Kindling the Moon (Arcadia Bell #1) by Jenn Bennett
Publisher: Pocket Books/June 2011
Arcadia Bell Series
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.
Kindling the Moon is another title that I’ve had on my shelf for a while and I’m kicking myself for not reading it sooner! 25 year old Arcadia Bell, magician and daughter of two famous (well, infamous) occultists, is spending her time running the demon friendly Tiki Bar she co-owns with a friend when she sees a news report that her parents have been spotted in Dallas. This is a problem, since they have been accused of murder many years back, and, along with Arcadia, were forced to fake their deaths and go on the run. Arcadia is instantly afraid that her parents may be in trouble and calls on help from her personal guardian to find out what’s going on. When she is told by her own order that a rival order is demanding her life in payment for her parents’ alleged crimes, Arcadia is forced to call on help from famous photographer, Lon Butler, but Lon is more than he appears, and Arcadia finds it hard to put her trust in him for something so important, for they must track down a glass knife supposedly used in the murders that her parents are accused of, and this is much easier said than done.
Kindling the Moon is told from Arcadia’s first person point of view, and in her, the author has created one of the most intriguing urban fantasy heroines to come along in a while. Arcadia was conceived during a magic ceremony in hopes that she would be a Moonchild. Just what that is, we eventually learn, but one thing is for sure, Arcadia is sure her parents are innocent, and is determined to prove it. She’s an inventive magician and I really enjoyed the concept of the Earthbound, which consist of demons and other not-quite-humans. Ms. Bennett’s demons are much like humans, in that some are good, and some are not, but most have some sort of “knack” such as influencing others to their will, seduction, etc. Arcadia isn’t sure what hers is yet, but it becomes evident very quickly that she has much more power than she originally thought. Probably one of my favorite parts of this book, though, is her relationship with Lon. At first, Lon comes off as a bit of a jerk, and she actually calls him a Neanderthal for much of the book, but he soon softens toward Arcadia and we eventually learn why it was so hard for him to let her in, since he has quite a few secrets of his own. He also has a very charming 13 year old son named Jupiter, who manages to worm his way into Arcadia’s heart as well, and he definitely charmed me too. I loved the romance between Lon and Arcadia, and combined with heart stopping action, family secrets, an underground club full of debauched demons, a unique world of magic, and a pygmy hedgehog named Mr. Piggy, you’ve got a cocktail for one of the most entertaining urban fantasies of the year. Loved this one, and I can’t wait for the next installment in the series!