Title: Summoning the Night
Author: Jenn Bennett
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Arcadia Bell (Book 2)
Publication Date: April 24, 2012
Format: Paperback, 324 Pages
ISBN-10: 1451620535 (Pocket Books)
ISBN-13: 978-1451620535 (Pocket Books)
Reviewed by: Sheila
MAGICAL TRICKS. DEMONIC TREATS.
After narrowly escaping her fate as a sacrificial scapegoat, Arcadia Bell is back to normal. Or at least as ordinary as life can be for a renegade magician and owner of a tiki bar that caters to Earthbound demons. She’s gearing up for the busiest day of the year—Halloween—when a vengeful kidnapper paralyzes the community.
The influential head of the local Hellfire Club taps Cady to track down the fiendish bogeyman, and now that she’s dating red-hot Lon Butler, the Club’s wayward son, she can hardly say no. Cady and Lon untangle a gruesome thirty-year trail of clues that points to danger for the club members’ children. But locating the person behind the terror will require some metaphysical help from Cady’s loyal bar patrons as well as her potent new Moonchild powers—and she’d better figure it out before the final victim disappears and her own darkest secret becomes her biggest enemy.
Quick & Dirty: Explores the joys of day-to-day relationship problems while hunting down serial killers.
Opening Sentence: Jupe pinched himself on the arm and grinned from the passenger seat of my Volkswagon.
I was impressed with the first book from the Arcadia Bell series, Kindling the Moon. It was funny without being comedic and filled with sexual tension that didn’t over-shadow the main conflict. That’s a hard act to follow. So after reading Summoning the Night, I can safely say that it is a worthy sequel.
Arcadia Bell and her boyfriend, Lon Butler, have been through a lot with one another. Now that things have settled into day-to-day routines, they are getting comfortable with becoming a true couple with “normal” couple problems. For instance, what can Arcadia disclose to Lon about his son, Jupe’s, 13-year-old issues that will not compromise her relationship with either one of them? If only the problems stayed so mundane. Now, Arcadia and Lon are asked by the head of the infamous Hellfire Club, Mr. Dare, to find a killer. 30 years ago, someone took seven children right before Halloween and sacrificed them. He was never found and tried for his heinous crimes, and now it looks like he’s started again. Only this time, the killer is concentrating on the descendants of Hellfire Club members. Children are being taken without anyone witnessing their kidnapping. It is as if they are just disappearing into thin air. Mr. Dare and the other members of the Club suspect that the killer is a member of the supernatural community. If that is the case, than Arcadia and Lon are charged with finding the person responsible and handing him over for vigilante justice. Can they solve the mystery behind the killings, or will they be too late?
One of the best things about this book is the relationship between Arcadia and Lon. They are such a wonderful couple. They work well together, even without the “danger” factor fueling their relationship. I also enjoy reading about Arcadia trying to be responsible with Jupe while still maintaining her “coolness” factor. And after the betrayal of her parents, Arcadia is left feeling a little lost. But even though she was hurt emotionally by her parent’s actions, she doesn’t let it affect her actions with the people in her life she thinks are important. She allows Lon and Jupe into her heart, even though she is still concerned about becoming dependant on anyone again. These little windows into the minds of Arcadia, Lon, and even Jupe are what really allow me to relate to the characters. They all struggle to find a balance that allows them to be together in a family-like situation.
Not only does their personal one-on-one relationships grow, but we get see more depth in each individual personality. Jenn Bennett blends seamlessly the past experiences of the characters into relatable reactions. We cannot expect a teenager like Jupe to not be affected by being kidnapped twice. Nor can we reasonably expect a parent like Lon not to feel guilty and angry about his child being put into a dangerous situation. But I can expect Lon to no longer blame Arcadia for all the trouble happening in his life, like he did before. I can hope that Arcadia’s feelings for the boy not of her womb to deepen with time and exposure. Like Arcadia and Lon say in the last book; Jupe grows on you, like mold. These character growths are what make me look forward to more adventures with the three of them together.
The continuing exploration of Arcadia’s newly found moonchild ability is furthered. She is hesitant to use a power that she has associated with the mental instability of her parents. In this book, Arcadia struggles with her feelings about moon kindling in general. Her fears about its potential mental risks, and her inexperience brings in extra tension throughout the storyline. I hope to see her make peace within herself and explore this unique power. Maybe we can speculate a future bad guy exploiting her and pushing her to discover untapped uses for this new way of kindling, or magical power.
Summoning the Night is well written and full of unforgettable characters. While I appreciate the cliffhanger at the end, I have to lament it with equal fervor. I (not-so) patiently await the next installment of this series.
“Is that why you came home early?”
It totally was. I grinned up at him. “For the record, I like it when you sound like a dying horse.”
His hips rocked against mine in one slow but insistent push. “First Jesus, now a stallion? You’ve really got it bad for me, don’t you?”
“I’m not the one who took an early flight home,” I said as I smacked him on the ass with the tips of my fingers.
He retaliated by running his teeth over my neck and making a humorous growl that sounded neither holy nor horse. “Goddamn, it’s cold in your house, Cadybell. You gonna let me inside the sheets?” He hooked a finger over the bedcovers. “Hold on just one minute… are you wearing”-he tugged at the quilt, trying to pull it down-“a nightgown?”
Crud. I’d forgotten all about that.
I didn’t own much lingerie. Before Lon, I slept in a T-shirt. After Lon, I mostly slept naked. But this was the first time Jupe had slept the night at my house, and all of my acceptable lounge pants were dirty or at Lon’s. I didn’t want to be surprised in the middle of the night if the kid couldn’t sleep, which is why I was wearing the ugliest nightgown known to human-or demon-kind. The printed design was scattered with cupcakes, hearts, and the word HUGS! repeated on a Pepto-Bismol-pink background. Kar Yee gave it to me in college as a prank. Hard to believe at times, but she really did have a sense of humor.
“Cupcakes?” His nose crinkled and he struggled to yank down the covers while I slapped at his fingers. I couldn’t have been more embarrassed. This was so not helping my ongoing anxiety over our age difference. He knotted his fingers into my sides to tickle me. I jumped and squealed. He redoubled his effort. I tried to buck him off of me, half laughing, half yelling in protest.
Without warning, the door to my bedroom was flung open and slammed against the wall with a loud crack.
A throaty “Hey!” boomed from the open doorway.
Lon and I yelped in surprise.
“Goddammit, Jupe!” Lon bellowed.
The Arcadia Bell Series:
3. Binding the Shadows
FTC Advisory: Simon & Schuster/Pocket Books provided me with a copy of Summoning the Night. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review. The only payment received came in the form of hugs and kisses from my little boys.
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