Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Collectors' Society by Heather Lyons Review + Giveaway

Hey everyone and Happy Tuesday! I hope you are all having a fantastic start to your work weeks. I don't know about you guys, but I could have definitely used a few more minutes of sleep this morning! No need for the blues however, because I have an awesome review for you guys today. A hands down- no question 5-star review for one of my Top Reads of 2014. I was on the blog tour for this awesome read back in October and haven't had time to post my actual review yet, so I am beyond excited to share it with all of you today. What am I talking about? The Collectors' Society by Heather Lyons! Before we get to my thoughts, here's a bit about the book and our author:

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?


Heather Lyons

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.

Find Heather Lyons


My Thoughts:

Nearly one hundred and fifty years ago, the world exploded. Literar-ily speaking. Lewis Carroll took the world by storm with the publication of his groundbreaking novel, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Six years later Carroll struck gold again, this time releasing the sequel to his masterpiece, entitled Through the Looking Glass. In a time when sequels weren't all the rage, Carroll took a stand and gave the world exactly what it wanted more of. More Alice. More Wonderland.

If you guys are followers of this blog, then you know this of me: I love literary worlds. Oz, Wonderland, Neverland, Narnia, Middle Earth, etc, I cannot get enough. Seriously, I'm not much on "the classics", but this is a biggie for me. In a time when the Earth was a scary and bleak place to be, a handful of authors took millions of readers away for just a bit and transported them into a new world. Worlds full of mystery, fantasy, love, and magic. Who wouldn't want to get away? The novels/series that display these magical worlds are among my all time favorite. Wonderland is no exception. I have always been a fan of all things Wonderland. You can only imagine my excitement when I heard Heather Lyons was writing a "sequel" of sorts to Carroll's amazing series.

I remember I first heard of The Collectors' Society back in the summer when the team at InkSlinger PR announced one of their authors was working on a secret project that they knew I would love. As soon as I was given the synopsis, I was in love. Since then, I anxiously awaited each promo and excerpt just waiting for release day! Very seldom do books live up to their hypes for me, but thankfully TCS did not let me down. In fact, it may be tied for my favorite book of the year. Yes, you definitely did read that right.

Before I get to raving about TCS, can I rave about that cover for a moment? Seriously, hands down one of my favorite covers of 2014. It is absolutely beautiful. It says so much without giving away anything about the plot. I love book covers that actually have something to do with the storyline, and this one delivered for me in a big way. Huge kudos to the cover designer. Woah, holy smokes.

So first and foremost I suppose I should point out a few important things about The Collectors' Society. First, this is a New Adult novel. What does that mean? There is cursing, there are sexual innuendos, there are a handful of romantic scenes that may not be appropriate for young children. Ina  nutshell, this isn't a YA book. This is not a family read. Keep this one for you older peeps. This is yet another reason I loved this read, it was so cool to read about my childhood favorites in a way that did not have to be toned down. Second, this is not a retelling of AiW or any of the novels mentioned. If anything, this is really a.... much later sequel. Lyons stays very true to the original material with all of the works mentioned, but still makes them her own. Do not go into this expecting a retelling/sequel, because you will not have the experience you deserve with this read.

Okay, warnings out of the way.

Our story starts six years after Alice's return to England after her adventures in Wonderland. Withering away in a sanitarium... well... "mental rehab" facility, Alice is coming to terms with her life post-Wonderland. But did it even happen? Alice has spent the past several years trying to condition herself back to "normal", but what can be considered normal in the nineteenth century? Definitely not talk of talking cats, evil Queens, and Jabberwockies.

Alice is starting her road to recovery, determined to get out and back into the world, when her life is interrupted by a strange visitor: Abraham Van Brunt. From there, Alice is whisked away into present day New York City. Alice, no longer a character stuck in her timeline, has now joined our world. In our world, Alice joins other literary characters such as Van Brunt, Huck Finn, Wendy Darling, Victor Frankenstein, and many, many more in their endeavor to save the literary worlds, literally! When evil forces begin destroying 'catalysts', magical objects from literary worlds linking them to our world, it's up to the team at The Collectors' Society to not only save the catalysts, but also take down the evil literary villains who have escaped into our world! This entire premise was incredible!

When it comes to character development, this novel really had it all. I will say that the cast for this read was huge, there were so many characters to keep track of. This was the first novel in a planned series so there was a whole lot of ground work to lay, that being said, Heather does an amazing job of keeping everyone straight. In the beginning the Alice we meet is shy, quiet, timid, and a little afraid. But can you blame her? The girl just spent the past 6 years trying to erase her past and come to terms with her future, only to be transported 130 years into the future and have her life turned upside down! By the end of the novel, Alice, or Queen Alice, has completely transformed. From her quiet beginnings, Alice really comes into her own. Leading the group into Wonderland, Alice became the amazing strong willed leader we all love. Definitely book girlfriend material. Seriously! While this book has a huge cast of important characters, I won't go into much detail about the others for fear of spoiling the plot. Just know that all the characters are equally important and play a huge role. Especially keep your eyes on Finn and Jace (AKA The White King of Wonderland).

