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The Lantern's Ember

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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.

408 pages, ebook

First published September 11, 2018

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About the author

Colleen Houck

37 books8,963 followers
New York Times Bestselling Author Colleen Houck is a lifelong reader whose literary interests include action, adventure, science fiction, and romance. Formerly a student at the University of Arizona, she worked as a nationally certified American Sign Language interpreter for seventeen years before switching careers to become an author. Colleen lives in Salem, Oregon, with her husband and a huge assortment of plush tigers. Follow her by signing up for her e-newsletter!

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 576 reviews
Profile Image for Carrie.
3,154 reviews1,513 followers
September 11, 2018
The Lantern’s Ember by Colleen Houck is a standalone young adult read perfect for the fall season. The story is a paranormal fantasy mixed with romance between the characters.

Once human Jack is now a Lantern with it being his job to guard the portal to the Otherworld. Jack is meant to keep those in the Otherworld that belong and those out who do not and Jack has always been good at doing just what he should until he sees Ember.

Seventeen year old Ember is a witch and Jack should have turned her in years ago but instead found himself guarding her and watching her from a distance. Ember finds herself fighting a pull to the Otherworld and against Jack’s warnings she crosses over into the other dimension so Jack has no choice but to follow.

The Lantern’s Ember is another book that I found myself thinking don’t judge a book by it’s cover. It’s not a bad read really but not really what I was expecting either. The story felt a bit middle grade during a lot of it and focused a heck of a lot of the plot on romance instead of the scary read I’d thought I would find. I didn’t quite find myself connecting with the characters the way I should and while there’s action it just wasn’t the dark action I’d expected leaving me a bit meh in the end.

I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.

For more reviews please visit https://carriesbookreviews.com/
Profile Image for Chelsea Humphrey.
1,438 reviews78k followers
August 19, 2018
Unfortunately this one wasn't what I had hoped it would be. The blurb promises a scary read, but this felt a little more like middle grade fiction than something on the YA spectrum. I think my lack of preparation for the book it turned out to be is an indication of the "right book, wrong reader" syndrome, and would highly recommend readers give this one a try for themselves rather than going by my word alone. Full review to come.

*I received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley.
Profile Image for Claude's Bookzone (on hiatus).
1,501 reviews201 followers
September 8, 2020
1.5 Stars

Oh dear.

I really wish this was actually a spooky Halloween story and not a fantasy version of The Bold and the Beautiful.

Ember, our alluring witch, has three guys in love with her. Three. A Lantern guardian who has watched over her for years , a vampire who yearns for her sweet sweet blood and a human who just wants to make her happy.

Aaaand Rune, some kind of nefarious Lantern Boss who wants to possess her and control her incredibly enticing power.

Aaaand, the Overlord of the Otherworld needs her because she is super special and he needs her to power the entire Otherworld because she is that special. She is a highly sought after young woman. Now if I could just work out why, witchy powers aside, she was so appealing then things may make more sense to me.

The blurb promises nightmarish, scary creatures. I don't think the blurb writer and I read the same book. The evil creature is called the Boogeyman. Need I say more.

My favourite character was the pumpkin. The whole story should have been written from its point of view. I would buy that book.
Profile Image for Mlpmom (Book Reviewer).
3,001 reviews368 followers
September 11, 2018
If there is one thing that Colleen Houck can do well is write an imaginative story rich in lore and detail and her latest release doesn't disappoint.

Full of twists on classic tales and stories as well as old time-y lore, The Lantern's Ember is one that will be sure to capture your attention and hold it to the very last page.

Full of witch craft, magic, and adventure with a slight steam punk edge, this really was a unique story that didn't take long to read and was perfect for a cozy afternoon in the sun and will be perfect for fans looking for a story that has a fun spin on a Halloween classic.

*ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*
Profile Image for Jennie Damron.
466 reviews61 followers
October 14, 2018
I enjoyed this book. It wasn't scary liked I hoped, but the story itself was charming. I enjoyed the elements of steampunk she incorporated in the book. That was most unexpected. Ember was a great character, but I find I enjoyed Delia's character even more. I want a book about her and her back story. She fascinated me. She saved this book for me. I don't think I would have liked it as much if she was not in it. I am glad I read this book and it was time well spent.
Profile Image for Breanna.
502 reviews173 followers
July 13, 2018
THIS REVIEW & MORE → Paws and Paperbacks

ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

Disappointed would the be the best word to describe my reading experience. I wanted to love The Lantern’s Ember so much. Not only is that cover is absolutely stunning, but the synopsis was intriguing and promised all sorts of paranormal goodness. Sadly, the story and characters were lacking.

I went into The Lantern’s Ember expecting a cool, spooky story similar to urban legends like Sleepy Hallow, full of paranormal creatures and magic. Instead, I got a strange steampunk version of Halloweentown. I actually would have been okay with that, but the writing was mediocre and the story seemed a bit juvenile for my tastes. Ember was the super special heroine that acted naively and never bothered to follow common sense, much less warnings given to her by other people. And yet despite her shortcomings, all three of the male characters happen to be in love with her. None of the characters felt fleshed out or had any kind of character growth as the story went on. The book is written in third person omniscient, which I think heavily contributed to the fact that the characters didn’t have much depth. The plot itself didn’t have much substance to it either; it was predictable, boring at times, and many of the conflicts were resolved a little too conveniently.

