The marvelous Kindling the Moon, an auspicious beginning to the Arcadia Bell series, grabs the reader immediately and keeps them riveted to the page until the very end. Arcadia, magician and California bar-owner, has a secret: seven years earlier her parents, charged with the murders of three leaders of rival occult organizations, faked their deaths (Arcadia’s also), and all three went into hiding. In the beginning, Arcadia saw her parents occasionally, but at the time the book begins she had not seen them for a few years. While keeping her true identity hidden, Arcadia attended college, where she met her friend and Earthbound demon (demonic entity lodged inside of a human body), Kar Yee, whom she now co-owns the bar with. For the most part, Arcadia’s life remains fairly uneventful keeping magical order in the bar if any of the patrons get out of hand, and helping her neighbor with an imp infestation.
Arcadia’s routine existence gets a surprise jolt when her parents are spotted in Dallas and appear on a special news report. Realizing that the rival magicians are more likely to catch up with her parents before the authorities do, Arcadia goes to see the leaders from her parents’ former order who know her true identity. Unfortunately, Arcadia learns that the order has two weeks to produce either her parents or Arcadia herself to the rival order demanding justice. In an effort to prove her parents’ innocence, Arcadia seeks the aid of an Earthbound priest, who introduces her to a Lon Butler, another Earthbound, who happens to have the largest collection of arcane books in the area. Witness testimony places an unusual demon at the site of one of the murders, and Lon agrees to help Arcadia identify the demon so she can summon it and get the evidence she needs. However, not everything goes according to plan, and Arcadia and Lon both get a lot more than they bargained for.
This excellent novel hits every note in pitch-perfect form: fantastic world-building, non-stop action and suspense, intriguing three-dimensional characters, and the ideal dose of humor, with all ingredients mixed to a superb blend. Bennett skillfully balances all of these terrific aspects so that none overshadows the others. The interesting magical system that serves as the basis for the series provides a perfect backdrop for Arcadia’s story in both plot and characters. The relationships that Arcadia forges over the course of the story feel realistic and add depth to her character and the narrative. This fabulously enjoyable novel receives this reviewer’s highest recommendation. Arcadia’s story continues in Summoning the Night.
- Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
- Publisher: Pocket Books; Original edition (June 28, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1451620527
- ISBN-13: 978-1451620528