Author: Elliott James
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Pax Arcana (Book 1)
Publication Date: September 24, 2013
Format: Paperback, 400 Pages
ISBN-10: 0316253391 (Orbit Books)
ISBN-13: 978-0316253390 (Orbit Books)
Reviewed by: Shirene
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 chain-mail 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?
Quick & Dirty: Vampires are making their presence known in a rural town but don’t expect to run into a Charming/Werewolf and a Valkyrie but this leads to more questions than answers for them both.
Opening Sentence: There is a reason that we refer to being in love as being enchanted.
This story relies heavily on mythology, fairy tales and medieval tales of wonder and I adore them all. There is just something about a tale of a knight and his struggle that reminds me of childhood and stories that were read to me as I was drifting off to sleep, or when I had snared a flashlight and was sneaking in one more chapter when I had been sent to bed an hour ago. This story brought that to the table and I wasn’t prepared for it.
Another unique part of this story is it is told entirely in John Charming’s point of view. I can’t remember the last time I read a romance where the entire story was male and I found this a breath of fresh air. Often times we will get a male point of view put there are portions where we either see the female lead’s point of view or we get a narrator. Not this story, no way. The entire story and narration is from John and I’m thankful of this because I really got to understand his motivations because he told me about them and there is something poignant about getting into the male psyche that continues to baffle and bewilder me and I’m sure some of you readers as well.
John Charming is part of an ancient order of knights that were given the role protecting humanity and the Pax Arcana, which is the layer that protects humans from seeing monsters such as vampires, werewolves and all sort of other magical beings that are really living in the world. However, John has become one of the hunted by the knights because he is part werewolf, and therefore, seen as an abomination of the knighthood code.
Thankfully for us John has thwarted the knights that have sought to kill him to tell his story, which is the book Charming. John’s voice is strong and I really enjoyed where he explained history and scenarios but never in a condescending way, but because he was seeking to record the story for posterity and we are the lucky recipients of this record keeping.
All good fairy tale stories with a prince require a princess and John sure does get one in Sig like the side arm. I adore the fact that she is such a strong woman and more often than not is pictured in such a strong way but there is a definitive feminine side to her that makes my heart glad. She isn’t one to take a back seat but isn’t afraid to look to others for moral support and help. She is a well rounded female and I approve of her.
The story has many plot twists and a red herring or two but is well crafted, and I will definitely be keeping my eyes peeled for other books by Elliott James. Hopefully, we get more of John and Sig’s story in a second book of this series.
So my final thoughts are this, if you are interested in a good story, twist on a fairy tale or want to read a book from a male point of view then pick up this book and read as soon as you can. If you are looking for action and a little romance then this book also fits that bill. Lastly, if you are looking for a world that is familiar and lets you fall gracefully into it then this book is also for you. Read this book!
On a side note, this book is perfect for a guy to read and I think that they would enjoy it not just for the story but for the amazing swords that John uses through out the book.
“You. Vampire Hunter Barbie. Hold it.” I pitched my voice so that she could hear me even with normal human hearing but nobody else could.
Sig adjusted her path and stalked towards the bar, moving at an angle that put me between her and the direction the vampire was moving in. When she spoke, her voice was low and strained. “You still have a chance to avoid getting tangled up in this. I suggest you take it.”
“I don’t care what you do,” I assured her. “Just do it away from my bar.”
Sig gave me her full attention. I didn’t know it then but she always became calmest at the prospect of imminent violence, a kind of awful and solemn calm that didn’t fool anyone. Her eyes became large and serious, her voice soft. “And how are you going to stop me?”
“You just have normal human hearing, don’t you?” I asked.
“Why?” she asked suspiciously.
“Because,” I said, “I’ve already stopped you.”
The bathrooms had windows facing out on a side alley, and vampires move fast.
With a curse, the blonde rushed toward the restrooms, shooting me a look that left blister marks. I raised my hand and sarcastically waggled my fingers at her. Goodbye, whatever you are. Forget to write. Nice ass.
FTC Advisory: Orbit provided me with a copy of Charming. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
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