ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
“The Line between greatness and villainy is as thin as a garrote wire.”
First, let me start off by saying I’ve never read anything by Colleen Houck before. The Lantern’s Ember is written in third person omniscient (reading all the point of views from the main characters) while this did, in fact, help to figure out some of the plots, it was very clunky at times. It was hard to figure out whose point of view you were reading until the name was listed. This third person style also made it hard for me really feel invested into the main characters.
While the cover is indeed beautiful and I love how creepy it is, it annoys me how this cover doesn’t go well with this story at all. Jack is mentioned to be a Lantern multiple times, he had a floating pumpkin following him the whole book. Pick a Jack-o-Lantern as a play on words. The pumpkin makes different faces MULTIPLE times.
For the plot itself, I was just torn on what I did and didn’t like. This was such a cool premise and really got me excited to read something reminiscent of Sleepy Hollow and Penny Dreadful. However, the story really felt more like Halloweentown. The setting itself confused me. There was mention of some technology, submersibles, airships, but then Ember was wearing a corset and bustle. The four characters were just overused tropes that sometimes didn’t work for me. This was a mess of a love rectangle, that seemed to stop anyone’s character development.
Ember: I wasn’t really a fan of Ember throughout the whole book, she had no character development and never listened to reason. It frustrated me how shocked she was that people were tricking/lying to her.
Jack: I liked a little more. I’m always down for morally ambiguous characters and he fit right in. Seemed to not really care too much for the whole lantern thing. He was a little more developed and give me some cool Ichabod Crane vibes. I enjoyed his relationship with Finney.
Finney…. Ahhh the unrequited best friend love interest. I thought he was actually the most enjoyable to read. He was eager to learn and was an inventor. He was down any adventure. Still, his development stopped cold in its tracks as soon as he had to have internal monologues for Ember.
Dev: Listen I read Twilight when it came out I thought it was the best thing ever. I thought Edward Cullen was the end all be all to book boyfriends, but it’s been 10 years and I’ve grown. So for me to be reading about a Vampire with serious possessive issues rubbed me the wrong way. I HATED DEV. I don’t hate many characters, but I hated everything about DEV. He was a manipulated jerk, who was possessive of Ember so suddenly it gave me whiplash.
Spoiler Alert: There is this one scene where he didn’t like Ember dancing with Jack too closely, so he lures her outside, lies about his strength dwindling and then asks if he can feed off her, she says yes because Ember has been blind the whole time, and then while feeding her trying to compel her to run away with just him. Just thinking about that scene makes my blood boil. AND THERE ARE NO REPERCUSSIONS!!! Because the plot has to continue and then it’s like oh well, I guess we don’t have time for this. Ember doesn’t even care that she was manipulated like that because the plot doesn’t give time for anyone to discuss this.
Overall, I thought The Lantern’s Ember was a cool idea but a little bogged down by the overlapping romance and third-person storytelling. Yes, I ended up enjoying the story and I’ll recommend this to anyone who likes Halloweentown or just Halloween in general. I’m giving The Lantern’s Ember three stars for the cool story idea and because I did enjoy how easy it was to read.
The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.