Reading level: Adult
Trade paperback: 384 pages
Genre: Urban fantasy
Release date: May 28, 2013
Series: Arcadia Bell #3
Source: eARC from author
Reviewed by: Jenn
Renegade mage and bartender Arcadia Bell has had a rough year, but now the door to her already unstable world is unhinging. When a citywide crime wave erupts, Cady’s demon-friendly tiki bar is robbed by Earthbounds wielding surreal demonic abilities that just flat-out shouldn’t exist. With the help of her devilishly delicious boyfriend, Lon Butler, Cady sets out to find the people who wronged her—but her targets aren’t the only ones experiencing unnatural metamorphoses. Can Cady track down the monsters responsible before the monster inside her destroys everything—and everyone—she loves? If she survives this adventure, one thing is certain: it’s last call for life as she knows it.
In BINDING THE SHADOWS, the third novel in the Arcadia Bell series, Jenn Bennett tackles some big ideas: Cady’s Moonchild abilities develop, her relationships with Lon and Jupe are tested, and her friendship with Kar Yee faces new challenges. As a result, this is probably the most emotional book in the series thus far. Bennett’s characteristic ribald humour is still present but there are some seriously heavy moments in BINDING THE SHADOWS. I wasn’t expecting the book to be so emotional, or to be so very wrapped up in the emotion myself. Bennett excels at writing great characters and inspired plots but she’s never gotten my heart so involved in one of her stories before. I think it’s a testament to the strength of her writing and also a very bold move for the author since BINDING THE SHADOWS has a different and somewhat darker tone from previous stories in the series.
Relationships are a big part of BINDING THE SHADOWS and some of my favourite scenes in BINDING THE SHADOWS are the interactions between Kar Yee and Cady. I’ve been a Kar Yee fan for quite some time and it’s great to see her get more page time, even if she and Cady are having difficult conversations. As much as I adore Cady, Kar Yee makes some excellent points in their harsh heart-to-heart and I’m very invested in seeing what happens between them on a personal and professional level in CROSSING THE ÆTHYR. BINDING THE SHADOWS also introduces some of Jupe’s family on his mom’s side. I’ve long wondered what kind of family Yvonne came from and it’s nice to see that they’re warm and wonderful people. Their presence really add to the story and gets Cady to reflect on her relationships with Lon and Jupe.
Bennett really dives into Cady’s Moonchild abilities in BINDING THE SHADOWS and there are some revelations that I can only describing as startling and troubling. I don’t want to spoil it for you since the book isn’t out yet but Cady learns a lot more about what her powers can do and where they come from. It’s going to make her life a lot more interesting and scary and I have no idea how she’s going to get out of the trouble she’s in with her growing powers. But the real OMFG part of BINDING THE SHADOWS is definitely the ending. I actually punched a pillow because I was so shocked and kept trying to flick through the pages on my e-reader to find the rest even though I knew i wasn’t there because I couldn’t believe how Bennett has ended BINDING THE SHADOWS. It’s not a cliffhanger in the sense that the main storyline gets wrapped up but it is a cliffhanger in the sense that I NEED TO KNOW WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN TO CADY RIGHT NOW AND I DON’T THINK I CAN WAIT A WHOLE YEAR TO FIND OUT WHAT COMES NEXT. I love me some Jenn Bennett but right now I’m too busy feeling tortured by that edge-of-the-seat ending and the fact that we have to wait until next May to get some resolution. In fact, I’m getting agitated just writing this post and it’s been a few days since I finished the novel. Damn you, Jenn Bennett, and your crazy brain!! (I say this with respect and adoration.)
Bennett’s writing has hit an emotional peak with BINDING THE SHADOWS and the way she’s ended this latest instalment will leave readers panting for more. This third novel in her Arcadia Bell series really raises the bar in terms of emotion, danger, and magical possibilities and I’m in awe of Jenn Bennett’s talent and moxy. If you’ve been on the fence about this series, BINDING THE SHADOWS is sure to win you over!