THE LANTERN’S EMBER
GENRES/ SUBJECTS: YA Paranormal/Fantasy Romance
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.
The Lantern’s Ember has a stunningly beautiful cover: creepy and atmospheric. However, I think this might be one case where cover has a actually worked against my initial reaction to the book itself. When I picked up The Lantern’s Ember I was expecting something along the lines of Salem or Sleepy Hollow–something creepy and paranormal. Though the book does start that way, it quickly becomes far more of a portal fantasy adventure with airship pirates, darklords and mad scientists.
I actually enjoyed the story though, even if I kind of felt like there was an awful lot going on. The world Houck has created is very vivid. I really liked the settings and I thought they were easy to imagine and it was all very well described. I was particularly enamoured with the city Ember and Dev arrive at: a seedy underworld with illicit drug sales and contraband smuggling. I have liked to see more of it.
I really like the unique take Houck took on traditionally paranormal/ Halloweeny character types such as werewolves, witches, ghosts and bogeymen. Have you ever seen a vampire airship captain before? I could easily see spin-off books in this universe being really interesting if the author ever chose to write them.
There’s a big focus on the romance of the story. There’s a love square but it’s really obvious from the beginning who’s going to end up who, so it feels a the little pointless but it was quite interesting watching the characters interact.
I thought the ending was a little rushed, having a kind of ‘wrap up’, but overall it was a good, interesting read… Just not what the cover led me to expect.