I really wish I had enjoyed The Lantern’s Ember so much more than I had. The first couple of chapters had me falsely excited for an eerie story full of supernatural creatures. The combination of the characters, writing, and plot ultimately caused the story to fall flat for me.
Profile Image for Stacie (Shy Book Nerd).
394 reviews87 followers
June 2, 2018
This was a fun, adventurous Halloween-y type of book. At first I didn’t like the main character, Ember because she was so naive and would not listen to reason whatsoever. Her guardian, Jack told her not to go to the Otherworld because it is dangerous. Do you think she listened? NOPE! To make matters worse, she followed a complete stranger, (and a vampire at that), to go with him to the Otherworld. Did she not see any danger there?! Ugh she was infuriating in the beginning. Slowly, she grew on me and while I didn’t totally love her, she was at least brave enough to make things right. It had a steampunk feel to it and I really enjoyed that. I liked Ember’s best friend, Finney the most. He was a cute, nerdy scientist that had Ember’s best interests at heart. Overall, it was fun and lighthearted. I think I would have liked it more if I read it near Halloween time.
Profile Image for Dana Al-Basha |  دانة الباشا.
2,174 reviews784 followers
Want to read
December 23, 2019
[Monday, December 18, 2017] This seems so SO good! I'm in! Can't wait for the cover reveal!
[Wednesday, January 24, 2018] OMG! I'm super excited about this book! It will be released in September 11, 2018! 416 pages of adventure!

When seventeen year old Ember, a witch living in the quiet New England town of Hallowell, crosses into the otherworld, Jack the gatekeeper sets out to find her before the supernatural and mortal worlds descend into chaos.

Profile Image for Kal ★ Reader Voracious.
548 reviews189 followers
August 27, 2018
The line between greatness and villainy is as thin as a garrote wire.
Friends, I was really excited for The Lantern's Ember from the moment I saw this stunning cover and read the synopsis, and I was so excited to get an opportunity to read an advanced copy for review. While the book started strong and appeared to be full of spooky folklore, overall it unfortunately this book did not live up to my expectations as it quickly descended into drama, angst, and a predictable plot. While it is a fast read, I found the characters to be one-dimensional and mostly unlikable, lacking growth, and I was left wanting more about the characters and the world.

The premise of this book is so interesting: the Otherworld is a realm where all those creatures that we thought were fictional live. Goblins, werewolves, vampires, and more are all real! The worldbuilding for tinkers and the technological advances that the Otherworld has made with the harnessing of witchlight was really interesting but I found that outside of the witchlight the worldbuilding was nonexistant.
'One doesn't choose to become a lantern. Most of us are tricked into it.'
The synopsis led me to believe that Jack's past and his five hundred years of experience as a Lantern would play a bigger role than it did. I was drawn in by the idea of his role as a gatekeeper of the Otherworld, and quite frankly I am a sucker for stories that involve characters that have long lives... there is something so interesting about watching a character see cultural change and this is something that I think was definitely missing.

Ember O'Dare is an orphaned witch that lives in a town near Jack's Crossroads. He's been watching her from afar ever since she was a young child, and while she hadn't seen him she always felt his presence and protection. I thought it was kind of cute how she kept trying to entice him to show himself to her, and their interactions throughout the book honestly are the only characters that I liked. I love strong female characters, but there is a fine line between strong and indignant and she gets herself into huge messes because she thinks she knows everything when she knows nothing. Like 90% of me reading this book was screaming at her being like "oh, I didn't know it was so dangerous" when she literally had been told repeatedly that it was dangerous. Ugh she frustrated me to no end.

The third-person omniscient narrative style constantly shifts perspectives between the characters (often mid-page), and as a result I never really felt connected to any of the characters. I would have expected Ember and Jack to be the main characters, perhaps with dual-POV storytelling from their perspectives, but I found the narration a jumbled mess that was at times difficult to follow. The story may have been stronger with a more dedicated narrative perspective.

While the book's blurb definitely is accurate, I feel that it was a bit misleading as so much of the actual narrative seemed to center around romantic feelings. There was kind of a love rectangle and it was kind of weird as none of the characters were really developed. While I am not a huge fan of the romance genre, I do not mind it as part of the story but it kind of grated my nerves - particularly Dev's character, who I found to be incredibly obsessive and possessive.

All of the characters in this book were essentially the embodiment of a trope: Ember is "not like anyone else," Dev is the "Edward Cullen kind of obsessed love interest," Finney is the "guy in love with his best friend," and Jack is the "honorable love interest that wants what is best." The characters do not really act outside of their trope and are largely unchanged at the end of the book.

I really enjoyed how folk legends such as the lost colony at Roanoke, the Headless Horseman, and the boogeyman were "explained" in this fictional world, and like I previously said I really loved the concept of the Otherworld! I just wish that more time had been dedicated to worldbuilding and that there was a clear narrative POV - I think that would have made this story a lot stronger. Honestly the "twist" at the end I picked up on at the beginning of the book so I was hardly surprised (except that it was meant to be a twist lol).

The theme of life and what makes it worth living is there in the text, especially given that most of the characters are otherworlder's that have had long lives. It is most evident with Jack and his life as a lantern, one that he would not have chosen for himself. "Maybe the purpose of life is to experience those things, however fleeting. I'll never know now what my life might have been."

Overall I found The Lantern's Ember to be an interesting story with a lot of promise but lacking in character development. Since I read an ARC it is possible that some additional editing happened and some of the issues I had could be addressed in the finished copy. I think if you go in expecting it to be an angsty romance with some steampunk & fantasy elements you will enjoy this book. Honestly it kind of reminds me a lot of Twilight, which I didn't like, so if you enjoy that kind of story this may be for you. This book is a standalone (which I really appreciate because they are so rare in YA fantasy) and truly wraps up everything at the end with a neat little bow (which seemed too perfect but honestly is the least of my issues here).

