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’s there she discovers villains are afoot—ones who want to shelve the lives of countless beings. Assigned to work with the mysterious and alluring Finn, Alice and the rest of the Collectors’ Society race against a doomsday clock in order to prevent further destruction . . . but will they make it before all their endings are erased?
Earlier this year I went gaga over this author’s The Deep End of the Sea and thought that she couldn’t possibly write another book that could top it in originality but I was wrong. Out of all the books I’ve read, I have never read a story quite like The Collectors’ Society and I love that. Reading this book recaptures that ‘firsts’ feeling: The one where you’re reading a story and it’s completely fresh content, never been explored topic and you’re both giddy and anxious to see where it goes because you truly have no idea what could happen. There are no point of references. There are no other books you can compare it to because it is one of a kind.
This book is an adult fantasy romance filled with adventurous wonders and loosely based off Alice in Wonderland. Just to clarify, you do not need to read/watch/know anything about the movie/book to understand this book. This author excels at writing retellings and spinning them into her own unique story. While romance is a heavy element in the book, it’s not the only aspect and the main couple isn’t the only one to take the spotlight. One of the things I love so much about this book is that it explores so much – from rich setting to elaborate plot to each individual character – but in a concise manner. This book gives voice to many well-known literary characters that are a part of the story and whether you know about them or not the author portrays another (fictional) side of each character that is both fascinating and refreshing.
Now for the plot. Normally I launch into a mini summary of the plot but I can’t do that with this book. The best books are usually the ones where even mentioning a little of the plot triggers the domino effect and spoils the story, which is the case with this book. All I feel comfortable saying is that the intricate plot forces both the characters and the reader to reevaluate preconceived notions and it is one so well thought out and calculated my head was spinning. It’s just so SMART and I love books that make me think and feel at the same time.
As for the main characters, I think the author did a brilliant job panning out their background and their personalities. The heroine Alice is seriously kickass in a way I’m actually jealous of how kickass she is. It’s obvious from the start she escaped from a parallel world called Wonderland and is in an asylum in order to retain some of her sanity and eventually, re-enter English society. Her plans go awry, however, when the leader of a secret organization called The Collectors’ Society recruits her for one of the most important missions in a race against a doomsday clock. It is within this society she meets the hero Finn, a quirky, enigmatic and naturally charismatic fellow who becomes her partner in this mission. And while there is an initial attraction between the two, the author doesn’t make it overshadow the book where lust and angst take over the book; it’s a rather gradual and believable romance that develops.
At this point in the book, the story is both nail-biting engaging and laugh out loud funny but the one thing that was missing was the deep emotion required if it’s to be a 5 star read. I was thinking that I would finish it with a 4-4.5 star rating in mind but then the most glorious plot twist happened and an absolutely electrifying character entered the book and my heart was a goner. I don’t think I have EVER fallen for a character in less than one page and honestly didn’t expect that to happen here but it did. This is so frustrating for me to describe because I can’t even reveal who he is and especially not his name without it being a spoiler. It’s safe to say, this man STOLE my heart and I spent the last 25% bawling like a baby.
“I love how his heart is big and beautiful and generous and that it, when circumstance demanded, allowed itself to break repeatedly rather than allow others to suffer.”
…Yeah, I can’t. *SNIFFS* Please don’t take this as someone died. Not all crying is because of death.
And that is all I’m going to say about this mystery guy and plot twist.
This book had my complete attention from the intriguing beginning to the explosive ending and I honestly think that both pure romance readers and fantasy lovers will enjoy what this book has to offer in terms of an original, mindblowing storyline and an unexpected heartfelt romance.
The Collectors’ Society is the first book in a new series and while it’s designed to be a story that continues on in the next few books, it can technically be read as a standalone as the conclusion to this book is a satisfying one.
ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Heather Lyons has always had a thing for words—she’s been writing stories since she was a kid. In addition to writing, she’s also been an archaeologist and a teacher. Heather is a rabid music fan, as evidenced by her (mostly) music-centric blog, and she’s married to an even larger music snob. They’re happily raising three kids who are mini music fiends who love to read and be read to.