I debated on 3.5 or 4 stars....but after a few days I still really liked this book so I'll split the difference call it a 3.75 and just round up to 4. I'll actually just throw in the 0.25 because of this one line
Popular young adult novels notwithstanding, vampires only sparkle when they burn.
John Charming hasn’t really lived a charmed life so far. There have been no sleeping princess’s to wake with a kiss or rescue from a dragon. No quests for a holy grail or kingdoms to rule. No, he is stuck in an order of Knights trying to protect a magical barrier, the Pax Arcana, that makes sure mere mortals don’t figure out there are magical beings in the world. What’s worse is the afore mentioned Knights seems hell bent on killing him too. But as least there is coffee.
“Coffee is one of the few constants in my life,” I explained. “No matter where I go, no matter how crappy a day I’m having, no matter what kind of mood I’m in, coffee is always there to make me feel a little better.”
If you are a fan of heroic tales, urban fantasy with a different twist to the vampire, fae, were-wolf and some kick ass fight scenes then this will be right up your alley. I will say that the choices for fantasy creatures are a little out of the norm too. I like this isn’t just vampires, werewolves and fairies….oh my. No, the author goes out on a limb and included Valkeries and Naga, shades of World of Warcraft spin in my head, add a Murlock to the next book and I’m hooked. There are also different cultures included for fighting styles, weapons (he uses a katana omg cool) and religion as it is used against the bad guys.
My favorite thing though is John, as bad-ass and ‘Charming’ as he is, is broken and really girls who doesn’t like a fixer upper. The side characters are also interesting my favorite besides Sid, our damsel in distress, is Molly. She is Thelma from the Scooby doo gang with some religious mojo.
”…what’s with the Christmas music? And the parka? And the Beanie?”
“I’m celebrating Christmas,” she told me.
“It’s April,” I pointed out, just in case this was necessary.
“Vampires scare me,” she said reasonably. “And Christmas makes me happy.”
The flirtations between John and Sid are fun and funny. I enjoyed most of the dialog between the supporting characters and I enjoyed John’s narration of the story. The bad guy is also an interesting shift of sorts as well. This book is a little guilty of infodumping, there is a backstory to the Pax Arcana and it is a little complicated so at times information is just fed to you, but I never minded it.
John’s narration reminded me a little of Michael from the show Burn Notice where in the middle of a car chase he explains the best way to get away, or how to really crack a safe, or take a punch and so on. I liked the character teaching me the best way to absorb a punch or what you should do when blinded in a fight.
All and all I enjoyed my time in the world that Elliot James created. I cared about the characters by the end of the book and wanted to see what becomes of them in the future. I also want to see if the Pax Arcana will survive or better yet what happens when it is broken. Elliot James you have my attention and I would like to see what happens next, especially if there is a Murlock.