Author: Elliott James
Series: Pax Arcana #1
Publication: September 24th 2013 by Orbit
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Format: ebook from NetGalley
Cover Rating: 5/5
Overall Rating: 4/5
Review copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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?
This was a book I kind of randomly started. Usually I plan the books I’m reading next but I saw it on NetGalley, ready to download and the description sounded so awesome that I decided to start it instantly. I love urban fantasy reads but had never read one in a male point of view or one that’s written by a guy so, yes, I had high hopes for this book.
Let me jus tell you this, the beginning? Awesoooooome! That’s a way to start a book and capture the readers’ attention right away. I very much liked the way the author was going with this book the way he started it and I hoped it would be this great throughout the whole book.
The characters in this book were all great and interesting and intriguing to read about. But let’s start with our main character, John Charming. You might’ve heard about the Charmings before. No? Not even in fairytales? Charming isn’t just one guy, prince, knight whatever… it’s a line of Charmings. How great is that? I might’ve squealed when I read that part. But back to John… to say he’s pretty damn awesome is an understatement. I loved him right away, from the moment he started his story. As a half-werewolf/human/knight, his life hasn’t been easy. For the last twelve years he’s been trying to lay low, but having a misterably lonely life. It’s not like he’s this bitter, pitty person with everything he has to go through, though if he’d continued on like this he would’ve become one eventuelly. But even so, he knows it could be worse. He even says so in the book. And that’s one of the major reasons I love him. + he’s so hot! And funny, sarcastic. You get it, right?
Then there’s Sig, the blonde Valkyrie. That’s right! VALKYRIE. I don’t know about you but I haven’t read too many books about Valkyries, none actually, so I loved that there was one in it. There are a lot of creatures in it that I didn’t know about before so yay. But Sig, I really liked her. She was kicking ass all around and saving John’s butt a lot. When you least expect it… Bam! There’s Sig! And of course they get a little thing going on. If only Sig didn’t have that douchebag Dvornik as boyfriend…
I’m sure if you read this book we can all agree that we really, really, really dislike Dvornik and root for John and Sig. I know I was thinking, die motherfucker die all the time he came in the book. But okay. I do love how Sig knew she couldn’t cheat on him with John because that would be wrong and she never really did in my eyes but that’s open for discussion. Dvornik was an asshole who couldn’t handle him getting older while Sig stayed young and did all kinds of really bad things. But all books gotta have a guy like this, no?
We also had some other people in the team like Molly. I liked her. She used to be some sort of priest. She still is but her encounters with the supernatural left her a little bit messed up. I like her quirkiness though. Choo, was also a great character. At the end I felt bad for him with what happened there and I agree that doing these things he does is bad for him. You’ll know when you read it. Oh and then there’s this guy who’s a naga. I also hadn’t heard about these creatures but that what I liked so much in this book. So many mystical creatures that you don’t read about in other paranormal books.
There was a lot of world building and explaining about the pax arcana, the knights, mythlogy and a lot more. Through the middle of the book this became a little much to me. It was quite a lot information dump and I know that a huge reason why some people didn’t like it so much. I felt a little bit the same but got over it pretty quickly when the story got awesome again. And just remember, there’s a reason for all the information. It says so at the end of the book. And I think it’s pretty great.
Another aspect that I really thought was great were the vampires. They weren’t the hot, sexy, brooding kind you see so much these day. I mean there’s nothing wrong with vampires like them. I love vampires like them but it’s nice to see a twist like this.
The story in overall was good, too. A crazy teenage vampire having a master plan that involves tunnels, blood, human trafficking, more blood and just overall craziness. And just when you think it’s over, it isn’t!
Elliott James has a unique writing style, I loved it. I just loved reading John’s story and the way he experienced everything that happened to him. I love how he had a lot of epiphanies about how he couldn’t go on like this and it pretty much makes a way open for the next story. Because John’s story (and Sig’s) sure as hell isn’t over. Or so I hope…
Oh and the chapter titles in this book are pretty funny too. I laughed my ass off so many times.
So all in all, a pretty damn great story. Maybe a little too much information that made me crazy and bleh but other than that I really enjoyed this story. The author had a really original take on fairytales’ Charming and spun it into something unique and fascinating to read. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series and to find out more about this amazing world!
“I’m going to shove a cell phone so far up your ass that you’re going to burp ringtones.”
The vampire didn’t walk into the bar so much as flow. Like water. Like night. He was wearing a tight black T-shirt and dark jeans over muscles that seemed to have been sculpted from ivory. His hair was black and tousled, framing piercing green eyes that burned with banked passion in spite of the cold smile on his cruel slash of a mouth.
OK, just kidding. Sorry. That whole thing about vampires being übersexy Euro-trash? It’s a myth.
You play with fire, you get burned. You play with intimacy, you get awkward.
I could feel Parth’s gaze on me as well, and I didn’t have to glance over at him to know that he was looking at me with that “Ah, if only I had you under a microscope, my lovely” expression.
An army brat and gypsy scholar, ELLIOTT JAMES is currently living in the blueridge mountains of southwest Virginia. An avid reader since the age of three (or that’s what his family swears anyhow), he has an abiding interest in mythology, martial arts, live music, hiking, and used bookstores. Irrationally convinced that cellphone technology was inserted into human culture by aliens who want to turn us into easily tracked herd beasts, Elliott has one anyhow but keeps it in a locked tinfoil covered box which he will sometimes sit and stare at mistrustfully for hours. Okay, that was a lie. Elliott lies a lot; in fact, he decided to become a writer so that he could get paid for it.