Charming by Elliott James

Pax Arcana, Book 1

Synopsis: 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?

Review: I admit that I was completely blown away by the synopsis and the cover. Everything seemed exceptionally well for me especially as I’m an adept of good urban fantasy books, and I really like the idea of Charming. Maybe I expected too much for it? I was eager to begin the novel and discover the story especially that here we follow a hero, not a heroine. Yet the book does not really have the desired effect.

John is a man who fled the person he is and was. Descendant of the line of the Charming and hunted by his own due to his werewolf nature, he hates himself and spends his life running from himself. He dreams of living a quiet life away from the problems and especially away from anyone who might be close to him. Yet when Sig returns to his bar, his life will be turned upside down. In addition to fall under the spell of this beautiful blonde, our hero will be embedded in a hunt for vampires with a team like he has never seen before. But he also knows that he has no place in it and will leave as soon as this is over to not to attract the hunters on his trail.

I admit that I loved the ideas that the author uses here. It was interesting to use as a basis the Charming story and I was curious to learn more about it. In addition we find many original creatures that are the most intriguing! But I have not really been able to hang with one of the characters, except maybe Molly with her naivety and freshness that differed from the other players. However, I had a little trouble with John … Despite the fact that he is brave , strong and determined , he only feel sorry for himself all the time, hating himself. And I admit that it is sometimes a little too long at the end. He wants things without really wanting them and finally often remains undecided. I was also intrigued by Sig, trying to understand at the outset what she really was and I admit that I did not imagine the ramifications of what she was capable of. But it is the same for her, it is difficult to understand what she wants even if it is actually quite logical. But I enjoyed reading their exchanges and dialogues to see how their relationship would evolve over the novel. In terms of the plot I really struggled to hang on, I did not find the little extra that would have made me interested, so I let go fast enough the story and it was a little bit difficult for me to finish it. But I ‘m really intrigued by this first novel and although it is perhaps ultimately not for me, I’m still curious to see how the next will be and I will surely read it with pleasure to see if my feelings change on the series because as I said the ideas are still very good.



11 thoughts on “Charming by Elliott James

  1. I actually really enjoyed this one. I see your points about John but they didn’t bother me as much. I quite enjoyed him and I loved his voice. Sig was a bit of an issue for me – not her really but the way she was written. I’m glad you are going to try the next book. Nice review 🙂

  2. Bah! I shouldn’t have stopped by today because I’m reading this and seeing you rating isn’t encouraging me! 🙁 🙁

    Man I’m with you, the action is packed and there’s enough dialogue but I’m struggling with this and its hella LONG too! Bah!

    Right now I know I wont be giving this 5 cauldrons, maybe a 3 or 4. We’ll see if it changes when I’m done.

  3. I was really intrigued by the synopsis as well — that blurb really made me want to read it! I found myself really not liking John as a character, and while I liked Sig, I just didn’t GET her. And it took too long for their group to really get around to doing anything meaningful, that I just couldn’t hang on. It sounds like with Sig it got a bit better as the book progressed, but with John it didn’t really? All in all, I think I’m glad I set it aside in favor of more “urgent” TBR books 🙂

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