Top critical review
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Original but slow
on 31 October 2013
John Charming, bartender, comes from a long line of Charmings. A family of dragon slayers, witch finders and killers that dates back to before the fall of Rome. The Pax Arcana was created by the elves before they left, it protects supernatural beings from being seen by humans. The Pax wasn't the only thing the elves created. They created the Knights. Each country has their own little faction of the Knights, you could say John was trained by a modern day version of the Knights Templar. Although the Knights didn't really have a choice about becoming what they where, a certain plague took care of that, their children automatically become a part of the order. John however, is an abomination, one that the Knights are sworn to hunt. He's part werewolf. Minus the changing. With the Knights out to kill him, he tends to be on the run, but now he's working in a bar in a quiet town. Until a blonde and a vampire walk in to his bar. The vampire's are up to something, and it's nothing good. You see they have a new leader, a smart and viscous leader who has a plan. The question is....what is it?
It's rare that I find a book to read that is from a male point of view and has a male protagonist that I actually enjoy. Charming has a a lot of very intricate and unique mythology different to other books of a similar nature and quite a few pages are dedicated to the mythology of each creature we meet as we meet it. There's not just the usual suspects of supernatural books vampires, werewolves ghosts etc there's a whole host of different types that some you've heard of and some you haven't, all explained in a lot of detail. Sig for example is a Valkyrie so you've even got some Norse myth thrown in there too. John, the protagonist, is very witty and very funny and added an edge of humour to the book that would have you chuckling quietly to yourself.
I wouldn't describe it as hard to put down, but it is fairly absorbing. Charming also has the "guy likes girl. Girl likes guy. Girl is with another guy" situation that I don't really like to have in stories because it's annoying, but this one was differet because the girl isn't in love with two guys, she's only with the guy because she's got issues of the Daddy variety and had a rivalry with his previous partner.Each character however, was unique, not only with their powers, but with their personality and attitude. Sig for example could see and speak to ghosts, that's how she knew more than she was letting on at times, especially how she knew more about John.
The back story for John was slowly released, and it was an interesting one, what with the whole fiancee thing, he wasn't a perfect character who was blindingly happy all the time and had never been hurt. He had flaws and his past especially with Allison gave him a very real quality and humanized him as a character to the audience. The characters where well written, as well as the imagery and the story. The characters, particularly John and Sig come out with some of the best one liners I've seen; "I'm going to shove a cellphone so far up your ass that you're going to be burping ringtones"
"This means my soul isn't being eaten up by some supernatural cancer. This means i'm not a coward for not finding a way to commit suicide years ago" This book is gritty, it's not full of rainbows and unicorns...or atleast there's been no unicorn sightings so far. The character of John has been taught to hate who and what he is or atleast a part of himself by the Knights for years and years, and he knows it's stupid to hate that part of himself but some part of him is still repulsed by it because it's what he's been taught. You can see his struggle multiple times in the story, the most obvious being the statement that he was too much of a coward to kill himself. He was taught to hate who he was and he knew he should have killed himself because he was an abomination, but he could never do it because he knows there's nothing wrong with him deep down.
Sig isn't a perfect character either, she's had an equally emotional and gritty life before, her mother regretting having her, her mother's mood swings and bizaare stages that she kept going through and not telling Sig what she was. Treating Sig's powers like "they where some kind of demon curse and made a big deal about hiding them."
She had a tough life and upbringing like John, which is part of the reason they're so connected to each other I think. I'm so used to reading books about characters with perfect lives, families, homes, and no problems that it was a different experience for me to read a book with characters who've had horrible lives. "I thought she hated me because I was a freak, but now I think she hated me because she envied me"
The book is full of action, there's so many actions scenes I lost count, there's a tiny bit of romance, and there's lots of supernatural mythology and lore explained in great detail. The book's gritty, and quite coarse sometimes, if you're looking for a cute little book with romance this isn't it. The book was hard to get into and could be fast paced but at times I struggled to continue to read. It was a good read, but nothing outstanding.