Many thanks to the publisher for providing me an electronic advanced reader copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. Quotations taken from an uncorrected proof and may change upon final publication.

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Profile Image for Erica.
1,327 reviews435 followers
Shelved as 'couldnt-finish'
January 16, 2020
I fell in love with the cover art for this book. It's just gorgeous and I'd love to have it as a print.

Then I opened that fetching cover and was tickled with the very first paragraph of this story:
Jack sat on top of the covered bridge in his favorite spot, his arm draped over his carved pumpkin. The gourd wasn't his first choice to house the ember of his immortality, but then again, he'd never really been given a choice.
I though, Mmm! Delightful! Two fables touched upon, first thing!
But then it turned out this really was Jack of the Lanterns and the covered bridge was there because he really was in Sleepy Hollow. So I guess those first two sentences set expectations right on track, though I was disappointed to have it all explained before p. 50.

I stopped reading after I finished Ch. 6.

I can tell this story will be wonderfully, magically romantic and tragic for the right readers and they'll love everything about this fable-inspired tale
I am the wrong reader. For me, this is waaaaay too YA Fantasy. It's poorly written, it's overly explanative, the brassy, sassy, super-special Ember is headstrong and in love with her "protector" (stalker) who has been roaming the earth for 500+ years and I am sick to death of elderly teenage boys being smitten after centuries with that one special dewy woman whose vitality and specialness charms him like no one else has in the past half millennia.
The environment, here, consists of the human world and the Otherworld (capitalized). Humans live here, witches used to live there but then some gross dude married the head witch and he shouldn't have been allowed to have any say in ruling the Otherworld so the witches left. Here's how it all works:
"Long ago," he said, "witches ran the Otherworld. Then the high witch married a man and gave him the power to rule. He called himself the Lord of the Otherworld. Other witches protested his right to reign but stayed, even as they worried he was pushing for automation too quickly. Now the entire realm operates by witch power."

"Witch power?"

"Yes. Instead of candles, Otherworlders use witch lamps that turn on with the push of a button. There are tall buildings, some five levels high, with steam-powered boxes that lift people to the top. and there are machines that do everything from bringing in the harvest to controlling the weather to producing fabric. Witchlight heats homes and cauldron steam fuels air transports, boats, and steel wagons large enough to move a dozen people or more over tracks that connect cities."

Ember slowly sank down beside him. "We can do that?" she asked in wonder.

"Your power can. Your innate witchlight in particular is very powerful, especially for one so young and virtually untrained." He paused, collecting his thoughts. "Bur for the Otherworld to advance so far beyond humans unbalanced the realms. The mortal realm and the Otherworld sit on a precarious scale, only separated by crossroads in fixed positions like mine. They teeter back and forth a bit naturally, but the witches believed that if one shifts the balance too much, the realms would bleed together and entire cities disappear on both sides, vanishing into the ether. So the witches were not pleased, and they protested, loudly, wanting to evict the Lord of the Otherworld from his lofty perch. They even did something unthinkable. They called upon the one we never summon, the…

If that all made perfect sense to you and it sounds intriguing, read this book. By page 40, there is a romance building, there’s a nefarious plan being hatched by the Lord of the Otherworld, there is a bucolic New England town where everyone uses candles and carriages but they speak like we do here and now. You’ll love it!

However, if you found yourself wondering what that all meant and how any of that made sense, or if you rolled your eyes one or more times, steer clear of this one.
Profile Image for jenn.
694 reviews310 followers
August 1, 2018
*ARC received from Delacorte Press.*

**2.5 stars**

Halloween-y, Witches, Vampires, Werewolves, Lanterns (aka headless horseman), witch power.

I honestly love this cover but it is a little off putting compared to the actual story.

The timeline for this is somewhere after the Salem witch trials but doesn’t focus much on her hometown. We learn more about the otherworld, which is far advanced compared to the human world in regards to technology due to the witch light that is basically otherworld’s electricity. So basically we have some steampunk going on here and I’m all for it.

Ember – I’m still on the edge about her. She didn’t really seem to have a personality that clicked with me. It felt like her personality changed like a mood ring and wasn’t very consistent. I did like her in some parts but mostly I was meh about her.

Finney – Adorable smol baby. Genius, nerdy, techy, special cinnamon roll.

Dev – Vampire play boy. Devious little shit.

Deila – Favorite character. Badass, pirate ship captain, with a freaking metal tooth. Y’all. I’d marry her. There needs to be a book just for her and I would read the fuck out of it.


Jack – IDK how I feel about him really. I kind of see him as a protective overbearing brother to Ember and Finney.

Out of this we got our most ever favorite trop - love-square. I mean honestly, she’s not that fucking amazing and beautiful and powerful and plain-but-doesn’t-know-it. I don’t want to spoil the love-trop.


Jesus. Anyways ……. I feel as this book could have gone in a totally different direction instead of what happened. I mean where’s the scary shit? The spooky stuff?


Can't you tell by how long it took me to read this book?

Profile Image for Jessica (a GREAT read).
1,668 reviews101 followers
September 3, 2018
I received this ARC from the publisher in exchange for a honest and voluntary review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

I've pretty much loved every single book by Colleen Houck and when I heard she was writing a standalone with a Halloween twist, I was immediately excited! The Lantern's Ember was a magical and delightful little read! It was rife with aspects of Halloween lore...it was pretty much perfect in that sense!

