guardian. He has strong feelings for Ember but knows that nothing will ever come of them because he’s stuck being a Lantern. Jack earned bonus points from me when in spite of his sentence, he risks everything to follow Ember to the Otherworld.
There are endless wonderful secondary characters in The Lantern’s Ember as well. Finney is, by far my favorite. He’s kind of a nerd who loves to tinker and invent things. He is a mortal and he and Ember grew up together. Finney knows that Ember is a witch and helps her practice her spells. He even designs gun-like weapons for her so that she can fire her spells at those she wishes to use them on. Jack’s pumpkin apparently thinks Finney is as precious as I do because it follows Finney around like a puppy and is super protective of him.
In addition to such great characters, the other highlight for me when it comes to The Lantern’s Ember is the absolutely brilliant worldbuilding. First of all, the Otherworld is surprisingly technologically advanced, way more so than the mortal realm. As soon as I got a glimpse of it, I wanted to explore the world just as much as Ember did and found myself willing her to continue on her adventure so that I could see more. I’m not sure exactly when the story is supposed to be set, but the Otherworld appears future-esque in comparison to the mortal realm.
Even cooler than the technology, however, was the way Houck also manages to incorporate both actual historical events and Halloween folklore to fully flesh out this world. She places real historical events, such as the Lost Colony of Roanoke and the Salem Witch Trials, and gives them plausible supernatural explanations. She then takes it a step further by seamlessly blending all of our Halloween spooky favorites into her story and giving them what felt like origin stories: the Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow, the Boogeyman, Frankenstein, the Bride of Frankenstein, and the Invisible Man, just to name a few. It was so much fun to turn the page and come across another favorite and see how Houck works her magic to incorporate them into her tale.
I don’t want to spoil anything about the adventure aspect of The Lantern’s Ember, so I’m just going to say that it’s a fast-paced adventure and that you’re in for a wild ride through the Otherworld, so buckle up!
I thought the book’s synopsis was a little misleading. It might just be me, but the synopsis makes it sound like the book will be pretty terrifying. Instead, I didn’t find it frightening at all. I found it whimsical and delightful. I’ve seen a few mixed reviews for the book and I have to wonder if that synopsis is giving people the wrong expectations for The Lantern’s Ember. The book also seemed to focus around romance more than I was expecting it to. More than one of our characters have crushes on Ember.
My only other issue with the book is that the ending felt a bit rushed. Again, it could have been me because I was having so much fun with the story that I didn’t want to say goodbye to the world or the characters.
If you’re looking for a scary Halloween-themed read, this book might not be for you. But if you’re interested in a Halloween-themed read that is pure fun and whimsical, and even contains a hint of romance, definitely consider checking out The Lantern’s Ember.
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.
Find it: Goodreads, Amazon, B&N, iBooks, TBD
3 winners will receive a finished copy of THE LANTERN’S EMBER, US Only.
Rafflecopter link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e2389ba2793/?
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
This sounds SO good and perfect for Halloween. I haven’t read this author yet either, but I really want to check this out. And I don’t mind scarier stuff, but I like that this is more whimsical. 🙂
It was a lot of fun to read. I’m not a big fan of scary books so I really appreciated the whimsical nature of this one.
ahhhh such an awesome review, this book sounds incredible. I’m adding it to my TBR!
I hope you enjoy it!
This sounds so cool! The world-building sounds awesome, and I love that all these other historical events are incorporated.
It really was cool!
This sounds so good! I had no idea there was a vampire character in this story, that’s making me even more excited to read it😁
I didn’t either so that was a fun surprise for me!
I LOVE the sound of this one, being a total wuss, so the fact that it isn’t scary is a major plus for me. And the other plus – that fabulous cover! Thank you for an excellent review, Suzanne:)
It was a major plus for me too, lol.
Well this one sounds like a lot of fun! I’m glad you mentioned that about the synopsis because it definitely comes across as a more scary read. Good to know in advance that it’s more whimsical than scary.
Yes, I think some of the mixed reviews for it so far have been because of that misleading synopsis.
I think this sounds good. I actually like that it is more whimsical than scary. Love the cover !!
I liked that about it as well, especially since I’m a big chicken when it comes to scary books anyway, lol.
I absolutely love the cover and it sounds amazing – I can’t wait to grab a copy of this!
I hope you enjoy it!
Ember sounds wonderful–fun and adventurous. I also need to meet this Finney dude. Shy, sweet male characters are my absolute favorites!
He’s so adorably nerdy. I loved Finney!
I love the cover! Adding to my tbr asap!
Thanks for the heads up about the synopsis! I hate when they’re misleading, but this one still sounds really good!
I hate it too. It usually really messes with my expectations for a book.
My impression of this from the synopsis was a bit different from your description of it. It sounds wonderful though, and I will definitely have to pick this one up to read. Your mention of brilliant world building may have something to do with that too. 🙂
Right? And it has some mixed reviews that I’m convinced are because people read that synopsis and go into it expecting something so different from what it really is.
Hey! I’m on this blog tour! How fun! I’m really glad I read your review beforehand, because I was expecting more of a scary or suspenseful story based on the synopsis. I’m happy to hear it’s whimsical and delightful, so I’ll have those expectations going in. Maybe this way I won’t be blindsided, because I haaaate it when a synopsis is misleading. There’s no reason to do that…
I’ve also seen varying reviews for this one, so here’s hoping I land on the positive side of the fence!
Lindsi @ Do You Dog-ear?
I really hope you enjoy the book! It surprised me how different the read was from what I was expecting, but I’m a big chicken so I loved that it was more of a fun than a frightening read.
Excellent review! And as I don’t like scary reads it might just be right up my alley 😉
If you read it, I hope you enjoy it!
Even the cover evokes feelings of fear, but whimsical and delightful sounds good too!
Right? I’m a big chicken so whimsical worked much better for me than scary would have, lol.
I prob couldn’t resist the allure of a dashing vampire either, tbh, so I can’t blame Ember for that 😛 Aww, I already love Jack just from your description! And his pumpkin! The Halloween stuff sounds fun too. This seems like an interesting book, I’m glad to see it was so good!
The pumpkin was adorable. I kind of wanted one of my own after watching how it was so protective of Finney.
That cover is beautiful and it sounds like a nice whimsical read. Glad you enjoyed it!
Thanks, me too!
I got the impression it was going to be scary from the synopsis also. Sounds like a fun Halloween read
I really enjoyed it! 🙂
I love that this defied expectations and was a delight and whimsical! I think it sounds like such an unexpected gem! (And also HIIII!!! Finally cleared cookies and can now comment!)
Yay, I’m so glad you were able to figure out what was going on. I kept looking around on my end and couldn’t find anything, lol.
You don’t see many YA books that are so explicitly in the spirit of Halloween like The Lantern’s Ember. I am not really into horror and super scary stories, so this book seems like the perfect middle ground for a wimp like me.
Thanks for the great review!
Lol, I’m a wimp too and it was exactly my kind of Halloween read 🙂