Review: Leasing the Tempest by Jenn Bennett
It’s no secret that Jenn Bennett’s Arcadia Bell series is one of my favorite urban fantasy series, up there with Patricia Briggs’ wonderful Mercy Thompson books.
In fact, the two series share a lot of commonalities. Both are packed with memorable, multi-faceted characters, good humor and warmth.
The long wait between books in this series is mildly torturous (though, thankfully, each wraps up a complete story) but fortunately, Leashing the Tempest is a fun novella which fills the gap between Summoning the Night and the third book, Binding the Shadows (out May 2013).
Leashing the Tempest finds the series’ core characters—Arcadia (an extremely skilled magician with a complicated past), Lon (Cady’s older demon boyfriend), Jupe (Lon’s charming teenage son) and Kar Yee (Cady’s best friend and business partner)—on a day cruise on the Pacific coast near their hometown in northern California. The contained environment of the boat is the perfect chance to test Jupe’s newly-developed knack (his magical skill) on Kar Yee, who’s agreed to serve as a volunteer. (There’s an amusing ongoing story in the series of 13 year old Jupe’s crush on Kar Yee which adds to the already funny premise for fans of this series.)
Naturally, it being Cady and Lon, a day cruise can’t be just a ride on a boat, but instead an angry storm is unleashed and something’s suspicious about the boat’s captain. It’s up to Cady and Lon to save everyone on the boat and stop the magical force that’s ruined their day.
For fans of the Arcadia Bell series, Leashing the Tempest will seem familiar.
There’s an easy banter in the dialog, a complex magical world, action, mystery and tough, but not invincible, characters. The structure and pace of this novella also reflect the series’ brisk pace and strong mystery elements.
Because this novella does exemplify what readers can expect from the Arcadia Bell series and because it only contains a tiny spoiler from the second novel (what Jupe’s knack is), I’d recommend it to people who want to dip into the series without committing to reading an entire book. And, since it’s just a 99 cent ebook (only) it’s a pretty cheap way to check out the series. I’ve been doing this a lot with lengthy urban fantasy series with fill-in novellas so I can taste test it with a quick evening read before committing.
The star of Leashing the Tempest really is Jupe, whose role in the series has become increasingly important as Cady and Lon’s relationship matures. I know he’s a favorite of fans of the Arcadia Bell series—this snippet as he’s getting ready to practice his knack on Kar Yee should help explain why.
“All right, Jupe. No dangerous dares. No intimate questions.”
Jupe’s face pinched. “What the hell does that mean?”
“It means don’t ask anything creepy,” I translated.
“Like …” Jupe trailed off, a devilish look in his eye. Oh, God. Here we go. “Like, don’t ask about her safe word?”
“Safe word?” Kar Yee repeated. “What the hell is that?” Lon cursed under his breath.
“You know,” Jupe said, smiling one of his lazy smiles that brimmed with a delirious suggestiveness he only partly understood.
“Is that one of those whips and chains things?” Kar Yee said. Jupe nodded, eyes widening with sordid interest. “In case things get out of control.”
“No whips and chains,” Lon said, his patience wearing thin. “No safe words. Where the hell do you get these things?”
“Jack told me at school.” Jack. Jupe’s BFF. That shy little Godzilla-loving Earthbound was always taking about crazy stuff with him.
“He said everyone has them these days. Don’t you and Cady have one?”
Lon snorted. “Yeah, it’s a little word called ‘no.’ ”
“No need to complicate things.”
For fans of the Arcadia Bell series, this little ebook novella should be an auto-buy. I loved sinking back into these characters and their world and Leashing the Tempest made me even more excited for the third book. I was also intrigued by Jenn Bennett’s recent accouncement that she’s publishing a new paranormal series set in 1920s San Francisco—that’s pretty much a recipe for awesome, right?
Leashing the Tempest will be released on Dec. 17, 2012 & is available for preorder now.
FNL Character Rating: Bo Miller
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Disclosure: Received for review from the author.