I'll admit though, I had a rough start, but that's also likely due to the timing of reading as well. I was very busy and the first two days of trying to read this I only read a chapter or two. Diving in was rough, but once I got to read more than a chapter at a time I was really getting into the story! We have Jack who is known as a lantern. He basically guides the doorways to the Otherworld which, as you can imagine is a world filled with supernatural beings. There's some history to it involved as well as Jack's situation and how he became to be a lantern that is revealed from the start which I really enjoyed instead of having to wait several chapters in order to get all this necessary background.

Ember is a witch that Jack has been keeping an eye on over the past few years. There aren't any witches in the Otherworld for reasons we will soon learn, but Ember is fascinated with the idea of the Otherworld and beseeches Jack to take her, but he refuses to do so for her own safety. It's not long before a vampire named Dev brings her over, as he was tasked to do so by a particular someone. When Jack finds out she's missing, he recruits her best friend, Finney, to help him track her down and bring her back to her world.

This was quite an adventurous read! In some ways, it was like an Alice in Wonderland story as Ember enters this new world that is so strange and different, and quite dangerous. Witches are a hot commodity in this world and Ember's life is pretty much in danger from the moment she enters, but Dev, her vampire/sort of kidnapper, but not, is determined to keep her safe. In fact, his plans to bring Ember to his employer has changed, because yes, he finds he's falling in love with her. Though naturally, we already sense that Ember and Jack have a growing connection, but let's also add in the fact that Finney, her longtime best friend, also loves her. It makes for quite the array of suitors.

The romance wasn't a huge role in the story as well, I mean it was there throughout, as we had at least two of the characters trying to actively pursue Ember. I felt a little bad for Finney as he never really seemed to have a chance with Ember despite being the best friend and all. I felt like Ember's choice was obvious from the getgo however.

When the Lord of the Otherworld gets wind that a new and powerful witch has entered his domain, he's determined to have her. The Otherworld is powered by witchlight and with a ned budding witch, he will continue to remain an all powerful deity.

I think my favorite thing about this book was truly all the Halloween lore that was incorporated. Jack is sort of the new Jack that gave the name to the jack-o-lantern, he was also involved with scaring a man named Ichabod away from one of the Otherworld gates. We get to see how other traditions of Halloween were born as well as the story moves along. It was really fascinating the ways Colleen brought these traditions to life! It was probably my favorite part of the story!

There was a great deal of tension in this one too! Everyone had their own plan for Ember, and she had her own plans for her life as well! Some rather interesting twists came about in the grand finale that I thought was pretty shocking! Though I do like how Colleen was able to wrap everything up! I am so used to her highly detailed stories that stretch for several books--and that I enjoy as well--so this standalone was pretty amazing for her to write as well! I almost think that standalones can be harder to write than a series, but that's just me!

The Lantern's Ember was a marvelous read indeed! It's the perfect read for lovers of Halloween lore! It's not a scary read by any means, though there's a great deal of tension and suspense to it. Lots of twists and turns and a healthy sprinkling of romance as well. This is easily making my list of best reads of the year as I've always enjoyed the different myths and lore that surround Halloween! Colleen Houck has done it again and written yet another superb book rich with mythology!

Overall Rating 5/5 stars

The Lantern's Ember releases September 11, 2018
Profile Image for Rebecca Read.
257 reviews8 followers
October 3, 2022
3.5 ⭐️

A fun Halloween read, filled with witches, vampires, goblins and all creatures of the night.

Jack is the watcher of the path between the mortal and Otherworld, trying to keep a young witch, Ember, from crossing. Jack is a lantern, his soul encased within a pumpkin which will follow him for eternity.

Jack has watched Ember grow and kept a watchful eye on her hoping she will stay away. As Ember and her power grow she begins to feel a pull toward the Otherworld and her silent watcher.

What unfolds is a truly adventurous story filled with twists, turns and a touch of Halloween fables.

