Book Reviews

Review: The Lantern’s Ember by Colleen Houck

While I thought I was going to love The Lantern’s Ember, I ended up only liking it. I’m not sure if I just expected too much of it, or if the characters and I didn’t quite click.


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.


(Disclaimer: I received this free book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

I had high hopes for this book, and I think that may actually be where my problem is stemming from. From the cover, and the synopsis, I was expecting this incredibly spooky eerie story. I grew up around the area of Sleepy Hollow and Tarrytown, NY so I think that these books normally pique my interest more than others. But while I was expecting this totally Halloween vibe story, the eerie and supernatural elements weren’t bold enough for me.

At the beginning of the book, I was totally hooked. While we are still in NY and Jack is explaining all the supernatural elements that live around us in plain sight. I love the idea that we are surrounded by the supernatural without even knowing it. And the integration of the headless horseman! Perfect. But as soon as Ember and Jack traveled to the Otherworld, I found myself losing interest.

While there, the book becomes more about these supernatural creatures almost in this fantastical steam punk world. Or that’s what it reminded me of with airships and technology like electricity (except powered by witches). And then  my interest waned. Not to mention our protagonist, Ember has a lot of love interests. Which isn’t itself a problem except I dislike love triangles and this was more of a square. But it seemed pretty clear from the beginning who Ember was going to end up with, so I just saw them more as distractions.


That being said, if you are more in the mood for a portal fantasy, with interesting world building, and romance, then The Lantern’s Ember is for you. It’s just not what I was expecting. There were all sorts of really interesting and intriguing side characters, but they didn’t have as much air time as the main ones. That being said, would I read a whole book about Jack and his past? For sure.

Find The Lantern’s Ember on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound & The Book Depository.


What myth from your home area would you want to read about in a book?

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