Title: Charming (Pax Arcana #1)
Author: Elliott James
Narrator: Roger Wayne
Publisher: Orbit (Hachette)
Release Date: September 24, 2013
Acquired Via: Personal Collection
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 chain mail and crossbows to Kevlar and shotguns, John Charming was one of the best--until a curse made him one of the abominations the Knights were sworn to hunt.
That was a lifetime ago. Now, John tends bar under an assumed name in rural Virginia and leads a peaceful, quiet life. That is, until a vampire and a blonde walked into his bar...
Charming is the first novel in a new urban fantasy series which gives a new twist to the Prince Charming tale.
I feel a little bad that I didn't read Charming sooner than what I did. I've recommended this book to numerous patrons and fellow librarians, yet I never read it myself. (The Kevin Hearne Seal of Approval was an instant purchase when I used to be in charge of collection development.) One of my coworkers spent several days going on about how much she enjoyed it and how I should read it since it reminded her of Hounded by Kevin Hearne. Two years later, I finally picked up the book.
I feel like I've missed out on so much by being late to the Charming party.
John Charming isn't the typical urban fantasy hero. He's working as a bartender and trying to stay under the radar. Most UF heroes that I've read about are trying to get in the thick of everything and solving crime. John is not and started preparing to jump ship and move as soon as things started getting...complicated.
One of my favorite things about Charming is the supernatural creatures that make appearances. Yes, there are your werewolves and vampires, but we also have a Valkyrie, a naga, and a kresnik. Even the run-of-the-mill supes are given histories that keeps the story fresh and interesting.
As some of you may already know, I'm a huge fan of the voice actor, Luke Daniels. I am also now a huge fan of Roger Wayne. He's able to keep each character unique, and he executes Elliott James' humor magnificently. When I get low on audiobooks, I will have no problem buying some based on nothing but the fact that he's narrating it. (Why, hello there, Maplecroft...)
If you're looking for a great book to listen to or an urban fantasy that hasn't gone stale, I highly recommend that you pick up Charming. I personally can't wait to see where James takes his characters in the rest of the series.
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