I was expecting a bit darker tale and found it read more at a middle grade versus young adult level. In addition I found some parts made the story drag a bit. Overall though it was a fun read, perfect for this time of year. The epilogue just makes your heart happy.
Profile Image for Anna.
74 reviews3 followers
October 18, 2018
Благодаря аннотации и обложке я считала, что книга будет идеальна в предхеллоуинский период, ведь тут автор намешала классических мистических персонажей (ведьмы, вампиры и т.д.), аллюзии на известных литературных монстров (франкенштейн, человек-невидимка) и даже стимпанк. Причём мироустройство получилось весьма жизнеспособным. Однако с остальным все ну очень плохо. В итоге я получила какую-то рождественскую сказочку, где в итоге все герои обнимаются.
Начну с хорошего. Как сеттинг Иномирье безумно крут: он опережает наш мир по развитию, здесь куча устройств и механизмов, жизнь которым даёт ведьмовской свет. Помимо этого, обложка книги просто фантастическая.
Ну а теперь по существу.
Главные герои абсолютно никакие. Эмбер - любопытный избалованный ребёнок, не более того. Но, по закону жанра, она особенная - очень сильная ведьма. И по собственному закону Коллин Хоук, в нее влюблены три парня и ещё трём она ну прям очень нужна. Про Джека и говорить нечего - простой кусок мяса. Пресный. Дев очень пытается быть крутым и опасным вампиром, но в итоге он как семнадцатилетний школьник, натянувший батину кожанку. Небольшой симпатией прониклась к Финни. Милый чудаковатый изобретатель, ну просто душечка. Есть ещё Делия и Грейдон , и от этих двух я в восторге. Тут и конфликт между ними, и летающие искры, и не самые простые характеры, и огромнейший потенциал. Увы, они лишь второстепенные герои, поэтому их сюжетную линию Коллин сливает достаточно быстро.
Сюжет развивается ну крайне медленно, и в основном он из разряда «сначала идём сюда, а потом вдруг сюда». И да, 80% экранного времени занимают выяснения отношений и брачные танцы бабуинов. Кстати, если отношения Джека и Эмбер кажутся немного странными (они начались со сталкерства, фу!), то в случае Дева и Эмбер они химеричны настолько, что не будь его глав, я считала бы его очень хитроделанным злодеем, гнущим свою линию посредством постоянной манипуляции чувствами. Впрочем, его отношение к Эмбер - вполне себе неплохое кармическое возмездие.
Финал наивен до безобразия. Эмбер превратилась в ворошиловского стрелка, и все закончилось откровенной Санта-Барбарой. Вишенкой на торте стало то, что главный злодей вновь стереотипно раскрыт через его злодейскую речь.
В итоге, если хотите создать себе хеллоуинское настроение, лучше не берите это произведение в руки. Впрочем, в солнечную погоду и +20 за бортом это мало какой книге удастся. Но, если у вас началась осенняя хандра, то непритязательность этой истории и некий уют эпилога вполне могут заложить первую ступень для борьбы с ней.
Profile Image for Kath (Read Forevermore).
67 reviews19 followers
September 5, 2018
Quick read. I honestly was expecting so much more in this book, and was so hyped for it. However, it fell flat for me. The biggest disappoint was that it just wasn't enough to be considered "paranormal." I'm normally a huge fan of scary books and this one was just not scary. It felt as though it was written for younger children (MG) to read. And the characters were just so annoying...UGH!

A finished copy was sent to me by Delacorte Press (Get Underlined) in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Profile Image for These Violent Delights (Robin).
366 reviews76 followers
September 21, 2018
I just absolutely loved this book! Ember was such a fun character to read from!

This book gave me such great Halloween/ Fall time vibes. Great book to read to get into the seasonal joy. I hate horror, so there aren't many "Fall/Halloween" themed books that I could enjoy, but this one was perfectly horror-less!

The whole story had a great arc. The characters all had their times to shine. The love triangle (actually love square LOL) didn't bother me as much as I thought it would. Maybe I just love this author so much, that I can love anything she writes, I don't know.

I also really loved how this book wrapped up, now that's how to end a book!
Profile Image for Aimee (Getting Your Read On).
2,966 reviews243 followers
September 13, 2018
First thing I have to say is I really love this cover. It's interesting and I love the fireflies and swirl things all over.

This is the perfect book as we are just heading into fall here. Halloween is on it's way and I loved how this book eventually tied in to some of the stories and traditions of Halloween.

If you are wondering if this book is scary, the answer is no. Not at all. This is what I would describe as a paranormal steampunk, I think. There were lots of paranormal creatures but I never felt the least bit frightened or anything close to it. It was more like a grand adventure. The Otherworld was where the steampunk feel came in with machines and gadgets.

I liked a lot about this book and it's plot but I felt like it lacked in a few places. There were a lot of characters, but none that I felt an emotional connection to. I liked Jack and Ember but from the outside looking in. Ember is tenacious and maybe a wee bit naive. Jack is devoted. Both were characters I could root for.

I really didn't like the ending because I felt like we finally got to some good action and then had an information dump to explain everything and then "the end". I was really hoping for more, I guess. The characters were as clueless as me for the whole book and that's no bueno. We all got the information dump together.

So, I guess this book was okay for me. I'm not raving excited but it wasn't bad either.

Content: moments of peril, mild violence. Some kissing.

- I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions expressed are my own.
Profile Image for Jess.
218 reviews17 followers
August 6, 2018
Overall Rating: ★★
Heroine: We need some character growth up in here
Dude: We can’t take pumpkin carrying men seriously
Creepiness: It’s no “Are You Afraid of the Dark”
Plot: Halloweentown, Steampunk & Sleepy Hollow, Oh My!

We received an advanced reader’s copy of Lantern’s Ember from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to the publisher and author!

The Lantern’s Ember reeled us in from the moment we saw it on Netgalley; from the (gorgeous) cover and description we were excited for a spooky experience full of folklore and supernatural creatures come to life. The first few chapters were intriguing and we were loving the creepy Sleepy Hollow vibes.

Unfortunately, after the initial setup to the story, Lantern’s Ember devolves into a juvenile experience full of angst and unnecessary drama. The story is less spooky and more like Halloweentown High complete with insta-love and a love quadrangle. The plot was predictable and essentially a Frankenstein monster as the plot is basically haphazard themes and plots resurrected from steampunk and gothic novels and early American folklore then sewn together in a grotesque manner.

The characters were shallow, lacked common sense and Houck did not allow for any character growth. The novel was hard to follow as character perspectives shifted suddenly with very little indication that suddenly you were reading about a completely new character. And instead of the supernatural intrigue we were promised, this book centered more on the fact that every single character falls in love with Ember.

The ending to The Lantern’s Ember was the most frustrating part of this book. The ending was wrapped up like a fake Christmas present on display in a Macy’s window - too perfect to be real. It was disingenuous and too convenient to be enjoyable. I was left disappointed and frankly unimpressed at how the plot took a 180 degree turn and all the characters were just like “okay, everything’s good now!”

