Review: Bill Bennett – Palace of Fires

Palace of Fires
Bill Bennett

Lily and her mom have been on the run since Lily’s dad was killed in a hit-and-run four years ago. Lily has enjoyed living on the farm, and gentle gardening with her mom. But then a regular trip to the Farmer’s Market ends with tragedy – Lily’s mom is missing, and Lily thinks a scary biker is at fault.

I was initially sent the second book in this trilogy to review (Unholy) back in 2018. I hadn’t read the first book, so I put it on my shelf to be read when I could get it from the library. Then this month Penguin generously sent me all three books to read! Sadly, I couldn’t get past the first one.

The most promising part of this novel was the prologue! Lily’s ancestor is trying to keep her family alive, but the potato fields are blighted so she signs her name in blood with Satan. Then the book segues awkwardly into an elite hunter witch and her two familiars that feed on toe-nipples (no, you didn’t read that incorrectly!).

Details that should have simply been implied are spelled out and then spelled out again. The book jumps between perspectives of the witches, the hunter, the hag, Lily, Lily’s love interest etc etc. to the point that you don’t actually know which character you should care about. Of course we should care the most about Lily, but honestly I found her irritating and all too predictable. She really works hard to make herself different from everyone else, and she doesn’t even bother trying to do social niceties when they might benefit her.

I haven’t read a book that I detested as much as this one for quite a while! I mean, I hated I Always Find You, but I at least finished it. Bill Bennett’s Unholy wasn’t even tolerable for 100 pages. 1 star. I’d give 0 stars if I could.

Penguin Random House | 3rd September 2019 | AU$19.99 | paperback

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