When I first saw the description for this book I was intrigued. I hadn't read anything like it before, so, yay, unique setting! The world of Lanterns, ghosts, and elemental spirits was an interesting one. I liked the thought of the DAGR group, but the thought was much more exciting than the execution. I'll get to that though.
I appreciated the fact that Anya questioned what she did as a Lantern. She did it, yes, but not without questioning the morality of it. Who was she to interfere with the afterlife? Where did they go after she finished with them? As those were the very same questions running through my mind I liked that she had them too. Anya's elemental, Sparky, was my favorite character. The description of him was so cute. He had a glow worm toy and didn't like to sleep alone.
I liked how the ghosts were presented in this story. In most of the books I've read ghosts are presented one of two ways. They're either crazy and malicious or they're living life as normal, except for the dead part. Here we saw the malicious ones and the interactive ones (the library ghost) but we also saw another side of them. So many of the ghosts in this book were stuck in an endless loop. They didn't seem to know they were dead and they just kept endlessly repeating the last hours of their lives. It was sad.
So, if I liked all that why is this graded so low? Well, it wasn't the idea of the story that I had a problem with. It was the execution. This book read in a kind of monotone for me. The characters, even Anya, all seemed flat and bland to me. The events also seemed to unfold in a plodding, uneventful manner. It's hard to describe exactly what I mean. Everything seemed so surface, there was no real depth to anything. It was easy for the events to blur because there were no highs or lows. It just... plodded to the end.
The group DAGR had the potential to be interesting, but we never really got to know any of them. We almost got some depth to Katie, the witch, but her whole role was to be there when Anya needed something. We never got any insight into her actual character. Also, the fact that DAGR couldn't accomplish anything without Anya made them seem bumbling and foolish. It was hard to take them seriously.
Brian, one of Anya's love interests, was also a member of DAGR. Because we were presented with Anya and Brian's non-relationship when it was already established it was hard to see why they were so interested in each other. When Anya longs for Brian but can't risk him getting close it was not interesting to me as a reader. I don't know him further beyond his name and his job. Why would I care?
Anya's other love interest had more depth and was much more interesting, but their attraction made no sense. I thought it was highly unintelligent that she would risk her job for that. The sex scene in the book came out of nowhere too. All of a sudden they were doing it and I felt I missed something. Also, what happened with her job? She got suspended, but then she was back... why? Nothing was resolved in a legal sense. Why was she back at work? That made no sense.
The whole situation with Mimi was rather weak too. Anya felt she couldn't impose on Katie since she cut her ties with DAGR. Why exactly? Weren't you friends? You're an idiot. Your procrastinating made the situation almost impossible to fix. It was only by luck it was fixed at all. Also, what exactly was Mimi's plan? Anya's a gift, I get that, but why? The book was just frustrating to read.