Review: Daring by Elliott James

November 26, 2014 3.5 stars, Book Review 16 ★★★½

Review: Daring by Elliott JamesDaring by Elliott James
Series: Pax Arcana #2
Published by Orbit Books on September 23, 2014
Genres: Adult SFF, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 359
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
My Reviews in this series: Charming

*This book was provided by the Publisher for review. No compensation was provided and all opinions are strictly my own.


Something is rotten in the state of Wisconsin.

Werewolf packs are being united and absorbed into an army of super soldiers by a mysterious figure who speaks like an angel and fights like a demon. And every Knight Templar—keepers of the magical peace between mankind and magickind—who tries to get close to this big bad wolf winds up dead. No knight can infiltrate a group whose members can smell a human from a mile knight except one.

John Charming. Ex knight. Current werewolf. Hunted by the men who trained him, he now might be their only salvation. But animal instincts are rising up to claim John more powerfully than ever before, and he must decide if this new leader of wolves is a madman...or a messiah.

DARING is the second novel in an urban fantasy series which gives a new twist to the Prince Charming tale.

Short Fiction in the Pax Arcana world:

Charmed I'm Sure
Don't Go Chasing Waterfalls
Pushing Luck
Surreal Estate

Hits the mark for the snappy one liners

Daring is the second novel in the Pax Arcana urban fantasy series. Enjoyable and mostly face paced these books have been full of snarky humor. Indeed you’ll get a snappy chapter title everytime. The lead character John is full of piss and vinegar and if he isn’t giving that to another character then he’s giving it to you via his inner dialogue.

Not necessary for you to have read the first book

Because of the way this book starts up, with one of the most entertaining recaps I’ve come across in a series book before, I really don’t think you need to have read the first book. John himself gives you his “Ten thing that people who didn’t read the first book really ought to know.” It’s funny, and thorough at the same time and didn’t annoy me at all the way a normal recap at the front of a book would. Also, this new book Daring takes John in such a completely different direction from the first book with an entirely different storyline from the previous book that I don’t believe it is dependent on it what so ever. Plus a whole new set of characters x2 (more on that later). So if you haven’t already you’re fine to start here. Though I’d say I did enjoy the first book a lot more so then this one and I’ll be sure to share my reasons.

Things are getting rather touchy feely..err hairy

In Daring, John starts off turning himself over to the Knights in exchange for their word to leave in peace all of his friends he made during the course of Charming. They take him, torture him, and of course he subsequently escapes (he says he’s gonig to escape right when he surrenders himself so don’t harp to me about that being a spoiler…it really isn’t…what kind of book would it be if the main character spend the entire time in captivity (a differently book completely). Anyways he winds up taken in or perhaps a willing hostage not quite hostage of the new up and coming Werewolf Clan that the Knights want to see eliminated.

I have to mention here, because it was just that cool, that the first part of the book has an amazing chapter that is made up entirely of chronological flashbacks that take place while John is being tortured, oh sweet pain how it makes you nostalgic right? These flashbacks take us through John’s childhood catching you up to modern day. It gives you some really cool background on how John grew up, his personality and ethics as well as how the society of Knights operates. It was one of the most enjoyable uses of flashbacks I’ve run across lately.

Kumbayah, tai chi and being at one with your inner monster

So yes, somehow John finds himself thrown in with this werewolf clan. He’s agreed to go through their “initiation” but what he really ends up in the middle of is some kind of inner peace camp for newly turned werewolves. Folks are split up into groups of five and plunked down in a forest reserve with nothing but some sleeping bags, minimal survival gear and a lead werewolf who acts as their “counselor” and guide to being a new wolf. It’s like freaking group therapy to the max and John doesn’t like being in touch with his feelings nor anyone else’s. I found this portion of the book to be very entertaining. Not only is he supposed to make peace with the fact that he’s a werewolf but he’s learning about this clan that the Knights want to pit him against. Somewhere along the way some bid baddy comes out of the forest and starts killing wolves and John is called upon by the clan leader to help solve the nasty mystery – and hey John’s always up for killing some monsters right?

Then it’s as if we are reading book 3 instead of book 2

View Spoiler »

Leaving off on the right foot.

Even with the hiccups the second half of Daring left me with – I was still satisfied with how things wrapped up in Daring and it leaves me wondering how and where things are going to go from here.

You can also read my INTERVIEW OF ELLIOTT JAMES here!

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Tabitha (Pabkins)

When I'm in the zone I can flip book pages faster than the eye can see - screaming "More Input!" I'm a book, yarn, & art supply hoarding goblin who loves to draw, make toys and craft all sorts of creepy cute things. My current habit is to listen to audio books while I'm arting it up!
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16 Responses to “Review: Daring by Elliott James”

  1. Lege

    Ok, I read this one and your review for previous installment, and I’ll give it a go.
    I’ll start with book #1 ’cause I am ocd like that, and see where it takes me.

    Great review(s), Tabitha! 🙂

  2. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    I was dissatisfied with the ending. I thought the beginning with John being captured and the flashbacks, as well as the middle part with the wolves in the woods, all that held my attention. Afterward, the story just felt like it spiraled out of control and I wasn’t all that interested any more. And I thought it was a big mistake not to have more of the characters from book one.
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    • Tabitha (Pabkins)

      Honestly that last third “or part three” of the book didn’t do it for me either. The reason I was happy by the ending is because he’s back with the original crew of people and that makes me hope we are going to see all of them again and not just another new random set of characters. Yes it did spiral out of control in that last chunk of the book! Agreed more of the original characters would have been more to my liking.
      Tabitha (Pabkins) recently posted…Review: Daring by Elliott JamesMy Profile

  3. Anne

    I started this last night and am currently on Chapter 11, so I’m just really getting into the story. I don’t think this series will ever be at the top of my list. I liked, but didn’t love the first one and I, while getting lots of backdrop info. I didn’t get in the first book, found the flashbacks a little tedious.

    • Tabitha (Pabkins)

      I enjoyed the first one much more then I did this one. I liked the first half of this one and not as much the second half. I’ll probably read one more book and judge from there whether I will continue because I do still like the main character and the world. The author does have a info dump type style to his writing from the first book that isn’t so prevalent here in the second.

      I hope I see you back here again I’d love to hear about what other books you’re reading!
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