Title: Binding the Shadows (Arcadia Bell #3)
Author: Jenn Bennett
Publisher: Pocket Books (Simon & Schuster)
Acquired Via: Library
Release Date: May 28, 2013
In the third book in this beloved and “riveting” (Romantic Times) urban fantasy series, demon-friendly tiki bar owner Arcadia Bell discovers more about her own evolving, and possibly destructive, magical abilities when her bar is the target of a demonic crime wave.
Renegade mage and bartender Arcadia Bell has had a rough year, but now the door to her already unstable world is unhinging. When a citywide crime wave erupts, Cady's demon-friendly tiki bar is robbed by Earthbounds wielding surreal demonic abilities that just flat-out shouldn't exist. With the help of her devilishly delicious boyfriend, Lon Butler, Cady sets out to find the people who wronged her—but her targets aren't the only ones experiencing unnatural metamorphoses. Can Cady track down the monsters responsible before the monster inside her destroys everything—and everyone—she loves? If she survives this adventure, one thing is certain: it's last call for life as she knows it.
I decided to pick up the Arcadia Bell series because I always see it in my recommendations based on the Kate Daniels and Mercy Thompson series. I am so glad that I finally did! This is now one of my new favorite Urban Fantasy series. I’m trying to remember everything I loved about this book and the series without just gushing incoherently while screaming that EVERYONE NEEDS TO PICK UP THIS SERIES NOW! So, here goes...
I’m really sad and glad that this series only has four books. It is awesome that there is just one main story arc that is the focus of the books that will end shortly, but…. there are only four books! I've already three, and these books keep getting better, so I can’t imagine how amazing book four is going to be. (Thank goodness it comes out next month, because that cliff-hanger ending would have been a killer otherwise!)
I love Cady. She’s everything I want in a heroine - smart, brave, loyal. I like that there was never drama between Cady and Lon. They were attracted to each other and then they were in a relationship. Large portions of the books weren’t dedicated to angtsy drama about their relationship. There are some portions of the books (especially this one with Yvonne, ugh) that there is a little bit of relationship drama, but it is not the main focus of the books. It’s amazing that even when Cady and Lon disagree, they handle it as adults and don’t throw tantrums and run away from each other or lie to each other. They do keep some secrets for a little while, but the secrets eventually come out and everything is okay. Their relationship is just rock solid. Also, it’s refreshing that Cady, Lon and Jupiter are a family and that they do things as a family. I love their dynamic, and it just shows how well-written all the characters are, even the secondary characters. Jupe is a quirky fun character and I love that he has been getting more storyline in the past two books.
The mythology is great in these books. Of course, I love anything with magic and mages. But, the world building regarding the earthbound demons and their “knacks” or special powers and the demons on the other planes is also pretty great. Bennett twists the ideas between the magic and demons enough to make them fresh.
I don’t want to really talk about the plot in this book, so as not to spoil anything in the earlier books. But suffice it to say that I was angry when I had to put the book down. I like that each book gets its own action packed mystery-type issues, but still continues on the overall arc of Cady’s powers. I am a little concerned about Cady’s “moon-child” abilities, just because they weren’t really present in book one and there was only a little bit more in book 2. But, Binding the Shadows focused a lot on her powers, and I don’t know really know how the wrap up is going to work in book four. It seems like a lot needs to happen regarding her powers and her knowledge of her powers in one last book.
So far, Binding the Shadows is my favorite book in the series, which is easy to decide since I read all three books in less than four days. This series is a great addition to the Urban Fantasy genre, and I would recommend it to anyone who reads the genre. I’ll definitely be picking up Bennett’s other series set in the 1920s and her new YA series whenever it releases.
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