Type: Urban Fantasy
My Copy: Sent
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 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.
Cady wants nothing more than to live her quiet life and stay under the radar. Sure, no one knows who she really is and that makes being friends extremely hard, but it’s for their own good that they don’t know the truth. She’s made a good life for herself co-owning a popular demon bar and staying under the laws radar. No one needs to know her parents are famous occultists accused of the murders of several high ranking, rival occults leaders. As their daughter, she’s also wanted and could be held accountable for the murders herself if ever found.
When her parents show back up in the last place she expected she’s told to figure out the truth or pay for their sins herself. Her search for answers leads her to a man named Lon who is reluctant to help her out. But he holds stolen books no one has seen in years that may give her some insight into the demon she believes is responsible for the murders. With time quickly running out, Cady has to figure out the past in order to save her future.
Having read my share of urban fantasy in the past few years I went into Kindling The Moon with an air of “ok, just one more UF to put on my read list”. Instead what I got was something magical and completely original. Jenn Bennett hooked me within the first chapter and I devoured the entire book in less than a day. Which, never ever happens around my house. My kids may have made themselves peanut butter and jelly for dinner because mommy had her nose stuck in a book….again.
The world building that Bennett accomplishes early on, is simply perfection. She’s created a world where humans live blissfully unaware of demons, even marrying them on occasion with no idea of what they are. Demons on earth are pretty low level. They look like humans, talk like humans and may have a knack that they use in their daily life. Mind reading, healing abilities, empathic, even the power of persuasion. If you can think of it, chances are a demon has that ability. For the most part they are low key, they don’t have a lot of power and they stay below the grid. The only thing that makes them known to other demons is a ring of color that floats above their head that humans can’t see. Except Arcadia can because she’s human but also a experienced magician, meaning she can hold her own against the demons that are patrons of her popular bar. Even more strange is that she has her own unique aura ring which is unheard of for a human, but Cady is something more. Conceived during a sexual ritual held at a sacred time, Cady is the Moon Child, though she has no idea what that even means.
Cady is given an ultimatum. Find the truth out about who killed all those occult leaders and pinned it on her parents, or give herself up in their place. Knowing she doesn’t have a lot of time (two weeks to be exact) she turns to a long time friend who gives her the name of an elusive man named Lon who holds books in his collection that may aid her in finding the demon she believes did the killing at the bidding of someone else. He’s much older than her, has a wise cracking teenage son and is a experienced demon in his own right. While they don’t instantly hit it off, they become close over time with Bennett weaving a bond between the three of them that gets tested time and again. My first love is always romance and I found the Bennett gave me the perfect balance between the world she created and the emotional aspect between Lon and Cady that I crave. Where as a lot of UF gives the romance a backseat, almost as an afterthought, Bennett makes it central to the story. Cady is used to being alone, feeling unloved by her parents who quickly sent her away, and lonely because no one knows the real her. So, bringing Lon and his son into the picture gives her a much needed sense of belonging.
This is definitely a book I can recommend not only to urban fantasy readers but also to romance lovers too. There is plenty of action to satisfy and even some humor to break up the tougher scenes. Lon’s teenage son, Jupiter is just so hilariously cute and he rounds out the family so well as Cady integrates into it. This is a book and world you’ll want to revisit again and again!
I give Kindling The Moon by Jenn Bennett 4.50 stars!