Palace of Fires by Bill Bennett

A review

16-year-old Lily lives with her flighty, spiritual mum, Angela. After the sudden loss of her father, they have moved often, kept to themselves and every Saturday, they head to the local Farmers Market to sell their vegetables. When Angela goes missing, Lilly’s neat little world is thrown into chaos.

If I’m not back by 8, then it means they’ve taken me. I have so much to explain, Lily, and I don’t have the time now, because I have to go back to the farm to collect something very important which must remain with you, darling, should anything happen to me. It is your birthright, your ancestry, and your destiny.

9780143783794Satan is real, black witches serve him. Lily’s ancestor made a deal and then reneged beginning a line of white witches with the power to try to stop the black witches from throwing the world into turmoil. And as icing on the cake, Lily discovers her mum is the leader of the white witches, a group called Cygnet, and as powerful as they come. The tingling in Lily’s hand wasn’t ‘nothing’, it’s the beginning of her own powers kicking in. Will Lily believe and embrace the magic, her destiny, so she can save her mum.

While I don’t normally give a star rating on here when I review, I have usually updated Goodreads with a rating. Not this time though, because I’m not sure what to rate it. Maybe by the end of my rambling I’ll be able to say whether I liked it or not.

I really enjoyed the first half of this book. As you dive into the first chapter Bennett’s beautiful descriptive writing sets the scene. You see the scenery, feel the chill and smell the breakfast. Lily is brought to life.

Lily had her mother’s lean figure, and it didn’t seem like it was going to fill out anytime soon. But she also had her mom’s pale-green eyes, high cheekbones, upturned nose, freckles and a mouth that was inclined to smile and grin, and sometimes even laugh. It was a face full of spark, a face that challenged the world.

Lily seemed like she was going to become an interesting character. She had her own style, she was a bit dry and sarcastic and she adored her mother. She had an a fire inside her, which seemed like it was subdued for a half of the book. She does find that fire again, and its lovely to watch, and yes ok, a character needs growth, but I feel like her character and story got lost in amongst the rest of the story, and as I found her the most interesting part, I lost interest. I know I’m making this sound like all of the characters sucked, they didn’t. But only a couple stood out for me. They all had their own voice and story arc, but they didn’t do much for me.

The plot seemed to slow right down during the middle section of the book even though large amounts of time were passing. It seemed like Lily was dragged around just so we could get more background information on her family. There is a scene in which she goes to a Professor to be told about her family history. She goes there with her Uncle who although he knows all this information, can’t tell her himself. That just seemed weird and very unnecessary.

A lot of storylines tie into one another near the end of the book, but I found these unsatisfying. There didn’t really seem to be any point to them. A good 50-100 pages could have been removed from this book and then instead of filler and a series, we could have had one complete story. I feel like people need to be reminded “SOMETIMES A STANDALONE IS OK”.

The story has witches, corrupt businessmen, assassins, an international police inquiry, a “sweet” old lady whose annoying neighbours sometimes meet an unfortunate end ( I love her) and the types of magic are interesting. But it didn’t mesh well for me. I still say the writing was beautiful, but the story wasn’t what I was looking for.

The story had lots of lore that all sounded slightly familiar to me and I honestly think 15-year-old me would have adored this book. I really would have loved it. I spent a year thinking I could be a Wiccan, so the concept of good vs evil, 16 yr old girl being the special one and a hot boy, would have been right up my alley. I would have been all over it and hanging for book 2. Unfortunately 34 yr old me isn’t.

For more information checkout out Palace of Fires on Goodreads. Or if you want to get yourself a copy AmazonAmazon – Aus or Booktopia


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