By: Jenn Bennett
Published By: Pocket Star
Publish Date: December 17, 2012
Format: ebook, 65 pages
Series: Arcadia Bell, 2.5
Recommendation: For those that like a twist on magic and demons, plus a decent dose of quick-witted comments..
Dating a demon, defeating evil, running a tiki bar: Arcadia Bell is a great occult mage in many respects. But then there’s the challenge of her boyfriend’s precocious teenage son…
Arcadia "Cady" Bell may have saved the Hellfire Club’s children from a local bogeyman, but she and her Earthbound demon boyfriend, Lon Butler, now face a more disturbing problem: his teenage son’s new demonic abilities. Jupe Butler can persuade you to do anything—or so he thinks. To test the limits of his newfound power, Cady invites the co-owner of Tambuku Tiki Lounge to be the teen’s guinea pig during an afternoon boat cruise. But when an angry storm whips the Pacific into a frenzy and Jupe puts them all in serious danger, will Cady's magick trump a teenager’s excess confidence?
"It didn't seem like the sort of boat that got lost at sea."
Cady is a Heka magician, meaning she can read symbols and create spells with them for protection...and possibly more. Because of her skills, she immediately notices something isn't quite right with the boat she's boarding with her best friend, her boyfriend, Lon, and his son, Jupe. As they get moving on their journey and meet the...interesting...skipper of the boat, Cady puts the drawings out of her mind, prepared for a nice calm day. Then all hell breaks loose.
The purpose for their trip was to take Jupe out to a quiet place to practice his "knack" The knacks are special abilities that Earthbound demons have, and it seems that there's quite a variety of them as evidenced by the small sample of people in this particular story. But Jupe's knack is a surprising one, particularly when he accidentally uses it, putting everyone at risk.
Early on, there was mention of a "relaxing three-hour cruise". From that moment, a different "three-hour tour" theme song began playing in my head. And much like the S.S. Minnow. the boat in Leashing the Tempest, the Baba Yaga, begins to hit some rough waters. From here on out, it's none stop action.
I really liked the pace of the story; there didn't seem to be any dull moments. You know from Cady's curiousity over the the protective ward there's going to be a mystery slowly unveiled as Cady and her family have to contend with the bad storm that hits the boat hard. There are a few twists and turns to throw the reader off course (that's a little boating humour for you there ;) ), keeping you engaged to the very end.
Cady is a cool character. She has the ability to cast magic on the Earthbound demons, which appears to be a rarity in this world. There is also a hint that she can do other things after dark. This isn't mentioned further in the story but made me want to learn more about it from the full length books.
The other characters are equally interesting. Lon, Cady's much older boyfriend seems a man of few words but shows great loyalty and faith in Cady, that's refreshing. The boat's captain is a despicable man but Bennett creates the perfect circumstances to tie all the action in through this character. (He definitely deserves a plank walk if there are pirates in Arcadia Bell's world, I tell you!) But for my money, Jupe is the one that steals the show. Where Lon is laid back and even-toned, Jupe is antsy, quick to temper, and funny as hell. He has some of the best one-liners in the story.
Add all these elements together, with some neat world building and you have a well rounded short story. I can't wait to see the full extent of Cady's abilities as a human/Heka magician and just how much trouble Jupe can get into. I have a feeling there's a lot more in store.
Reviewed by Jackie
*Received as a review copy from Simon & Schuster