Binding the Shadows

Binding the Shadows - Jenn Bennett Arcadia Bell is learning to live with her Moonchild magic, getting used to it and using it more often in her daily life – and for missions foisted on her by Dare.But even putting aside his leash, Arcadia finds herself on a mission when Earthbound demons rob her bar and injure Kar Yee, her business partner. It’s embarrassing but worse, these demons had power far beyond what should be possible and who knows what damage they could do if these super powers spread.And her Moonchild power is expanding and changing – changing her as well in ways she doesn’t understand but are terrifying. Almost as terrifying as her mother still being alive – and looking for her. Then there’s Lon’s in-laws, Jupe’s aunt and grandmother are in town for the holidays, ready to check out the new addition to their family.This is a series I’m keeping my eye on because it feels like something with so much potential. We have a very interesting unique world with magic and demons combined in a way I haven’t seen before with a number of interesting twists to keep it going. The world was great and some of the characters had potential – but I keep waiting for the story to reach that potential. I think I’ve read all three of these books with a sense of anticipation – waiting for them to iron out the flaws and really be what they could be.The first thing I liked about this particular book in the series was the foundation of it. No more Arcadia being threatened by Dare, none of her being dragged into the plot against her will. In fact, she outright stood up to him. Instead the story was based on a robbery at her own bar and her own concerns about what the demons with super perks were doing. She was personally motivated and also active in tracking down the culprits and finding the answers – more so than she has been in the previous books. At any point she could have stopped pursuing this and got on with her life – she wasn’t being threatened by anyone, she wasn’t being forced and she wasn’t doing it for other people; ultimately Arcadia was pursuing her own agenda for her own reasons in her own way. This goes in part with the fact she’s also more assertive and more confident than in previous books. While she still has doubting moments with Lon, Arcadia is now more confident that, yes, she does deserve him and she’s more able to tally her achievements and be proud of them. It’s a precious thing to see a protagonist so openly embrace her self-esteemThe story has a decent mystery – they had leads and red herrings, brief moments of actions and chases. They had dead ends and became frustrated but didn’t dwell on it too long. I won’t say it was stellar or particularly exciting. I think the main thing stopping it from being a really good mystery is that the two main plots – finding out about the super perks didn’t work together well with discovering the answers about Arcadia’s Moonchild powers. The storylines didn’t mesh together, they got in each other’s ways. Then there’s the family – while I loved the scenes with the family and Arcadia becoming more part of them, they did detract a lot from the urgency of both plot lines. After all, neither can be life and death in importance if you’re going to take time out for a family dinner. In some ways I like that her life isn’t entirely derailed by the plot line but it did reduce the urgency of the storyRead More