On a most cheerful note, Chapters and Indigo is having the "Buy 3, get the 4th free" promotion. So yes, I've been buying books. Yay!! You'll see my haul tomorrow... I'm back at hunting new releases :) But let me tell you, I've been spoiled in the past year with James... because hunting in stores that have a "backlog" of new releases... well it's not as fun ^_^;
Anyway, let's get unto the review :)
Kindling the Moon by Jenn Bennett
published by Simon & Schuster in May 2011
Meet Arcadia Bell: bartender, renegade magician, fugitive from the law...Genre: Urban Fantasy
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.
Series: Arcadia Bell series, Book #1
The Story: Arcadia Bell is a magician/mage who was conceived during a sex ritual and is supposed to be hot stuff. Seven years ago, when she was 18, her parents were accused of murdering people, so all three of them went into hiding - Arcadia stayed in the States while her parents headed for Europe so it was easier to stay hidden. Time has gone, Arcadia has settled in California, is part-owner of a Tiki bar and everything is going on well... and suddenly, her parents re-appear in the States and they get picked up by security cameras. However, authorities are the least of their problems as the other magick organization, the Luxe Order, wants the parents to be given to them as compensation for the attempted murder on their leader seven years ago... or Arcadia. So Cady basically has 2 weeks to prove her parents' innocence.
She comes up with the idea of summoning the Æthyric demon who actually did the killing... However, she has very little clues on which demon it is which leads her to Lon Butler, a forty-ish years old single father, recluse photographer and also a demon, who's an expert on demonology and boasts an impressive collection of rare books.
Together, Arcadia and Lon race against time to track down the demon. It becomes even more pressing when the leader of the Ekklesia Eleusia disappears and assassins against Arcadia are dispatched... Not to forget Arcadia's powers that seem to change and evolve...
My Opinion: I picked up Kindling the Moon because I have this weakness for mage, wizards, witches, etc. characters and thought Kindling the Moon fit the bill nicely and it did, to a certain extent. I think though my problem is I'm starting to burn out a little on Urban Fantasy, sigh ^_^;
So you have Arcadia who is supposed to be a hot shot, given the circumstances of her birth. However, after almost 25 years, still nothing. Actually, it's even worst as for the past seven years, Arcadia has been self-thought. The only thing special about Arcadia is that she has the ability to see people's halo which indicate what they are. And I think that was strike one for the book... The whole special heroine who is not that special, but will become special. It's been done and pretty much overdone. To me, Arcadia didn't stand out. It feels to me in order to be a successful mage, wizards, magic-wielding being - you need knowledge and contacts... and Arcadia didn't have any. Also, her magic tricks are very coarse. She just didn't impress me much.
Lon was Arcadia's love interest and the feeling I got from him was a bit meh. He doesn't stand out much either, is not ultra alpha or protective. For most of the book, I thought he felt mellow ^_^; I love beta male heroes, but I don't think Lon even fits in that category ^_^; I did like his teenage son Jupiter though. I felt Jupiter was the only character who brought a bit of liveliness to the storyline.
Overall, I think that was the problem: the feeling of the book was a bit heavy, a bit too morose. Arcadia is trying to prove her parents' innocence and all she can really do is go through books looking for the right demon. The storyline was lacking a sense of urgency that would have grabbed the readers. I thought the pacing of Kindling the Moon was a bit off and the action was a bit too late. In the book defense though, the storyline did really pick up in the last quarter of the book and there was a very big and interesting twist at the end and that part saved the book for me :)
My Grade: C+. Kindling the Moon was not the greatest first book in a series that I've read and I do think it suffered a bit of the first book syndrome, i.e. world building. Still the writing was pleasant and Arcadia was a nice narrator. I think the future of this series will really depend on storylines - the good thing is Ms Bennett hasn't restricted herself for the future... it's pretty wide-open and so, all she needs to do is to come up with a really interesting, exciting storyline - yes, I know, easier said than done :) And spicing up our H/H a bit which shouldn't be that difficult given how Kindling the Moon ended :) Right now, I'm not going to jump on the next book, Summoning the Night; however, it is on my radar :)