Thanks to NetGalley and Wednesday Books for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: Available Now
Synopsis: 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 the earthly and unearthly worlds descend into chaos.
I was so excited to read this retelling of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, especially as it’s written by Colleen Houck who wrote the imaginative Tiger’s Curse series. I’m sorry to say that while it wasn’t a complete wash, I was left disappointed.
This is set sometime after the Salem witch trials, but you don’t really get a sense of where Ember lives. Most of the story focuses on the “otherworld” which is much more developed in terms of technology. It’s a little steampunkish which thrilled me to no end, and as usual the author does a beautiful job with world building. What did let me down though, was the lack of thrills and chills. I was expecting so much more spookiness given the story this was based on.
My main issue however was with the characters. First, there’s a love square, and you guys know how much I love those. (Yes that was sarcasm.) And, this was one of those rare stories where I actually liked the secondary characters more than the main one. I didn’t have strong feelings about Ember and Jack either way. They were just sort of “meh” for me. I loved the others though, especially Deila who’s a kickass pirate captain with a metal tooth. She’s all kinds of awesome and deserves her own story.
And finally, the way The Lantern’s Ember is written, it feels more middle-schoolish even with the annoying romantic entanglements. Ultimately this latest book by Houck just didn’t live up to my expectations. I’m still a fan of the author though so hopefully this is a one off.