Series: Pax Arcana Book One
Author: Elliott James
Publication Date: September 24, 2013
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?
A copy was provided through NetGalley and the Publisher in exchange for an honest review
When I first heard of this book I was really excited. We are talking Knight Templars and fairy tales here, how could you not get excited? But then I started seeing an influx of low ratings and it put a damper on my feelings. I wanted this book to be great! And it seemed like it was going to disappoint. I requested it anyway cause I just had to find out for myself. So what did I find out? I found out this book wasn't mind-blowing or amazing, but it was far from bad either. It was good enough.
I think the biggest problem people will have is the info-dumping, because there is a lot of it, and not just in the start it's throughout the whole book. The thing is though, that while I knew it was coming across as info-dumping and not just seamless world-building it was detracting from the story that much either. Yes there was a staggering amount of it, but mostly I just found the whole thing interesting, like how it turns out the reason we wave our hand in greeting was to show the person that our knife-wielding hand was empty. Maybe some people will find it annoying or useless, but I liked it. There was also a purpose for it, but I won't go into that.
Speaking of world-building, it was awesome. There are so many myths and legends woven together to make up this new world that I found it fascinating. It wasn't just western world myths either, it was eastern as well, with mentions of the Nagas, Buddhism and Hinduism. Everything played a role here. From the most obscure detail that most people wouldn't have through twice about, here it was giving some kind of meaning and reason for it, and yes explained. But again, I didn't mind, I liked knowing how everything tied together and where everything came from.
Next up we have the characters. I liked them all! It was a rag tag group of misfits both supernatural and human alike. Each with their own back stories, motivations and skills that added to their impromptu monster hunting group. I specially liked Molly and her odd ways of coping of things. As for our main character, I liked how smart and accepting he was of people. That may be a bit contradictory but he made it work. He would keep his suspicion of people always in the back of his mind, but he was also willing to work with and accept these misfits. In short, he was a pretty great character, they were all nicely fleshed out.
As for the plot, it all started as some random vampire hunting that just escalated very quickly and then took some very interesting twists and turns that kept entertained the whole way through. And to add some more spice to it, there was some romance that I must say was handled quite well. There was no insta-love/lust. Just some good old-fashioned attraction with flirty banter every now and then getting a bit more serious towards the end. But it all felt real and it evolved and what felt like a reasonable pace.
After all that, what I'm simply trying to say is, if you like urban fantasy, give this book a try, don't let the info-dumping turn you off or intimidate you, you'll at the very least enjoy this unique world.
Would I Recommend it?