Book Review: Initiate (Palace of Fires, book 1) by Bill Bennett

Book One in the Palace of Fires trilogy, add it to your Goodreads TBR here:

Purchase Links:


Dymocks Books:

Angus and Robertson:


Published in 2018 by Penguin Random House Australia.

RRP: $19.99

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy, Thriller, Mystery.

Page Count: 384

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Sypnosis from Penguin Books Australia:

A gripping new series from acclaimed Australian filmmaker Bill Bennett, the ‘Outback Hitchcock’ (Variety).

She turned and saw them. Three black shapes in a crowd of colour, moving slowly like scuttling roaches.
Three women, dressed in leathers, carrying biker helmets.
They had come here to find someone.
They had come here to hunt.

Three hundred years ago, Lily’s ancestor broke a solemn promise signed in blood. And now she is thrust into a shadow world where Satan is real, witches exist and evil is an ancient living thing that seeks to wreak havoc and rule.

The dark is coming, and only she can stop it.

My Review:

I recieved a copy of Initiate, along with book two (Unholy), and the forthcoming (September 3rd release) Beast from Penguin Books Australia in exchange for honest reviews, all thoughts are my own.

Initially, I wasn’t too sure about this book, but by halfway I was well and truly hooked! I loved the changing points of view and I must admit I instantly adored Lily, our main character, who finds herself having to come to terms with some very shocking and not at all welcoming news!

All Lily wants is her Mother back with her safely, so my heart instantly went out to her! I loved the mystery surrounding Angela’s disappearance and learning how a specifically dark sect of witches were after both Angela and Lily’s soul! It was so chilling reading about the supposed priest character, who would stop at nothing to ensure that he would deliver both girls to his Satanic master.

However, the priest definitely isn’t the only ruthless player in this cast of white witches and dark witches, Kritta, a pint sized young lady with murder and malice on her mind, with ferocity at every turn and two familiars who she can wield at any point, she equally terrified and irritated me! I say irritated because I feel like I don’t quite understand why she longs to deliver both Mother and Daughter to her Master? I feel like I just wanted to shake her and be like “girl, chill!” – but she honestly had such a fierce and steel resolve and wouldn’t stop at anything to see that she would capture Lily, I must admit I did get a bit of a kick out of her determination and I do feel that she relied on her familiars, Andi and Bess (who I must admit had some fabulous banter, the two being jealous of one another and how both wanted to vie for Kritta’s attention).

Do not get me wrong though, I’m definitely team Lily here! There was a scene where she is being guided by elder witch Luna, who warns her that in order to fulfill her destiny, Lily will need to face demons most deadly, forsake all her worldly goods, but she’ll have the potential to be one of the strongest witches in her lineage! I was loving it! I also utterly adored their worship ties to the Goddess Artemis and how they drew on her wisdom and guidance for strength and power too!

Lily’s character growth was utterly magical! *pun intended* – this was just so much fun to read and so addictive throughout! At the start, Lily feels alone in the world, I mean, she loves her mum but she’s a bit weary of her mother’s constant packing up and moving around as soon as they got settled somewhere, but as the plot and mystery unfolds, I just felt like it was so satisfying learning about Lily’s magical heritage and about her fierce fight against the dark witches that would see her family lineage obliterated!

This book is presented in third person narration, told from manga different points of view and as the story unfolded I just think it worked so brilliantly and vividly! Of course, we have Lily’s, Kritta’s and The Priest, but also there was Kevin, a school mate of Lily’s and someone who finds himself drawn in by her quiet mystery, but also finds himself deeply excited by Kritta’s wicked ways and after a specific scene where Lily has a vision of Kevin in the cave during a rather integral part of the story…well, let’s just say I’m very intrigued to see how their paths intersect! There was also a POV from a character appropriately titled The Hag, a witch who hates children with a passion and adopts stray cats with a rapid streak. I really enjoyed her chapters too, especially her utter lack of tolerance of Kritta and her familiars, something which definitely worked both ways, that’s for sure!

Overall, a very exciting first installment in a very unique trilogy all about witchcraft, with a very unique mystery hidden below the depths! I know I’ll be getting into the second book in this series before long too!

Happy Reading,


Q: Have you read The Palace of Fires books? Is the final installment on your radar? comment below – and enjoy your Sunday!


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