Summoning the Night (Arcadia Bell)

Summoning the Night - Jenn Bennett Arcadia Bell has a new life with her parents gone – and the beginnings of a new family with Lon and Jupe, despite her ongoing nervousness about the age gap.But kids are going missing – Earthborn demon kids like Jupe. And it seems descendants of the Hellfire club owners are the ones who are being targeted – again, like Jupe. The kidnappings mirror a previous series of kidnappers 30 years ago. As the most powerful witch the demons of the Hellfire club know, she’s quickly recruited to help find the children. Something she’s happy to do, despite her misgivings over the club, but quickly it is clear the Earthborn will do anything to force her obedience and encourage her effortsAs Hallowe’en approaches, more kids vanish and the deadline to find the children draws near – and the pressure on Arcadia grows.Before I begin, it’s going to sound like I am 10 kinds of grouchy about this book, which isn’t the case. Because I liked the book, I enjoyed it and I dashed it off in a day with no problem at all. The problem is a lot of the positives are rather mundane and only worth mentioning because I want to counter the impression this is a negative review. And it’s not – I liked this book, I enjoyed this book. I liked the relationships. I liked the characters. The story was fun, interesting, well written and well paced. The world is broad and interesting. There’s a lot of good here.And several of the issues I had with the last book are changed – particularly Lon and Cady’s romance which is no longer jam packed with pointless drama for the sake of drama. In fact, the romance was blessedly smooth, happy with occasional moments of angst and doubt due to the age gap, but a refreshing lack of drama for drama’s sake. In fact, her, Lon and Jupe forming their own family are some of the best and most fun elements of the book.Cady was also a much less passive character than she was in the last book. Now, that’s not saying much since in the last book she did very little esxcept follow. This book is better – she actively chooses to get involved when asked (though, irritatingly, she is then threatened to make her do what she had already chosen to do, undermining her agency). There’s still a lot of following Lon and the ending has an element of random woo-woo saving things for them but she’s more in control in this book than the last. If not in the driving seat, at least she’s called shotgun and has the map – and isn’t in the trailer being pulled by the car. That metaphor made more sense in my head but I’m sure you can follow it. She does have ideas in this book and they largely follow them – but they’re often complained about, some of them don’t work and some of them do work but… well, the chances of them backfiring were high. It’s not spunky agency – high isn’t a certainty – but when your plan involves “let’s give this potion that enslaves people to the sinister drug addict with criminal connections” then there is certainly a high probably of backfire there.I did not dislike this book. But I am 10 kinds of frustrated with this book for not meeting the potential both this book and the last book has shown. There are a lot of niggles and objections I have which, when piled up, look huge and do come together to be a problem – but don’t stop the book being enjoyable.I don’t like how Arcadia approaches her powers. I think “my parents wanted it so it must be bad” is such a very shallow reason for her to decide not to use her Moonchild powers. It’s so simplistic and it’s not like she hasn’t had positive affirmation of it either. She’s had months with these powers now and she’s not done anything to investigate them, develop them, research them, practice with them or anything. Demons are calling her “Mother” and she’s just letting it go. She’s even using more normal magic when she could do exactly the same thing for less pain and effort by kindling moon energy.It feels contrived excuse to make sure the heroine who you have, perhaps, given more power than intended doesn’t then use those powers too much – a way to drag out the development of her power growth slowly over several books by adding a simplistic fear of them which, frankly, is very overdone in Urban Fantasy anyway.Read More