ARC Review | The Lantern’s Ember by Colleen Houck


Title: The Lantern’s Ember by Colleen Houck

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Published: September 11th, 2018

Format: eARC

My rating: 3/5

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.



When I stumbled upon this book I must admit that I was pretty excited to get a chance to read it early. First of all, just look at that cover. That is a work of art. The black skull with gold scroll work is simply gorgeous and whatever artist put that together needs some kind of award. I’m in love with the cover art. Secondly, doesn’t that book description just pull you in? I feel like it is promising thrills and chills and I was %100 on board for that.

Unfortunately, that isn’t what I got.

Let me start with the characters in general. None of them throughout the entirety of the book felt very well fleshed out. They are dumped into your lap like over eager puppies in want of your love and adoration. Ember, the lovely witch we are introduced to as our heroine, is the very same at the beginning of the story as she is at the end. She has no personal growth and is downright, utterly predictable. No matter what happened in the course of the book, and a lot does happen, she reacts exactly as expected in each instance and reacts exactly the same in every instance as well. I found her predictability as likable as rain on a day at the beach. That is to say, not at all.

Then, there is our hero Jack. He I found slightly more likable but that may be for personal reasons. He is presented to you as the inspiration for the old Sleepy Hollow stories. I for one have always loved the spooky tale of Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman and to be handed Jack and told he was the Headless Horseman really had me excited. Now, outside of that, he seemed to just be a good boy out to save the damsel in distress. Jack had some interesting attributes that pulled my attention but, sadly, he really wasn’t anything to write home about either. Honestly, the most interesting character in this book was an actual pumpkin. No, I’m not kidding.

The story itself was also a pitfall of predictability. Our characters get in trouble and get out of it with conveniently presented solutions that are very little trouble at all. A conversation with romantic undertones then occurs. Then they are once again in trouble and another convenient solution presents itself. This happens over and over and over again to the point of tedium. At no point was I ever convinced that anyone was at risk and that, quite frankly, is a bit dull.

Lastly, and what bothered me the most, is that the support cast was, well, convenient. I know I have overused that word in this review but that is really this story in a nutshell. Oh no, something bad happens! Convenient solution. Oh no, there is an evil doer! Here is a convenient reason for them to no longer be evil. Oh no…you get the point. Everything was just so blasted convenient. Nothing felt spontaneous and the characters never seemed to be in actual peril.

Now, while I wasn’t a huge fan of this book I can easily see that it would appeal to a certain audience. The supposed romance was a huge plot point and, while I got quickly irritated with it, others may find it romantic. It also had very steampunk undertones which is not something that has ever been up my alley but I know it has a huge fan base. So, if you like a simple romantic plot with a smidge of adventure and an overall steampunk vibe, this book is for you. If you are like me and you want a plot that isn’t so predictable and your romance to not be sickeningly sweet, steer clear.

This book was previously featured on First Impression Friday – The Lantern’s Ember by Colleen Houck


Find this book on

Goodreads | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble


3 thoughts on “ARC Review | The Lantern’s Ember by Colleen Houck

  1. Aw this is so sad to hear. I honestly mainly wanted to read it because the cover is gorgeous. It’s always such a shame when you expect a book to go a certain way and that ends up not being the case.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Have you ever read Lady Mechankia? That is a really cool steampunk comic. If you like steampunk you’ll probably like it. I am interested to see what I think of The Lantern’s Ember when it comes out.


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