Arcadia Bell #1
Chapter 1 Download
Being the spawn of two infamous occultists (and alleged murderers) isn’t easy, but freewheeling magician Arcadia “Cady” Bell knows how to make the best of a crummy situation. After hiding out for seven years, she’s carved an incognito niche for herself slinging drinks at the demon-friendly Tambuku Tiki Lounge.
But she receives an ultimatum when unexpected surveillance footage of her notorious parents surfaces: either prove their innocence or surrender herself. Unfortunately, the only witness to the crimes was an elusive Æthyric demon, and Cady has no idea how to find it. She teams up with Lon Butler, an enigmatic demonologist with a special talent for sexual spells and an arcane library of priceless stolen grimoires. Their research soon escalates into a storm of conflict involving missing police evidence, the decadent Hellfire Club, a ruthless bounty hunter, and a powerful occult society that operates way outside the law. If Cady can’t clear her family name soon, she’ll be forced to sacrifice her own life . . . and no amount of running will save her this time.
When you finish a book and not an hour passes before you start wondering what's going to happen to the characters next, and you begin wondering if it's too soon to re-read the book in question, you know the book was great. Without question Jenn Bennett's Kindling the Moon did this to me. I finished the book, and less than 15 minutes later I'm buggin a friend with questions of "what's next" and "do you think...". Jenn Bennett creates a world that is interesting and all its own, even though demons and magicians are regulars on the fantasy circuit. Her characters are crafted with precision, and the writing is so good that readers wont be able to stop themselves from becoming invested in the story.
I still can't get over how grounded the characters are. Every one of them is a three dimensional slice of perfection. From Arcadia Bell the occult raised magician turned bar owner, who's been on the lamb because of a crime her parents were accused of. To Lon Butler, demon slash artifact collector slash dad slash famous photographer. To Lon's 13 year old son Jupe, who's part motormouth part coolest kid on the planet. Each of their conversations, reactions, and interactions with each other are so realistic you genuinely feel like a fly on the wall of real events.
Additionally, each character breaks the mold of a typical UF character, and the story is better for it. Arcadia is strong willed but not a complete bad ass, just because she's the protagonists. She's awkward at times, and has an underlying tone of sadness to her. She takes charge of her life, but isn't all together self confident, which is exactly right for her in my opinion. Lon may be pretty damn dreamy, but it has more to do with his actions and less to do with his silky hair and storm-colored eyes. He shows up. Every time. And what could be sexier than that.
Speaking of sexy. I'm still surprised by how effected I was by the romance bits in the story. The build is absolutely delicious, but this is not erotica, it's not suppose to be. And actually the few sprinkles of smexy are rather tame. But the actions and reactions are so spot on to real that it felt like I had accidentally stumbled upon someone's home video. In a very non-creepy kind of way. It made me think I could read about the couple forever and never tire of them.
The plot runs fast, and I read the entire book in nearly one sitting. It wouldn't let go of me... even after I finished it. The plot is full of adventure and surprises, even if just a touch predictable at times. The twists on demonology were unique and very interesting, and it'll be hard for me to think of demons any other way now.
Bottom Line: One of the best series openers I've read in 2011. Urban Fantasy fans will love the cast, the world, and the possibility of a new long running series.