book review, young adult

The Lantern’s Ember by Colleen Houck (Review)

TitleThe Lantern’s Ember
Authors: Colleen Houck
Type: Fiction
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance
Publisher: Delacorte Press (Penguin Random House)
Date published: September 11, 2018

A physical copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.

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.

– My Review –

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This book left quite the impression on me! But, let’s start at the beginning. The first thing that caught my attention about this book was the cover. It is the perfect mix of beautiful and scary/dark in my eyes. I absolutely love the design, and I loved the mood and story that the cover for The Lantern’s Ember promised. When I started reading, I was a little startled at the writing style. If I had to describe it, I would have to say that It was definitely unique, and that it also sounded like it was meant for a younger audience (such as middle grade readers). And I found this latter part interesting, because there is a fair bit of sexual tension, and some almost steamy bits in the story. This combination of a more juvenile tone with certain scenes that I would definitely call sexy, left me feeling a little confused, and wanting for this book to have either been completely adult, or completely middle grade (aka a book that was 100% PG).

A similar thing happened to me with the plot and the locations in this book. I found that I was reading The Lantern’s Ember more for the love story than the adventure portion of it. And I also enjoyed some settings more than others. This book starts out in a setting that to me felt very much like Sleepy Hollow in the 1999 film by the same name, and I became very attached to that world, when the setting changes to a place that was surprisingly steampunk when I was expecting something between hell and cinematic depictions of Transylvania during a thunderstorm. So, this book was definitely a mix of elements (some of which I appreciated more than others). That being said, I did enjoyed The Lantern’s Ember, and just wish that I had read it closer to Halloween!

– About the Author –


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!

– Purchase Links –

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10 thoughts on “The Lantern’s Ember by Colleen Houck (Review)

  1. Great review! I also had the chance to read it and I can definitely understand what you mean by the writing style. I really liked the book as well. I wish we could hear more about all the characters.

    1. Thank you! And I’m glad I’m not the only one who noticed (or that I’m not crazy, haha)! And yeah, I wanted more character depth and development…and maybe have had this turned into a series. SIGH. I totally forgot to put all of that into my review too!

  2. I did not know this book existed, but it sounds really interesting!
    For some reason I’ve never read a Colleen Houck book before, but all of them sound really intriguing to me!


    1. This was my first Colleen Houck so I somehow managed not to read her until now either lol. And yeahhhh I really wish I could have waited to read The Lantern’s Ember around Halloween haha

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