From the author of the Fate series and The Deep End of the Sea comes a fantastical romantic adventure that has Alice tumbling down the strangest rabbit hole yet.
After years in Wonderland, Alice has returned to England as an adult, desperate to reclaim sanity and control over her life. An enigmatic gentleman with an intriguing job offer too tempting to resist changes her plans for a calm existence, though. Soon, she’s whisked to New York and initiated into the Collectors’ Society, a secret organization whose members confirm that famous stories are anything but straightforward and that what she knows about the world is only a fraction of the truth.
It has been awhile since I have found an author and series that has completely blown me away and owned me, like Heather Lyons and The Collectors’ Society has, for so many reasons. Being a lover of paranormal romance, there is not a lot of original ideas out there. Sometimes I feel like I’ve read it all. The first book has been on my TBR list for years, so I have no one to blame but myself for not having started it sooner.
As much as I would love to tell you everything about what makes this series so fantastic, I don’t want to share too much, because I was lucky enough to go into the series fairly blind. My trusted friends and reviewers were cryptic about it, and I want to bestow the same gift of not knowing too much.
Here is what I will say. If you love classic literature, and always wondered what would happen if some of the book characters you loved, grew up and lived in the world as we know it, then you will LOVE this series. Heather is a genius. What she is able to do with these characters and the storylines is incredible. I am in awe of how her mind works. This series will make you want to read more. It will make you want to go back to your favorite books to reread and look for clues in their storylines, and picture them as real people living in our world.
–There are multiple ways to label people, as you may well know. In the literate world, we can simplify this in that there are readers and non-readers. Within the readers category, we can further label people by how passionate they are with the books they choose. Some people escape into the stories they read. Some read for purpose or information. Some read out of resentment or necessity. But let us, in this moment, focus on those who find books to be an escape or an extension of their imagination. These readers see, within their mind’s eye, the characters and settings in the pages below their fingers. They feel the emotions woven between the words. They live through every heartache, every embrace, every terror. Books, to these people, become tangible, living things. The characters they read become genuine souls.” A half smile curves his lips. “People like this are often accused of living within their fantasies. They’re said to have their noses stuck in books. But the reality is that some of these people actually do escape into books.
–He’s honorable and kind and, on a superficial note, he’s gorgeous–terribly, painfully sexy in a way that leaves me wishing I’d been assigned a different partner.
–Sometimes our pasts are chains we cannot let go of, even if the key is in our hands. They define us in ways we resent, and yet they are somewhat precious, too. Because, logically, we understand that our pasts have made us who we are, even if we want nothing more to close our eyes to them.
When I finished the first book, I became so attached to Alice, Finn, Victor and Mary, that I had to keep reading. I wanted to call in sick, just so I could stay home to keep reading.
Sometimes, the rabbit hole is deeper than expected . . .
Alice Reeve and Finn Van Brunt have tumbled into a life of secrets. Some secrets they share, such as their employment by the clandestine organization known as The Collectors’ Society. Other secrets they carry within them, fighting to keep buried the things that could change everything they think they know.
This series is definitely not Young Adult, so the chemistry and emotions between Alice and Finn are off the charts. I loved reading about their “alone time” and that they can’t keep their hands off each other. It’s amazing and delicious! Finn is gorgeous and delicious. But so is Jace, The White King, in his own heart breaking way. I want to heal him with many kisses. In the second book, we get both Alice and Finns’ points of view, which pushes the storyline forward and kept me on the edge of my seat. So much to process and experience. Serious cliffhanger for sure…
–True love does not have limits or restrictions. True love allows a person to love deeply and unconditionally. True love does not ask you to let go of life. True love encourages you to live.
–Madness is a funny thing. One can live with it for ages: embrace it, fall into it, lose their inhibitions with it. Priorities shift. Realities change. Understandings transition. Madness, in a lot of ways, is a comfort. Madness allows soft footing past harsh truths we yearn to flinch away from.
–Words so easily and yet unfortunately uttered by many, be it to express their appreciation of fried bits of potatoes to sports teams on the television. Words offered so frivolously about a variety of subjects and yet can be the most difficult, most painful, most meaningful, most cherished syllables we gift another person.
Sometimes, the rabbit hole leads to terrifying places.
After years spent in Wonderland, Alice Reeve learned the impossible was quite possible after all. She thought she left such fantastical realities behind when she finally returned to England.
For me, it is rare that a series gets better with each book, because that is a difficult feat. Keeping a reader guessing and feeling for the characters can be challenging, but Heather did it in spades (no pun intended). What a ride this book is! I felt every emotion. I yelled. I cried. I had to keep going, and my heart at the end. I just can’t. It’s just too much. I didn’t read anything for days after. I am so glad that the last book, The Lost Codex, comes out in July.
–To follow blindly is to yield possession of your own compass.
–Madness—that old, dear friend of mine—has come home for a visit. And I welcome its return with open arms.
–True love is exactly what she warned us it would be: strength and fragility all at once. True love can fortify a person or it can shatter them mindlessly. We who experience it, truly feel it in the depths of our bones and the strands of each hair, often allow it to color our field of vision.
I would give every book in this series 5 maddeningly fantastic stars. All of the books are beyond 5 stars. Again, if you are a book lover, you will adore this series. Hats off to Heather Lyons for making me want to read more.