Book Review: Jenn Bennett’s Kindling the Moon

Posted February 25, 2013 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Jenn Bennett’s Kindling the Moon

Kindling the Moon


Jenn Bennett

urban fantasy that was published by Pocket Books on June 28, 2011 and has 358 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include Summoning the Night, Binding the Shadows, Bitter Spirits, Grim Shadows, Banishing the Dark, Grave Phantoms

First in the Arcadia Bell urban fantasy series revolving around a magician in hiding in Morella, California.

My Take

I enjoyed this in spite of some of the high school-ish treatments — I’m suspecting Bennett will get her writing fingers warmed up after this debut effort and improve. We’ll have to see what happens with the next in the series, Summoning the Night. If I can find it…

Bennett has put a clever twist on the witch/magician-and-demons scenario, and Kindling the Moon is primarily an introduction to the characters and the concept of the series, setting us up for whatever may come next. I like the characters in spite of their juvenile reactions, and Bennett has created a nice range of goodies to baddies.

Too perfect! I loved Lon’s retort to Magus Zorn’s forgiveness of what Cady did to his “beloved daughter”. Too, too, toooo funny.

Bennett’s solution for the missing colonists from Roanoke was cute as is The Rocky Horror Show routine with the Paranormal Patrol!

The relationship that develops between Arcadia and Lon is fun with some interesting twists; I just wish that Bennett had put more effort into this and created more tension. It was too easy. The scene in which Lon first shows up at her door, and how easily Cady was fooled was lame. The scene with Riley and Jupe, the various tantric sex references, Cady and Lon’s “confrontation”, and the orgy are more high-school treatments. Providing titillation with the more salacious aspects in magic practices. Bennett does try to make Cady be “grown-up” and blasé about it, but her own youth shows through.

Lon’s anger with Cady is also odd and could have used more finesse. Then there’s Cady’s reaction to finding out who she’s kidnapped. Puh-lease, like the “victim” has a leg to stand on! Just another attempt to create tension, and it just didn’t work for me. Nor is Riley’s justification for what she did to Jupe believable. Gimme a break.

What is it with the bad guys always thinking they can do as much harm as they like to others, and as soon as the tables are turned, they’re begging for mercy…?

The Story

Arcadia’s parents faked their and their daughter’s deaths, but now they’ve been spotted. And the Luxe Order is demanding that the Ekklesia Eleusia either hand them over or give them Arcadia to try in her parents’ place.

Cady has two weeks to evade Luxe Order assassins and find the primordial demon who did the real killing. And Cady’s magic starts to get wonky.

The Characters

Arcadia “Cady” Bell (her real name is Seléne Aysul Duval) is the Moonchild in hiding from the Luxe Order, a rival organization to that which her parents belong, the Ekklesia Eleusia. Enola and Alexander Duval were falsely accused of murdering several people, and the whole family has been on the run for a number of years. Priya, a Hermeneus spirit, is the Æthyric messenger spirit bound to Cady. Mr. Piggy is her pet hedgehog. He makes me think of Harper’s ferret, Chaos, from the Greywalker series.

Lon Butler is an Earthbound, a Kerub, with a passion for rare books, and a famous photographer who lives in nearby La Sirena. Jupiter, call him Jupe!, is Lon’s young, teenaged son. A total motormouth with a passion for old movies. Foxglove is their black Lab. Yvonne is his Earthbound ex; and thank god Lon has custody of Jupe! Adella is Yvonne’s sister; she and their mother visit Jupe often. Mr. and Mrs. Holiday are the caretaker couple Lon employs.

At the Tambuku Tiki Lounge
Cady owns the tiki bar along with Kar Yee, an Earthbound who prefers to be barefoot at all times. Amanda and Mika are two of the three full-time human waitresses; Bob is an Earthbound with a thing for Cady.

The Ekklesia Eleusia includes
Caliph Superior is the leader of the order and Cady’s godfather. Soror Yolanda is the local Grandmaster for the Morella Lodge. Frator Kantor is the Morella Grandmaster’s assistant, and he has a letch on for Cady. Frater Blue has been helping Cady’s parents.

Father Carrow is a retired priest. And an Earthbound demon. Mrs. Marsh is Cady’s Earthbound neighbor who has a lot of trouble with imp infestations. Tiddlywinks is one of Mrs. Marsh’s cats. Danny Wesley is in charge of evidence in Portland. Voxhele of Amon is an incubus who owes Cady a favor. Nivella Krustallos Daemonia is a White Ice Demon with crystal talons.

The Luxe Order includes
Riley Cooper is Phil Zorn‘s daughter, the Order’s leader, and she has no morals. Mr. and Mrs. Tamblin were members before they were booted out for speaking the truth.

The Hellfire Club includes
David is one of the original members and tends to get, ahem, carried away. Spooner is an incubus as well as a collector. He’ll “collect” any way he can. Heck, he’ll even sell some of his collection. Before he steals it back. Mr. Dare is the current head of the club.

Savages is “slang for humans who didn’t believe in anything paranormal”. Earthbounds are demons who happen to be much lower down the scale from the Æthyric demons. Servitors are roving balls of Heka that can do remote viewing, spying, and information gathering.

Heka is the magic uses in Arcadia Bell’s world. The Ekklesia Eleusia is an “occult order founded in late twelfth century France”, now based in Florida; the Luxe Order is a johnny-come-lately and not as prestigious. It’s based in San Diego.

The Cover and Title

The cover is bright with reflecting reds, blues and purple neon lights in complex designs standing as a metaphor for the demons in this story with a cocky Arcadia standing, legs braced and arms crossed, wearing a dark red tank top and low-rise jeans with a wide belt, her long blonde hair blowing in a breeze.

The title refers to how Arcadia works her magic and her heritage, for she’s Kindling the Moon.