Book Review: Charming by Elliot James

Charming by Elliot James is an urban fantasy novel with a dash or romance. All those stories you have heard about 'Prince Charming' have a basis in fact. There is a secret society of protectors with a slight supernatural kick. They are here to keep the illusion that the world is completely normal, and take care of any creatures that put that illusion at risk. John Charming isn't your average Prince Charming, after his training was complete he became one of the hunted. Now John tends bar and tries to lead a quiet life. Unfortunately, a tall blond and a vampire enter the bar bring him back into the world of hunted and hunter. Now John joins the hunt for vampires that are breaking the rules and making a mess of things while attraction,jealousy, and temptation make themselves known.

John is a Charming, a fighter trained to battle all things supernatural- but an attack on his pregnant mother left him harboring a curse that lay dormant for most of his life. When the curse makes itself know John is kicked out of the knighthood and is considered one of the creatures that needs hunting. So there is the basic set up- what that does not include is John's sarcastic wit and good heart that gets him in more trouble than he wants. Sig is the tall blond, a Valkyrie with a team of her own that is on the trail of a vampire hive that is breaking all the rules. The side characters range from standard fare, to fun and quirky, to manipulative b@stards. There is a love triangle, betrayal, and all sorts of action that will keep urban fantasy fans happy. Readers looking for a romance fix- I will give you fair warning that while there might be some fast acting attraction here- John is a true gentleman and is getting his own life in order before romance becomes a serious factor in this series. Together the story really worked for me, and I just cannot wait to see where the story goes from here.

Charming is the first book in the Pax Arcana series. Now, I read a lot of paranormal romance and urban fantasy, and the majority of the time I see female protagonists or the point of view swapped between the major players several times. So, when I get to read a urban fantasy novel from a male point of view- and that guy is both funny and smart, I am pretty easy to please. I liked that John has a good heart, and that even under the alpha male posturing that takes place, he maintains that integrity and is still a solid good guy. I will admit that I saw quite a few of the twists and turns coming.. However, I was taken by surprise on occasion as well. Even though I had a feeling for where or how this book was going to end, the journey was a great ride.

Charming is a solid urban fantasy that does not shatter the mold, but shook things up enough to make me happy. Readers that enjoy Jim Butcher will feel at home with the sardonic wit even with a different world. Readers looking for a solid world and character building experience with crazy antics and wonderful wit will really enjoy the read. There is enough romantic leanings to keep those fans happy, without falling into the traps of flowery writing and insta-love that might keep other readers away. A short story prequel to Charming, Charmed I'm Sure, was released in August. I will be downloading that today, and I am looking forward to the second book in the series.
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