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The Lantern's Ember

Review

The Lantern's Ember

Five hundred years ago, Jack made a deal with the devil to save his village. To pay his due, Jack became a “lantern,” a gatekeeper of one of the crossroads between the human world and the Otherworld. For 500 years he’s guarded this crossroad, keeping vampires, werewolves, trolls, goblins and all sorts of creatures from entering the mortal realm. For centuries he has wandered from town to town alone --- until he meets Ember O’Dare.

Ember is similar to most 17-year-old girls --- beautiful, stubborn and endlessly curious. Except for one thing: she’s a witch. As she starts to get older, she feels an irresistible pull to the Otherworld. Despite Jack’s warnings, she finds her way into the Otherworld with the help of a vampire to explore the wonders of the other side. But the Otherworld is more sinister than simply magical. To keep her safe, Jack and Ember’s friend Finney journeys into the Otherworld after her to save not only Ember, but both realms, from being destroyed.

"[Houck] manages to reinvent even simple objects in a way that infuses them with magic, and makes readers look at the whole world in a different light."

Colleen Houck, author of the New York Times bestselling Tiger’s Curse and Reawakened series, shocks readers again with her magical new book THE LANTERN’S EMBER. Houck somehow manages to condense the entire idea of Halloween into one book. Every Halloween story ever told, from the boogeyman, to witches, to vampires, to jack o’lanterns, is worked into the story, each in a more unique way from the last. She manages to reinvent even simple objects in a way that infuses them with magic, and makes readers look at the whole world in a different light.

The characters are complex so as to keep them interesting, yet they have the simple drives that remind us of ourselves. Jack, the skeletal lantern whose unflinching attitude to outsiders is only softened by Ember, the endlessly curious, kind and trusting witch, and Dev, the devilish gentleman vampire who escorts Ember into the Otherworld as well as Finney, Ember’s inventive best friend who is a genius for his time and village (always tinkering, creating and investigating) all fight for Ember’s affections. With everyone revealing their true selves and inner goodness, it’s almost impossible to choose which character is my favorite.

THE LANTERN’S EMBER has something for everyone. From an old-timey village to ghost stories to pirates to steampunk influences, nobody is left unsatisfied. As the story continued, the plot grew thicker and thicker, until everything that I once thought I knew was thrown into question. Every new scene was described with such vivid detail that I could feel myself wandering through the forest to Jack’s bridge as I read.

In a world where all the stories are real, Ember will start on a journey with her friends that will change everything she knew about herself, her world and everyone she knows. Ever wondered why ghosts haunt, who the headless horseman was, or why they’re called jack o’lanterns? Read THE LANTERN’S EMBER to be welcomed into the birthplace of Halloween.

Reviewed by on September 12, 2018

The Lantern's Ember
by Colleen Houck