Profile Image for Patricia Lima.
241 reviews288 followers
June 17, 2020
O livro tem um clima muito legal por causa de todas essas lendas e seres místicos, ele promete ter um clima de halloween, até porque o nome da cidade é hallowel.

Mas uma coisa que me incomodou muito foi a personagem da Ember que é uma bruxinha, ela é uma personagem muito imatura que faz as coisas sem pensar nas consequências.

Então o Jack tem que ficar indo atrás dela, impedindo que ela faça mais coisas assim. E isso me irritava em muitas partes.

Outra coisa que eu não gostei é que a bruxinha acaba sendo o centro das atenções e a autora usou isso pra colocar vários pretendentes para ela, então temos em certa parte um quadrado amoroso, que foi muito desnecessário

Se tivesse só o romance com o casal principal, a história ia ser a mesma, os outros interesses amorosos não serviam pra nada.

Ou seja, a Colleen Houck usou as duas coisas que eu menos gostava em A Maldição do Tigre, que é a protagonista chata e o triangulo amoroso.

Teve mais uma coisa que achei muita estranha no livro: acontecia muitas coisas que pareciam que não tinham rumo, não tinham um objetivo, e isso fez a história ficar muito vaga em muitas partes.

Mas o que acabou salvando a leitura pra mim depois, foi o final dele, eu gostei bastante do final do livro, achei muito fofinho e significante para a mitologia da história, então o livro tem seus pontos positivos também.
January 4, 2021
pra mim, começou tão bem que no final nem parecia que era o mesmo livro. já é a segunda vez que a autora fica nessa de "a protagonista é diferente", "especial", "diferente das outras", "a última bolacha do pacote" e em algum momento, cheguei a realmente sentir isso.

ela tinha a faca e o queijo na mão, mas não soube usar nenhum dos dois. a ideia era ótima, tinha entrado com tudo nessa, mas lá para a metade foi ficando chato e uma verdadeira palhaçada. forçaram tanto essa de TODOS os homens da história quererem beijar os pés da protagonista e também de quererem se envolver romanticamente com ela, que isso me tirou a vontade de ler e o interesse em saber o que iria acontecer.

no começo, estava até que engolindo a protagonista ser sem sal e superestimada, os outros personagens compensavam bem isso. mas sei lá, fui sentindo que a personalidade de geral em certo momento, passou a se basear em simplesmente amar ela, querer protegê-la e pronto.

ah, e o final também foi corrido pra cacete, os plots poderiam ser melhor trabalhados. queria ter gostado mais do livro.
Profile Image for Meghan (TheBookGoblin).
267 reviews34 followers
October 31, 2018
DNF at about 20%

Oh wow this was garbage! 🙃 I was so looking forward to a good Halloween-themed read but honestly the writing was so bad I just couldn’t do it. Maybe I would have liked it more as a preteen.
TBH I bought it mostly for the cover, since historically I’ve hated all of Houck’s other books so I don’t know why I thought this would be any different. The same juvenile and simplistic writing she used in all her other books is here in abundance.
If you’re under 13 you might enjoy it but otherwise skip it and read Coraline instead if you want a simple Halloween read.
Profile Image for Sammm.
785 reviews106 followers
Shelved as 'to-start-soon'
September 11, 2018
A digitized ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Jan 16, 2018
Oh dang! That is one LOVELY cover.


Nov 11, 2017
Hmmmm.... yes, yes, I've heard how racist this author supposedly is, but since this book is based on a story by a White American author, is she capable of butchering it? Not ruling out reading it just yet. May change my shelf accordingly later.
Profile Image for Jacqie.
1,611 reviews74 followers
October 20, 2019
This was a book that I thought might be nice for October- it's a fantasy revolving around jack o'lanterns, headless horsemen, witches, demons and seemed like it might be a nice mildly spooky read.

I can't recommend it. The writing feels more middle grade than YA, and extremely clunky middle grade at that. Characters are exaggerated and unsurprising, the writing is awkward.
Profile Image for Azbaqiyah.
755 reviews49 followers
September 29, 2018
Plot - 🎃🎃🎃🎃
Character - 🎃🎃🎃🎃
World Building - 🎃🎃🎃🎃
Writing Style - 🎃🎃🎃🎃
Cover - 🎃🎃🎃🎃

Overall Rating - 3.8 🎃 / 5 🎃

🎃 ~ A perfect read for Halloween! ~ 🎃
Profile Image for Kailey (Luminous Libro).
2,900 reviews445 followers
October 25, 2019
Ember is a young witch with a great deal of untapped power. Jack is a supernatural being, who keeps his soul in a pumpkin lantern and guards the crossroads to a magical realm. Jack is determined to stop Ember from crossing to the OtherWorld where her power could be stolen from her, but he has a hard time guarding his heart against her sweet charms.

There were so many things that I loved about this book, and a few things that annoyed me.

First, the world-building and magic systems are wonderfully imaginative and interesting. I was entranced with the magical setting and the witches, warlocks, vampires, werewolves, goblins, and succubi that populate the OtherWorld. They each have particular powers and traits that were fascinating to discover as they are explained through the plot. I also really loved the steampunk feeling of the world, and how automatons and clockworks are integrated with magic power.

I enjoyed the different main characters and supporting characters. They are all well-rounded and deep characters with their own intriguing backstories and varied personalities.