In terms of theme and adaptation quality, Lyons really produced a masterpiece with TCS. My favorite part about TCS was how Heather was able to take her own series idea, yet still implement the themes of each individual author she channeled when writing this novel. From Lewis Carroll to Mark Twain, little nods to their works can be found sprinkled throughout these 300+ pages. It was truly incredible. Had any of these classic novelists been alive to read this novel, I believe they all would have found TCS to be extremely enjoyable! This is one of those amazing series that I would love to see adapted for television. Think Penny Dreadful, but modern day and without all the horror and sex. Wait... Uhm, scratch that. LOL.

What about the plot? I am not kidding when I say that novel does not have a slow point. From cover to cover, this novel is fast paced. You better hope you are at least somewhat familiar with some literary classics, because Heather wastes no time in getting on with the story. I loved that about this read, there was not a whole lot of need for world development, because most people are familiar with these characters and their backgrounds. Definitely a refreshing twist. I seriously do not have a negative thing to say about this novel. Have you guys figured that out yet? I loved it so much that as soon as I finished, I read it once again just so I could enjoy all the literary references. It's like a yearbook for book nerds. Phenomenal.

Now I have been asked several times about how Wonderland is portrayed in this book. Most of you guys know that I am absolutely obsessed with Oz and Wonderland, I am somewhat a scholar on those topics! I can compare Heather's adaptation of Wonderland a lot like Gregory Maguire's adaption of Oz: honest, dark, and real. Heather doesn't try to sugarcoat Wonderland, she points out the dark, the creepy, the questionable. Some of our favorite characters, the March Hare, the Mad Hatter, the Caterpillar? They are here, but definitely not the same as you left them. Heather really took it upon herself to update Wonderland in a way I found to be both original and definitely worthy of Lewis Carroll's praises. It's definitely Carroll's Wondeland, but with Heather Lyon's twist. And it's incredible. This is not a Wonderland for kids, but an amazing adaptation nonetheless. I absolutely cannot wait to see what Heather does with some other well known literary worlds. Am I the only one secretly hoping for Heather to tackle 1900/20BAU-WWO in future books!? 

This novel was just the beginning of an incredible series I am sure Heather Lyons has planned out. While I know nothing about the future of this series, I can only imagine that we will see lots of adventures into some more of our favorite literary worlds. Honestly, her list of potential ideas is nearly endless. Does this series have limitations? I don't think so. Also, I really like the thought of different novels being told from different literary character points of view. The seriously could go on forever, I see so much potential for spin offs, reboots, etc in this series. Maybe even some opportunity for some awesome fanfic!

I know you guys love when I throw some quotes into my reviews. I have to tell you though, I highlighted over forty passages in TCS, so there is no way I could share them all. Here are a few of my absolute favorite quotes from the novel:

  • The best revenge is living. Dying for no other reason than stubbornness serves no purpose at all.
  • Madness is more than just the stereotypical person who laughs and eats plates. madness is leaving behind your realities and inhibitions and embracing the impossible ones.
  • "Do they talk?" The Ferz is confused by Victor's question. "Do who talk?" "The horses!" "No Doctor. They're horses."

Okay guys, time to wrap this up. At this point it should go without say that The Collectors' Society by Heather Lyons was not only one of my favorite books of 2014, but one of my favorite novels of all time. This is my kind of read. It should be of no surprise to anyone that I am giving this incredible novel a perfect 5+ star review. One of the best reviews I have ever given a novel. Seriously, I do not have have a single complaint to lodge against this incredible read. You will have to look hard to find someone as excited about the next novel as this guy. If this sounds anything like something you would read, I highly advise you to check it out! You will not be disappointed! If you don't trust me, trust the 4.46 average Goodreads rating with over 115 reviews! Lyons definitely hit the mark with this one, I haven't read any of her other works, but I can definitely say she has gained a big fan in me! Kudos to you Heather Lyons, you have created a literary masterpiece, my friend.

Get Your Copy Today!

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Why pay for your own copy when you can win one right here! In celebration of this incredible novel, I am giving away one FREE ecopy of The Collectors' Society! Enter the rafflecopter below for your chance to win!

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Alright guys, that's all I have for you on the topic of The Collectors' Society by the incredible Heather Lyons. If you didn't get the hint in that review, this was by far one of my absolute favorite reads of 2014. It will be making its' appearance on my "end of year" wrap-up lists, without a doubt! I hope that lots of you have checked out this incredible read already and I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below! Don't forget to enter the rafflecopter above! Thanks so much for stopping by! Until next time, Happy Reading!



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