Series: Arcadia Bell #4
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Published by Pocket Books on May 27, 2014
Reviewed by: Julia
The fourth and final installment of a "riveting" (RT Book reviews) urban fantasy series about a renegade mage and the demons who love her.
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.
Finishing a beloved series is always difficult, but Jenn Bennett ended the Arcadia Bell series with as much chemistry, adventure, and love as the strongest of its predecessors. In BANISHING THE DARK, readers have a chance to revisit and enjoy the relationships and characters that made us fall in love in the first place. From the chemistry between Lon and Cady to the loyalty and love Cady feels for her new family, this book satisfyingly focuses on the "happy" that Cady can take with her into the "ever after".
Though Cady's homicidal mother spends much of her time still trapped in the Aether, her presence is palpable throughout the book. Whether through memories of Cady's childhood or in the evasive maneuvers that interrupt some of the happiest times of Lon and Cady's life, she's an effective villain. Still, her remote menace leaves room to enjoy one of the strongest aspects of this series, these characters and their relationships. While Cady and Lon share a courtship and chemistry that is familiar to UF readers, they are far from typical or one dimensional. In falling in love with Lon, Cady not just a girlfriend, but a stepmother for Jupe, a role she adopts wholeheartedly. BANISHING THE DARK also shows us Lon's loyalty and nurturing nature, Jupe's impulsive and loving side, and the depth of Cady's past unhappiness contrasted against the brightness of her future.
With so much at stake for these beloved characters, I found the action at the end to be satisfying without overwhelming the sweeter aspects of the story. A series finale that makes me feel all of these characters have gotten their HEA, BANISHING THE DARK is everything Lon and Cady and Jupe deserve.