However, I did not like that there is an all-knowing third-person narrator who tells the reader what is going on in the minds and hearts of the characters at various times during each scene. Multiple POVs is a pet peeve of mine, but it IS well-written here, so it didn't annoy me too horribly.

I loved the intricate plot with many mysteries and strange occurrences. There are a lot of moving parts and hidden connections between characters, and it all comes together really nicely in the end. But the ending does feel a bit deus ex machina, and I wish there were more of a denouement in the last chapters.

I also really liked that it deals with scary things like ghosts and vampires without being too scary. It's creepy and weird and ghoulish, but I was never actually scared and it didn't give me nightmares.

Another thing that annoyed me was the romance. Three different men fall in love (one of them was insta-love, two were over the course of many years) with Ember, the young witch, and it was pathetic to see them falling all over each other to court her and getting jealous and picking fights.

I also got sick and tired of hearing about Ember's gorgeous clothes, and her beautiful hair, and her ample bosom, and her soft skin, and her electrifying eyes, and blah blah blah blah. Okay, I get it. She's perfect and gorgeous and sweet and a very powerful witch to boot.

She literally has no faults. Oh wait, yes, her one fault is that she's also adorably stubborn. Omg, look how charmingly stubborn she is! She's just so headstrong and stubborn and independent. Look what a cute little stubborn witch she is. Okay okay, we get it.

Don't get me wrong; there were many things about Ember's personality that I really loved and I found interesting. All the characters have this truth to them that makes them feel like real people, but then they do some stupid romantic thing and I roll my eyes.

The funny thing is... there IS a wonderful romance that was gripping and beautiful and real without any stupidity, and that was the side romance between two of the supporting characters. Their romance felt true and deep and lasting, and not once did I roll my eyes. Now why couldn't the main romance plot have had that kind of meaningful and weighty storyline, with real relationships between people who have known each other for a long time and gradually and naturally developed feelings for each other?

One thing I DID like about the romance is that it's quite clean, with only a few kisses and one time what a gentleman lies down on Ember's bed when she is injured and they fall asleep next to each other with nothing else happening. I think this would be appropriate for an older teenager to read. The kisses are a little steamy, but nothing too inappropriate.

I have gone back and forth between rating this 3 or 4 stars, and I guess it's 3.5 stars from me. 5 stars for the plot and the world-building. 4 stars for the characters and the writing style. 2 stars for the romance.
I know I'm criticizing it a lot, but I really enjoyed reading this book! I'm glad that I bought it. I will definitely keep it, and I recommend for others to read it too. The good definitely outweighs the bad in this book!
Profile Image for mylibraryofdreams.
556 reviews134 followers
November 22, 2018

Persönliche Meinung
Als ich das Cover sah und auch wer das Buch geschrieben hatte, landete es postwenden im Warenkorb. Die Reawakened Serie von Colleen Houck habe ich geliebt und deshalb MUSSTE ich the lantern’s Ember einfach haben. Alleine das Cover! Wow!

Ich wünschte ich hätte das Buch noch vor Halloween gelesen, denn es hätte so hervorragend gepasst! Alleine der Anfang und der Prolog machen so viel Laune auf Kürbis schnitzen, sich verkleiden, spukige Geschichten erzählen. Das Feeling war total da! Leider aber ist bei mir bereits Weihachten eingekehrt und das habe ich schon recht bereut! Also unbedingt im Oktober lesen!

«“So you were lying about needing my blood,“ Ember said.
„Isn’t it obvious?“
„You were jealous,“ Finney said.
„Aren’t you ?“ Dev retorted.
Finney tugged at his collar uncomfortably. “We’re tossing all our messy buisness out onto the open now for everyone tosee, then ?“»

Kommen wir erst mal zu den Dingen die mir nicht so gut gefallen haben:
Dass es ein Einzelband war. Es kam mir manchmal etwas überstürzt vor. Zwar bot die Geschichte nicht mehr, dass man es auf mehrere Bücher hätte ausdehnen können, aber vor allem am Anfang passierte mir alles zu schnell, besonders auch die Liebesgeschichte. Diese fand ich allgemein leider nicht soooo toll. Wie auch schon bei der Reawakened Serie haben wir hier eine Heldin die einfach von jedem Typen geliebt wird. Wer also keine Dreiecks, Vierecks oder Fünfecks Geschichten mag, der soll es sich hier lieber zweimal überlegen. Sogar ich, die bekanntlich gerne mehreck-Liebesgeschichten hat, wurde es teilweise zu viel. Besonders da ich Ember jetzt nicht soo die spezielle Persönlichkeit fand. Sie war mir zu naiv und gleichzeitig zu stark und ich habe sie einfach nicht soo ins Herz geschlossen.

«What kind of a man needs two pocketr watches? Dev wondered. He rubbed his jaw considering if he should procure a second timepiece for himself as well.»

Was mir sehr gut gefallen hat:
Die Anderswelt! Die Idee mit der Hexenenergie war total cool und dass alles so Steampunkig angehaucht war fand ich mega cool! Ich hätte noch so viel länger dortbleiben und Abenteuer erleben und alles entdecken können.
Mir gefielen Jack und Farragut, Finney und der Kürbis und eigentlich irgendwie alle anderen auch. Naja bis auf Ember. *lach* sorry Ember.
Super fand ich auch die Referenz zu Schokolade! Da musste ich sogar gleich Googeln gehen.

