Kindling the Moon

Jenn Bennett
Kindling the Moon
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Release Date
June 2011
Book 1 of Arcadia Bell
Urban Fantasy

Meet Arcadia Bell: bartender, renegade magician, fugitive from the law. . . .

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 Ăthyric 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.

Book Review by Jess (reviewer)
Jan 20, 2012   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
107 people found the following review helpful
I really, really enjoyed KINDLING THE MOON. So much, in fact, that I'm somewhat lamenting I found it right away after it was released instead of discovering the series a few years from now when I would have four or five books to devour in one go. The world managed to put a slightly different twist on elements that we've seen in multiple novels such as mages and demons, giving them a refreshing take that makes them seem shiny and new. Additionally, the background story works great with the world, both of which build steadily to draw the reader in.

Arcadia "Cady" Bell is part-owner in a Tiki Bar, a mage who's not afraid to use her magic but would rather avoid it, and has been in hiding since her parents were suspects in a high profile murder within the magic community. We start the novel with the fact that Cady has two weeks to live unless she finds her parents and brings them in for justice or manages to prove that they didn't commit the murder of a high profile mage of a rival group. Pressure, much? Arcadia can obviously use as much help as she can get in this endeavor, which she finds with Lon, our resident demon and male lead.

Cady is definitely my favorite type of heroine; you get to see the realistic everyday side of her and, even though she'll end up kicking ass with her magic, she's grounded and doesn't immediately fall back on that crutch to fix everything. In contrast, I was initially put off by Lon. He came across as cool and closed off but then he manages to sneakily wriggle his way into your heart. I felt that he wasn't your typical UF male lead and, if anything, that made me appreciate him more. Part of that is the fact that he's older than Cady by about twenty years. This could be an issue for some readers, but I felt Ms Bennett made it work. It worked perhaps even better than the 100+ year gaps you tend to see in vampire novels because he doesn't use his age to make it seem like he knows better.

I especially have to give Ms Bennett major kudos because she used the maturity of her male lead character to avoid typical romance pitfalls that authors have a tendency to use on the way to a romantic pairing. One that jumps to the front of the pack is the misunderstanding by both characters, then both characters refusing to acknowledge it, instead letting the issue simmer and resentment build until you get your explosion. Ms Bennett avoids this, instead having Lon step up, take responsibility, and get him on the same page as Cady. It's something I've wanted to see in the progression of a romantic pairing for years and I was ecstatic when it actually happened.

Once Lon becomes a more integrated part of the story, we are then introduced to Jupe, Lon's son. And I thought, "Here we go, this is what is going to destroy this book for me." Honestly, I've had a hard time not getting annoyed by kids in books; the authors seem to have a tendency going overboard on their dialogue, trying to make it too cutesy to justify the presence of a child in the novel. Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised when I found I not only liked Jupe, I looked actually looked forward to his scenes. Ms Bennett does a great job making him a realistic child, cuteness, faults, and all, without making him a drag on the progression of the novel.

The entire book felt unique and refreshing, something that is insanely hard to accomplish in an ever increasingly populated Urban Fantasy genre.
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