Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new urban fantasy from Heather Lyons. THE LOST CODEX is the fourth book in the Collecters’ Society series, which features fictional characters from well-known books being warriors against censorship and book destruction. It’s all very enthralling… I really loved THE HIDDEN LIBRARY and THE FORGOTTEN MOUNTAIN, so I couldn’t wait to read the final book in this series.
An insidiousness carves its way through Wonderland, challenging the land’s very existence.
Battle lines will be drawn as pages, long languishing in darkness, are finally illuminated.
Swords will clash, blood will be spilled, and lives will be lost.
For what is written can still be erased.
Just to recap, the Collector’s Society is a series that pulls characters from storybooks into our daily lives. Alice, Queen of Wonderland, is a heroine of the first order, as she gave up her true love in Wonderland to assist the Librarians to take down rogue agents who seek to destroy entire fictional worlds. She’s partnered with Finn, think: Huckleberry, who is another true match, and boy howdy to the get it on…but they ALSO work together to take down the most nefarious enemy the Librarians have ever faced: the Pied Piper.
As part of the blog tour, author Heather Lyons has asked readers for their pick for a fave villain to insert in the Collectors’ Society world. The book, and series, feature three major villains: The Pied Piper, the Queen of Hearts and the thirteenth wise woman (also known as the one who cursed Sleeping Beauty…Maleficent of Disney fame.)
These are some serious baddies, and they cause the destruction of many Timelines, “real” worlds behind their books, all the characters and people who lived within them. It’s a disastrous business, one Alice (of Wonderland) and Finn (don’t call him Huckleberry) are striving to stop.
For me, I’m not sure about which fictional villain should pay a social call to Alice…I don’t read a lot of fairy tale fiction anymore. The villains are all evil sorcerers/witches, which makes a lot of sense. We did also have Sweeney Todd and Mrs. Lovett in earlier books. Pretty much we’d need a homicidal maniac, who may, or may not, have magical powers. I suppose Voldemort is a good candidate, though I know there would be copyright issues. Still, he’s evil through-and-through and definitely bent of world conquest. Another good candidate could be Moriarty, from Sherlock Holmes, though he may have already been featured. It’s been a while (literally hundreds of books ago) since I read the earlier books and my memory isn’t THAT good. 😉
This is the final book in a four-volume Collectors’ Society series and needs to be read in order for it to make sense. When we last left Alice, Wonderland’s exiled Queen of Diamonds, and her lover Finn (don’t call him Huckleberry) these agents of the Collectors’ Society had just stolen the Codex, a mystical book that contains the Timelines of all realms that exist from fictional stories. In short, Wonderland is real. Alice really went there, she was a Queen, betrothed to Jace, The White King, whom she had to leave behind to break a horrific prophecy.
Alice was recruited as a Collector, to help preserve the Timelines by securing their catalysts, physical elements in our world that protect the fictional worlds they represent. For Wonderland, it’s Alice’s crown. For One Thousand and One Nights, it’s Scheherazade’s veil. Since leaving Wonderland Alice’s broken heart for Jace has healed into a true love for Finn, her Society partner. Their efforts to find more catalysts has been derailed by several literary villains, but mostly by The Pied Piper, who has destroyed several catalysts and the lives behind them.
In the process of getting the Codex out of the Piper’s mountain fortress, Alice, Finn and Finn’s adopted brother Victor (von Frankenstein) were trapped by the Piper’s luring melody. They are tortured and nearly killed, saved by Alice mastering her delusions, and her ruthless quest to save the man she loves. For those expecting a demure damsel, you are mistaken. She’s an excellent swordswoman, and monarch of the first order. She will cut you.
Getting back the their New York headquarters is only the first step in this adventure. They tried to kill the Piper and the thirteenth wise woman by detonating explosions that collapsed the mountain, but it seems they, and the Queen of Hearts, Alice’s brutal nemesis, escaped without injury. Not so for Finn and Victor. They’ve been changed in horrific ways, and are susceptible to destructive suggestions from any of their previous captors. Alice learns the Queen of Hearts is in Wonderland, converting her subjects into Chosen, the soulless followers of the Piper. In order to defeat the Piper before he can come claim the Codex, Alice and her comrades joins Jace in the war against Hearts. There, Finn, healed by magic and science, plays a huge and unexpected role in the coup against both Hearts and the Piper & wise woman.
The action is pretty much non-stop, and it’s gory and gruesome. Land sakes! These are the GRIMMest of (fairy) tales, with lethal spiders and Frankenstein-like horror. I loved every second. There’s a bit of naughty business, too, because Alice and Finn get it on, a little, while the Artful Dodger enjoys some erotic fun with The Hatter and Co. At it’s core this is a deep love story, one that causes Alice to sacrifice everything in order to save Wonderland, even if she isn’t meant to see the next dawn. The imagination barrier is high. Reading a grown Alice, a kickass warrior queen with all her regal charms, is a hoot, but it’s also a bit heart breaking. She’s had to sacrifice so much, and maybe that wasn’t exactly necessary.
That said, the ending here is truly wonder…ful. With the right amount of heart, I’m sure it will satisfy readers. The wrap of the series is a little melancholy, for me, because I really enjoyed my time in this worlds-within-worlds experience, and I could certainly go back and wallow.
About the Author:
Heather Lyons writes epic, heartfelt love stories and has always had a thing for words. In addition to writing, she’s also been an archaeologist and a teacher. She and her husband and children live in sunny Southern California and are currently working their way through every cupcakery she can find.