Review: Banishing the Dark by Jenn Bennett (Arcadia Bell #4)
May 27 2014
Mass Market Paperback
Received from publisher via NetGalley
Yummy Man – Lon Butler
Kick Ass Chick – Arcadia “Cady” Bell
From Goodreads –
Complicated does not begin to describe Arcadia Bell’s life right now: unnatural magical power, another brush with death, and a murderous mother who’s not only overbearing but determined to take permanent possession of Cady’s body. Forced to delve deep into the mystery surrounding her own birth, Cady must uncover which evil spell her parents cast during her conception…and how to reverse it. Fast. As she and her lover Lon embark on a dangerous journey through her magical past, Lon’s teenage son Jupe sneaks off for his own investigation. Each family secret they uncover is darker than the last, and Cady, who has worn many identities—Moonchild, mage, fugitive—is about to add one more to the list.
Banishing the Dark is the fourth book in Jenn Bennett’s absolutely amazing Arcadia Bell series. This is easily one of my favorite urban fantasy series. The storylines are so interesting and the characters are simply outstanding.
This installment follows Arcadia (Cady) and Lon, her boyfriend who happens to be quite a bit older than her, an Earthbound demon and sexy as hell, as they try to keep Cady’s mother in the Æther, where she belongs because, as we learned in the first book, she is a special kind of crazy. Yeah…imagine completely nuts and you have Enola, Cady’s mom. Cady battled an equally crazy man in the last book and this one starts off with Cady waking up from a long coma. She is dealing with some soreness and some fuzzy memories. Lon is by her side *dreamy sigh* and is helping her recover as quickly as possible. Because, you know, crazy mom wants to find her and take over her body. See?… batshit crazy.
Cady really comes into her own in this latest installment. She is continuing to learn about her abilities and is figuring out how to use them when she needs them. There are some pretty impressive examples of how far she’s come in this book. I have always liked Cady and seeing who she becomes by the end of this installment makes me very happy. It works perfectly with her character and makes me feel that she is going to be okay.
Jupe is Lon’s teenaged son. I can’t say this enough: I am not usually a fan of teenagers in books – I find they tend to either be whiny or annoying – but Jupe is written in a way where it is impossible not to find him completely delightful. He has such a big heart and the fact that he can’t seem to stop talking even when he knows he really should is both funny and endearing.
The book is told from Cady’s point of view but we get a few chapters that are told in the third person from Jupe’s point of view. Jupe is the type of boy who follows his heart now and thinks that maybe it wasn’t the best idea later. So every time a chapter would start and it was Jupe doing…something, I found myself saying “No Jupe. Oh no Jupe. Don’t do it!” even though it was not necessarily a bad thing that he was doing. I just tend to assume that where Jupe’s intentions are very honorable and everything he does is with a deep seated passion, most of the time they don’t quite turn out as he wished. Now, whether or not his actions helped in this book or hindered Lon and Cady’s quest is something you will have to read the book to find out.
And finally we have Lon. I think I’ve mentioned this in every review that I’ve written for this series but it’s true: he really is absolutely perfect for Cady. And there is just something about him that is beyond sexy! Maybe it’s that he’s mature or maybe it’s that he’s smart and totally captured by Cady. Maybe it’s that he’s normal and isn’t perfect, that he admits to having trouble being a single dad to his energetic teenaged son. Maybe it’s all of the above. Whatever it is, just seeing his name on the page makes me smile. And same as with Cady, he’s changed in the series but not so much that he’s unrecognizable. He’s still quiet and intense yet is now able to open up a bit to Cady, showing her how he really feels. Overall, he’s a wonderfully created character, as are all of the characters in this series.
At the end of the book, you will find Jenn’s Acknowledgements. I read these and boy, did I find a surprise in there. Jenn basically tells us that Banishing the Dark will be the last Arcadia Bell novel. Yes folks, for now and maybe even for always, this is the end of this brilliant series. When I read that I started crying. Yes, I may have been pms-ing but that is not the point. The point is that I have grown so attached to these characters over the last four books that the mere idea of not seeing them through new adventures brought such an overwhelming sadness, one I had much trouble understanding. I mean, it’s only been four books! But in these four books, Jenn manages to bring Cady, Lon, Jupe and the rest of the gang to life in such a way that you think of them as real. You know better, of course, and you can pick up an Arcadia Bell book at any time to re-read it but it’s just not quite the same. The last couple of lines in the acknowledgement passage is “It’s never easy to say goodbye, but Cady, Lon, Jupe and Tabby now belong to you. Please take good care of them.” and she’s right. They do belong to us, thanks to her. Seeing this line made me realize what power authors truly hold over their readers. Jenn created these fictional people in her head and wrote down stories about them. And we ate them up, welcoming these ideas into our lives. Kind of freaky when you think about it…
All in all, Banishing the Dark was the perfect continuation to the series and, essentially, ending to it as well. There is a wonderful epilogue that takes place three and a half years after the book ends and it really makes everything right in the world. I am so happy that I read these books and I urge you all to do the same. These are superb urban fantasy reads.
Books in the Arcadia Bell series –
Kindling the Moon
Summoning the Night
Binding the Shadows
Banishing the Dark