Palace of Fires: Initiate by Bill Bennett
Penguin Books, 2018. ISBN 9780143783794
(Age: 12+) Recommended. Themes: Witchcraft. Good and evil. Beginning with the tale of an ancestor's pact with the devil, Initiate follows a modern American girl, Lily, on her journey of discovery following her mother's disappearance. For the first time since her father died Lily's life is close to settled. She and Angela are selling their produce and hoping for a decadent lunch at one of the fanciest restaurants in town. But things change when three scary looking women appear. Without any warning Angela takes Lily and flees, leaving her daughter in a motel and disappears. With Angela gone, leaving Lily all alone she has no choice but to get in contact with her uncle Freddie who, as Angela explained in the letter she left, would explain everything. While Freddie organises someone to collect her, Lily is subject to the questioning of Detective Marley Davis, who, of all things, asks her about witches and the Golden Order of Baphomet. While Lily dismisses this as ridiculous, she soon learns it is anything but, and she has the potential to be a great and powerful witch, with training. But first she must reach her uncle in Santa Fe while continuing to evade the three biker women who are desperate to catch her too.
Confusion reigns for most of the novel as Lily comes to terms with her budding sensitivity to the energies that surround her and her sudden desirability to the school stud, KJ and the forces of evil. Meanwhile she hurtles towards a destiny she previously could not imagine, discovering family secrets along the way and embracing the reality that she is a soldier of the light.
I would recommend for anyone twelve and up with an interest in witchcraft and the battle between good and evil.
Kayla Gaskell, 21