Summoning the Night is the second book in Jenn Bennett’s ARCADIA BELL series. It follows Kindling the Moon and is just as good as its predecessor; with this book Bennett has cemented this series’ place on my “snap up on sight” list.
The main plot this time around is that Cady is manipulated into doing an investigation for the Hellfire Club. The teenage children of Hellfire members are vanishing, and the club’s leader, Ambrose Dare, believes the culprit may be the same man who was behind a similar series of disappearances thirty years ago. At first glance, this case isn’t as personal to Cady as the one involving her parents, but it quickly becomes personal. Cady is forced to make several choices and bargains that go against her sense of ethics or common sense or both, with repercussions that will ripple into future books. And then it turns out that Jupe, the son of Cady’s boyfriend Lon, is in danger from the kidnapper too…
Jupe. Where do I start? I love this kid. He’s one of the best secondary characters in urban fantasy right now, and steals every scene he’s in with his blend of ebullience and vulnerability. Summoning the Night starts out with a big dose of Jupe goodness, and this hooks the reader from the very beginning.
The relationship between Cady and Lon, and the one between Cady and Jupe, continue to grow and deepen. They really feel like a family now; Cady and Lon are becoming more serious and Cady and Jupe have a bond that isn’t quite mother-son — more like “cool aunt” and nephew — but it’s warm and sweet and it works. I just love it anytime these three characters, or any two of them, are on stage together.
These character relationships, which both tug at the heartstrings and provide some infectious moments of lightness, are probably the number one reason that ARCADIA BELL stands out in the field. This is well on its way to becoming one of my favorite urban fantasy series, right along with KATE DANIELS. It’s certainly the most fun I’ve had with an urban fantasy in a long time.