Series: Pax Arcana #1
Published by Orbit Books on September 24, 2013
Genres: Adult SFF, Urban Fantasy
My Reviews in this series: Daring
*This book was provided by the Publisher for review. No compensation was provided and all opinions are strictly my own.
John Charming isn't your average Prince...
He comes from a line of Charmings — an illustrious family of dragon slayers, witch-finders and killers dating back to before the fall of Rome. Trained by a modern day version of the Knights Templar, monster hunters who have updated their methods from chainmail and crossbows to kevlar and shotguns, he was one of the best. That is — until he became the abomination the Knights were sworn to hunt.
That was a lifetime ago. Now, he tends bar under an assumed name in rural Virginia and leads a peaceful, quiet life. One that shouldn't change just because a vampire and a blonde walked into his bar... Right?
Written in a tone of smart-ass sass, Charming is packed with action and a whole lot of lip!
Rationality is king, and the emperor isn’t wearing any clothes. ~pg 10
It read like it was written just for me, in a style that was talking to the reader, pulling you into this world and educating you about the reality of it at the same time. I think the style in which this story is told will either immediately click with the reader or put them off completely.
It’s as if John Charming it talking to you personally, telling you his story and explaining things about the world and its inhabitants. Some readers might think this to be an “info-dump” style but I didn’t get that feeling at all. There is an art to packaging information to a reader and like all art it’s in the eye of the beholder. For me what Elliott James did here worked perfectly. Normally I’m not a fan of ‘info-dumping’ but I could sense there was a reason and method to the style he was using. In a way I felt like I was a monster hunter in training while reading.
There’s a reason that we refer to being in love as being enchanted. Think back to the worst relationship you’ve ever been in: the one where your family and friends tried to warn you that the person you were with was cheating on you, or partying a little too much, or a control freak, or secretly gay, or whatever. Remember how you were convinced that no one but you could see the real person beneath that endearingly flawed surface? And then later, after the relationship reached that scorched-earth-policy stage where letters were being burned and photos were being cropped, did you find yourself looking back and being amazed a how obvious the truth had been all along? Did it feel as if you were waking up from some kind of spell? ~pg 1
I can tell you now John Charming has a personality that I can’t imagine anyone not liking. He is funny but sincere and his mouth gets him into a lot of trouble. But he also has an uncanny ability of diffusing situations. I have to admit what I loved most about this was his sense of humor.
A few feet above the ground I grabbed hold of the nylon and pulled myself upward to create a little slack, then flipped to my feet with ninja-like efficiency.
Or maybe I hit the ground between the pit and the tunnel on my shoulder because my foot caught in the cord when I tried to roll, and then I spent a few seconds flopping around like a fish who’d somehow managed to get a hook caught in its spine.
I forget which. ~pg 316
He’s the descendant of an order of Knights that are blood sworn to protect the Pax Arcana, a spell that keeps humans from realizing there really are mythical creatures in the world. He also happens to be half werewolf and all the other knights want to kill him because they don’t want their order and blood lines tainted with anything paranormal. So naturally he is on the run. Somehow his cover is blown and he falls in with a group of monster hunting vigilantes. John can’t help getting attached – could it be a pretty face? I really adored this cast of characters…well not all of them, but all of the ones I’m meant to like, I did. They had really unique personalities and meshed so well together as a team. Which is great because there is a pack a nasty vampires on the loose and these folks need to pull it together and take them out.
Popular young adult novels notwithstanding, vampires only sparkle when they burn. ~pg 11
Charming isn’t only the start to a great new urban fantasy but it has enough of a mix of action and romance in it that I think both female and male readers will enjoy. I’m not personally a fan of the cover or the tag line on this one and if you aren’t either just look past that and pick the book up regardless – you’ll definitely get a few good chuckles out of it.