Series: Pax Arcana #2
Published by Orbit Books on September 23, 2014
Genres: Adult SFF, Urban Fantasy
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.
THE WEREWOLVES HAVE A NEW LEADER...AND HE CANNOT BE STOPPED.
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 away...no 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
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 »So you’d think after the Forest, camping and solving a big nasty problem that would likely be the end of the book right? Well no, not in this case. Instead we move onto “part 3” which is really more like a second book entirely. I have a bit of a peeve when it comes to novels and that is when all of a sudden you’re left feeling like you’re reading what should or could be another book. For all intents and purposes it still follows the main story arc of the series and where “the big picture” is going but you’re on a different “major” sub storyline now and yet you’re still within the same book. Catch my drift? That’s what happens with Daring.
The first small part of the book that folds neatly into the first half is John’s captivity by the Knights, the rest of that first half of the book is John meets the wolves and goes on some big bad hunt and decides if he wants to integrate. Then the second half of the book jumps you to another storyline almost a year down the line when he’s pretty much integrated and a member of this clan and helping on major operations and is sent out on another mission for some other big bad hunt. Yes these two major parts tie together but we’re given an almost entirely new set of characters in the second half of the book other then John himself. So all the character I spent the first half of the book acquainting and attaching to aren’t in this second half. I found that very annoying. I don’t mind when a few new characters are introduced at various times in a book but it was like POOOM all new characters at the start of Daring (ones that are all different from CHARMING) then POOM again second half of DARING gives you another whole new set of characters. It stole a lot of the gusto away from the second half for me even though this second half was much more action packed and gritty then the first. It just didn’t work for me as well and ended up lowering my overall enjoyment of the entire book. « Hide 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.