Series: Arcadia Bell #4
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Published by: Pocket Books on May 27, 2014
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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.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
A bittersweet, but satisfying ending to one of my favorite series!
Warning: My biggest feat while writing this review is trying to make it spoiler free, I’ll try my best to contain my excitement and give you just enough without revealing too much…
BANISHING THE DARK is the highly anticipated conclusion to Jenn Bennett’s Arcadia Bell series and I must say she pulled out all the stops on this one! After coming close to death at the end of BINDING THE SHADOWS, Cady is busy recovering and preparing for her biggest battle yet with her powerful mother Enola who wants her dead. To have a shot at a “normal” life, Cady is willing to put it all on the line to ensure a HEA with her new family. The final outcome seems uncertain, but with Lon and Jupe by her side Cady feels this is one fight she’ll win!
I’ve been a fan of Jenn Bennett and Team Cady Bell from the start, so it was heartbreaking for me to learn the series was just ending after four installments (and a short story in between). This is one of the ones I’d read forever but I was also excited to see what the endgame for Cady, Lon and Jupe would be, you just never know with Ms. Bennett! The final installment delivered the same page-turning, on the edge of your seat heart-dropping moments that made me fall in love with Bennett’s writing as the story came full circle. It was hard not to devour this book in one sitting, I tried to take my time with it to savor every page but it didn’t work out so well for me. A good author will make you connect with her characters, but a great one will make you feel those characters are your friends so that you feel a personal stake while reading their stories…that’s what Jenn Bennett does with her phenomenal writing.
Jupe’s role in this book is an integral part of the story and I really enjoyed his POV in a few chapters. I’m not usually a fan of teenager characters in adult books but Jupe’s character development is so extensive and well executed that he practically steals every scene he’s in throughout the series. I adore his bond with Cady and that he’d do anything to protect her, their relationship is so organic that I sometimes forget she’s not his biological mom. We even get a glimpse of a budding romance for Jupe in this book which was the cherry on top! He easily became one of my favorite supporting characters in this series with his larger than life personality and loyalty to his family. I wouldn’t mind a future novella updating me on Jupiter Butler! *wink wink Jenn*
The romance between Lon and Cady does not take precedence to the non-stop action, but is a special element to the overall plot. The ongoing theme of family is constantly being tested and it’s what keeps me coming back for more of these characters, their strength in the face of adversity just tugs at my heartstrings every time. The Arcadia Bell series is not as dark as some other series in this genre, but it more than makes up for it with the intense magical world building, ongoing tension, relatable protagonists and unpredictability. Just when you think you know where the story is headed Ms. Bennett has another card up her sleeve to play! Cady really held her own in BANISHING THE DARK, she’s resilient and has grown from the inexperienced young woman she was into a confident and kick ass heroine. I’m not sure I’ve ever said this in any of my other reviews, but it’s been really refreshing to read a heroine who isn’t twenty (not that I mind younger heroines) and is in a mature relationship, that was another selling point for me.
All good things must come to an end and I suppose it’s better to end on a high note as is the case with BANISHING THE DARK. After all is said and done, Cady finally gets the answers she’s been searching for and the HEA she never imagined. I enjoyed every moment of her journey, even when I thought I wouldn’t recover from some of it. It’s so hard to say goodbye to a beloved series but I could not ask for more than the beautifully written epilogue, it truly made every heart-wrenching moment worthwhile. It was the perfect conclusion to Cady’s story with a glimmer of hope for a future installment if the need presents itself (fingers crossed). There, I think I’ve said as much as I could without oversharing. I’d like to end my review by thanking Jenn Bennett for introducing me to an unforgettable series and its charming characters I will cherish for years to come! <3