Title: The Collector's Society
Author: Heather Lyons
Series: The Collector's Society #1
Pub. Date: October 23rd 2014
Rating: 5 STARS
How many times have readers wished that their favourite characters, the fantastical worlds that they live in, could be real? In The Collector’s Society, this dream may not be as impossible as we believe…
In Victorian London, Alice – you know, that Alice – have willingly locked herself within an asylum as she struggle to overcome madness. After a visit from an enigmatic stranger who needs her help, Alice finds herself spirited away to present day New York to the Collector’s Society. The society consists of fictional character, all dedicated to preserving their own worlds – known as Timelines – which are in danger from a new, unidentified threat. Alice and her partner Finn, from a certain Mark Twain fame, must work together in order to save Wonderland before it is permanently deleted along with the rest of the fictional worlds.
“In pages we find worlds. In worlds, we find life”
The concept of this book is bursting with potential, taking many readers’ dreams and bringing them to life. Lyons’ world building is interesting and complex, making The Collector’s Society one of the most original novels I have read in a very long time. It was fascinating to see the differences she portrayed between the general perceptions of these characters and how they really are, from Finn’s shame of his trouble making past to Alice’s acceptance of her own madness. In this way Lyons hasn’t simply copied characters from their original stories, instead giving them a unique spin that makes them fascinating in their complexity.
“The book isn’t how Wonderland really is. The people there, the animals, the sights…None are silly and cartoonish Finn. Wonderland has its mysteries and beauty, but there’s a lot of darkness there, too.”
Alice is not the young, innocent girl portrayed in Carroll’s Wonderland novels – and even Wonderland itself is changed. It, and Alice, both have a harder edge, one that presents itself when least expected. Our heroine holds many secrets, from her lethal fighting skills to her true status in Wonderland. At times this can be slightly frustrating, especially when watching her attempts to push everyone away because of her secretive nature. This was particularly evident in her relationship with Finn, who she claimed to love wholeheartedly yet still kept in the dark about most of her time in Wonderland.
The romance aspect of this book took a while to build yet was a large focus of the second half of the novel. Finn was likeable and a good match for Alice with his unshakable devotion to her, yet my only complaint is that he was so perfect occasionally I thought of him as rather bland. His only real negative aspect was his aversion to speaking of his childhood, however that was borne out of shame for his antics – again, making him a good guy. Although this book is classed as New Adult the actual content is not very explicit in nature, making it suitable for upper YA readers or those who don’t wish for large amounts of adult content. However, if that’s what you’re looking for…don’t expect much – but don’t let that put you off this book!
Original, magical and romantic, The Collector’s Society is a novel I highly recommend to all fantasy readers and a series I will certainly continue!