The Collectors’ Society by Heather Lyons
3.5 Binary stars
“In pages we find worlds. In words, we find life.”
Do you think you know your literary characters? You might not know them as well as you thought.
Locked up in an asylum in Victorian London, Alice is hiding many secrets about her past. Upon a visit from a stranger with a mission, Alice is thrust into modern day New York City with a new purpose in her life. You see, Timelines were created out of our beloved books and tales, and the characters in them brought to life. They can travel in and out of them, and many choose to remain in the modern world as a part of the Collectors’ Society. I won’t get into it too much, but basically the Timelines existence is in peril, and Alice has been drafted into the fight to help save them, so that her Wonderland can be saved before it is deleted forever.
I really loved the concept of this book. I loved the world building. I loved the idea that the novels we read are only one side of the story and the authors’ perception of the events in them. And we all know that perception doesn’t mean truth. Heather Lyons in my opinion is a master at taking well known characters (or in the Deep End of the Sea’s case, mythological characters) and making them her own with their own new personalities.
“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.”
Alice is incredibly secretive, even keeping secrets from the reader, which at times was infuriating as I was left a bit confused. All events and most secrets did reveal themselves, but mostly near the end of the book. The addition of Mary Lennox was a personal favorite of mine as The Secret Garden is a book I grew up on. And the choice Ms. Lyons made in making her into the nice bitchy girl was a wonderful touch.
Ladies, I am in the minority on the character of Finn. I didn’t care all too much for him. It may sound bad but Finn was too good of a guy, like too good to exist kind of a hero. He literally was perfect, the entire book. Handsome, fit, sensitive, caring, kind, loving. Maybe I’m just reading too much Alpha male’s in my books, but I wanted a little more from him. I honestly could not see how he fell for Alice when she exposed so little of herself to him.
The White King on the other hand, I want a prequel book in Wonderland so we can get his story with Alice! I was honestly rooting for the White King more than I was for Finn! A doomed romance where two people love each other but cannot be together? His passion and despair were so strong, I felt more emotion in the scenes with him and Alice than the ones she had with Finn. So I know it’ll never be, but I’m on Team White King. I shall make buttons and everything.
“Your destiny is not in Wonderland, no matter how much we may wish differently.”
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, but at some points it was slow and a little bit confusing. I feel if more of the backstory behind Alice’s life hadn’t been kept a secret for so long, I would have understood her and her actions a lot more earlier on. I also went into this thinking it was a standalone, but after reading the ending I think there is more to come.