Charming – Elliott James

CharmingAuthor: Elliott James
Series:Pax Arcana #1
Publishing Date: 24th September 2013
Page Number: 400 pages
Origin: NetGalley


synopsisJohn Charming comes from a long line of Charmings – a family of knights and warriors that have fought dragons, werewolves, vampires and every kind of monster you can think of for centuries. John used to be one of the very best in an age when, instead of stakes, chain mail and broadswords, the modern-day knights’ methods have evolved to shotguns and Kevlar.

After John becomes one of the abominations the knights have sworn to hunt, he finds himself living his life in hiding and on the run whenever they get too close. But one day the fragile peace and quiet he’s fought for threatens to blow up in his face when Sig and her allies come a-calling.

Drawn into the hunt for one of the most dangerous up and coming vampires they’ve ever seen, John is faced with a choice: does he run towards the hunt and embrace his growing attraction for Sig, or does he leave it all behind for the sake of survival?

If you think you know Prince Charming, this book will make you think again.

ReviewFirst things first, this book is adult fiction and therefore is not suitable for younger readers.

This book was like a breath of fresh air. I really, really don’t want to spoil this book for anyone because I loved all the little surprises so I am keeping schtum, which will no doubt make this review both shorter and harder than usual!

As much as I loved the creativity and originality with the plot (fantastic reworking of Prince Charming!) and the addition of mythical creatures rarely seen even now, one my absolute favourite things about this book was the pacing. For some reason, a lot of the adult fiction I’ve read lately was so fast-paced that, as much as I wanted to find out what happened next, I had to put it down every few chapters just to process what was actually going on. Not so with Charming! There was still a lot going on in the book – do not let me mislead you into thinking otherwise – so while I wasn’t ever thinking ‘oh just hurry up already’, neither was I tempted to throttle characters and beseech them to slow down before they fell down. Since good pacing is so not easy, Elliott James I salute you!

Since I’m trying ever so hard not to give anything away, this next bit is probably going to sound a bit vague and really quite gushy, but it’s all much deserved I assure you 🙂

The characters are all well-rounded and individual. Elliott got all the voices spot on and I loved how John wasn’t afraid to let his other side show when he needed to, and how the others weren’t afraid to go toe to toe with him even if it wasn’t always the best decision they could/should have made.

Sig is one of those badass girls that you just know messing with them is a bad idea, and I really thought her character was just as refreshingly original as John’s 😉 The fact that John and Sig were so convincingly don’t-mess meant that addition of Ted, Molly and Choo balanced things out quite nicely, as did the fact that they get scared as well as hurt. Often these big, violent stories have big, violent characters that take to it all like a duck to water, but for me the fact that (these people) were just ordinary people trying to make sense of what they’re seeing really enriched the book as a whole. Finally (I’ll stop soon, promise!) the baddies. Some were a nicely done twist at the end, but the main threat hanging over the protagonists’ heads from the start was certainly an interesting take on the big, bad villain. I can’t imagine getting said person right was easy. After all, when you’ve got people of John and Sig’s calibre worried, there has to be a helluva good reason. No doubt there will be people who disagree, but personally I was sold.

Right, that’s me done – and not quite as short as I thought it would be! Hopefully that will convince you even more that this is a brilliant book kicking off an amazing series which, if you find yourself looking for something different in a favourite genre, I can heartily recommend.

Rating 4splattersHWSignatureVictoria


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