Der Schreibstill war gewohnt gut und flüssig und es lies sich wirklich schön lesen. Zwischenzeitlich erinnerte es mich an Nevermore von Kelly Creagh, was mir natürlich besonders gefiel. (Varen *schmacht*)

Im Grossen und Ganzen hätte ich einfach gerne eine besser ausgearbeitete Lovestory gehabt, denn die Geschichte an sich war gut. Nicht mega, aber gut. In sich abgerundet und abgeschlossen, alles wird gelöst und es lässt einem zufrieden zurück. Aber eben diese Liebesgeschichte. Ich hätte mir einfach gewünscht, dass die beiden mehr Zeit miteinander verbringen, dass man die Liebe mehr spüren und fühlen konnte.

«“Ember,” he said, his voice husky.
She liked the way he said her name, especially at that very moment. “Yes, Jack?” she answered; her own words sounded throaty and thick and full of longing.
“This was a mistake.”»

Trotzdem gefiel mir das Buch gut und wer gerne Halloween Bücher liest, der wird auch the lantern’s Ember mögen.

Aber was bitteschön waren das für hints mit dem Kürbis???? Und dann kommt da einfach gar nichts?


Fazit: Steampunkige Halloween Story mit Liebesgeschichte

Profile Image for Leonie.
9 reviews
August 6, 2019
RATING: (1/10)

Horny dinosaurs


A witch, a vampire, a human and a lantern go on an adventure of self discovery and to ultimately safe two worlds. Sounds fun, doesn't it?
This book drew me in first and foremost by it's cover - the artwork is just beautiful.
That is about everything positive I can say about The Lantern's Ember

Set in America somewhere after 1692 (I'd assume the 1700s based on described fashion) we follow the story of Ember, a young witch and her lifelong guardian, Jack the Lantern.

Ember is, in the fashion of almost every literary heroine past the year 2000 beautiful, unaware of/unhappy with it, innocent .... and completely incompetent without a strong man at her side although marketing herself a strong, independent woman. She spends her time pressing her face against glass like a whirlwind four year old, asking redundant questions, showing little to no initiative and fainting.
Furthermore, a good amount of her time is spent being carried around like a toddler and being watched in her sleep by at least one of our 3 main male characters.

Male characters:

... the obvious love interest

I've been following you around since you were a little girl
'cause that's romantic .... right?
He's Embers guardian and protector of crossroads between her world and the Otherworld. His sidekick is a smiling pumpkin, containing his soul (his Ember), with a mind of its own.

Deverell Christopher Blackbourne, the vampire. Heartbreaker, badboy and that person that cannot take no for an answer. His boody practically oozes Sex.

"Here. You have more need of this right now than I do. You look like you've been robbed."
Dev smiled. "And so I have been. I'd be proud to share the tale of the witch - though, on reflection, I should perhaps change that to 'wench' who held me immobile. She was lovely, yet merciless, as she waved her sawed-off musket in my direction, forcing me to remove my starched shirt and cravat so she could have her way with me."
Ember's mouth dropped open. "That's not what happened at all."
"Perhaps not," Dev said as he tossed the cloak around his shoulders with more flourish than Ember could even muster. "But you have to admit, my version is much more exciting."

... 'nuff said.
Ever since I found out that the vampires in this book store their powers as blood deposits in their tubular bones - and deplete them over the course of time - I cannot stop myself from thinking of a glugging sound accompanying his every step.

A genious inventor and a tremendous help later on, he's the most adorable of the three men, but pretty much only exists to be friendzoned.
Jack's Pumpkin and Finney are, in my opinion, the real power couple of this book.

Skipping ahead, Mrs. Houcks style of writing is, for a lack of a better word, bad.

1) Starting at her annoying habit of shortening perfectly fine names (Deverell - Dev, Delia - Del, ...). It is one thing, to utilise this in direct speech but to use it consistently in narration makes me wonder if the author has troubles remembering the names or just hates them; in that case - why give them that name in the first place?

2) Her constant use of overly descriptive dialogue . Exclamations like "Chain him up like a dog" instead of chain him up or "I belive the doctor has a very nice imported casket made from the wood of a maple tree [...]" instead of a maple wood casket makes it seem forced and unnatural and does very little to draw the reader in.

3) Poor research
It might just be nitpicking at this point but take the example of petrichor :
"[Finneys] nostrils flared as he paused from scratching notes "I cannot be certain," he said, "but the odor is reminiscent of petrichor." While the Otherworld might be far more advanced and I daresay, futuristic, the word PETRICHOR was invented in 1964, so, coming from the Human World (definitely before the 1900s), Finney would never use it.

4) lazyness
Way too obvious, yet lazy references to Mary Shelleys Frankenstein (Victor Frankenstein von Grimm as a barely human crewmember; Yegor as the zombie-esque helper), and Star Trek (?!) (Scottie as the skyships engineer) to name a few examples.
Also, the fact, that the author continously forgets to write Deverell into the scenes - he just appears whenever convenient or necessary to the storyline.

I have rarely encountered such an unexciting ending, nor such an unfleshed villain. The climax is resolved within the span of 10 pages, in a very predictable manner and with very little consequence. It seems almost like Colleen Houck did not want to commit to an evil villain in earnest.

Plus points for the Epilogue - I quite enjoyed the ties between the novels storyline and modern Halloween traditions.

Colleen Houck had a great story in mind, but lacked in the execution. Her strong point certainly lies with her imaginativeness. The Otherworld is a wondrous place, full of novelties and excitement. I would have loved to see that translated to all elements of the story.
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