Houck’s (Tiger's Dream, 2018, etc.) new adventure offers a fresh spin on “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”…and a few more tales besides.
Jack, once mortal, is a lantern, conscripted into service by a devil 500 years ago, who watches over one of the crossroads leading from the human realm into the Otherworld. Now his soul resides in the pumpkin that is constantly by his side. He’s kept an eye on the village witch, Ember O’Dare, since she was a girl, because witches are very sought after by those in the Otherworld, which is powered by witchlight. When Ember, now 17, meets Jack, it’s instant sparks, and he’s desperate to keep her safe. When Ember is offered a trip to the Otherworld by the charming, and not quite trustworthy, vampire Deverell “Dev” Blackbourne, she jumps at the opportunity, but she may be in over her head, and Jack, with Ember’s friend Finney in tow, heads into the Otherworld to find her. What follows is a race through a world technologically light years ahead of the human realm, full of all manner of supernatural beings, skyships, and plenty of swashbuckling derring-do. A love triangle adds tension, but the real fun lies in spotting Houck’s inventive riffs on a ton of monster myths (and other stories) along the way.
A bit overstuffed but fun nonetheless, with some genuine surprises in store. (Fantasy. 12-17)