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Customer reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 3 March 2016
Loved it. Everything. Well everything that isn't the front cover.
Wit, pace, verve and sangfroid. I am very impressed. The whole 'explain magic' is slotted in as an obvious and integral part of this novel that it appears seamless. I have bought all the main novels and all the shorts. Plenty of man- love from me. The pacing, suspense and attitude are a thing if beauty.
Just please don't follow the others and divert into a side character novelisation - no sig solo stories, or not at least until number 10 or 20 Charmin is published, please. Well maybe a short. But just the one.
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on 17 May 2017
I loved Mr charming. A well presented and written book with good characters and a story that goes at a thumping pace, I really enjoyed it well done to elliot James
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on 1 June 2017
If you like the Iron Druid series by Kevin Hearne, you'll enjoy these books!
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on 18 July 2017
Great read
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on 9 March 2017
Well paced, things explained and a likeable hero. The bad guy was maybe a little cliched but it worked in its own way. Would recommend.
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on 15 November 2013
Caroline for [...]
Copy via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

The first book in the Pax Arcana series, Charming, Introduces us to John Charming, a modern day Templar night trained from infancy, and compelled by his very DNA, to destroy any creature which interrupts the Pax Arcana, a glamour which prevent mortals like you and I witnessing, registering or remembering paranormal activity. When we first meet John he is bitter, bereaved, lonely, and suffering from a major identity crisis.

Before long, Charming isn't so lonely anymore. Adopted by an eclectic group of monster hunters (imagine a multi cultural, less sexually ambiguous, but infinitely more kick arse, Scooby Gang), John is physically and ethically compelled to help them wipe out the threat posed by a recently turned- IQ off the charts-seventeen year old vampire, intent on world domination. Plus it certainly won't hurt his attempts to get in to the statuesque Daphne's errr I mean Sig's pants.

The bulk of the store was told in John's first person, past tense recollection of events, but with plausible and informative present tense asides to the reader, which further informed the world building. I loved Johns voice. It was snarky and self deprecating and amusing. The 400 pages flew by in an amusing and action packed blur.

Verdict: Fast paced and Fun.
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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.
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on 5 July 2016
Not bad, it was amusing. John had lots of witty comments that made me laugh. I was really impressed with how well thought out the magic system was and I liked the characters (especially the side characters). So, I’m not sad to have spent the time to read the book. But I also had problems with it.

My main one [this may be a spoiler, but it’s so predicable I don’t consider it so] is that with all the available enemies—new vampire queens, three different knight-like orders, werewolves, nagas, etc—and all the threats they could pose, the primary challenge here basically came down to who owns the right to a particular woman’s sex.

I use the word cliché in my reviews a lot. It’s one of my strongest insults to hurl at a book. And come on, a man willing to kill rather than loose “his woman” is just about as over-used and clichéd as they get. I love that Sig was a large framed, strong woman, still considered beautiful and didn’t wallow in her own body image issues. But she was still made weak in regard to relationships and good ol’ toxic patriarchy was wheeled out with thoughtless ease by the author. *sigh* And it doesn’t even look to be over, since I smell the whiff of a love triangle in future books. So we can keep arguing over who gets have access to Sig.

On a slightly similar note, i.e. dismissing women, John’s motley crew that this series is based on…yeah, it’s SIG’S crew. But you know, a man came on the scene so we need to shift our focus, right?

Anyhow, outside of those complaints I liked the book. I didn’t really feel the threat of the vampires or the knights hunting John. They were all just kind of in the background, never really creating any significant threat. John would occasionally attack them and have a pretty good fight scene, but then he could safely go home and the tension would drain away. But John had a fun narrative style, wasn’t and alpha A-hole. The side characters were fun and Sig was a woman I appreciated.
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on 21 March 2017
If you want originality this isn't the right book for you, as its the standard sarky loner who becomes part of a team we've seen in countless urban fantasies.

However, it is well written and John is a fun character to follow, with lots of side comments that he may or may not have said out loud. I do find the idea of the knights interesting and look forward to reading the next book, where hopefully we should learn more about them.

While Sig is the "love" interest, she hasn't quite been filled out enough for me to like her as a character however Molly is my favourite. Slightly off but very caring, her celebrating Christmas in July because it makes her feel safe and comforted is very sweet and doesn't feel artificial at all.
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on 1 November 2013
Don't be put off by the title, Charming is one of those gems that you come across once in a while. I read a lot of urban fantasy and I like the fact that Elliot James has managed to not only create a realistic world but also has fully fleshed out charectors ... which is a nice change. the Naga all about knowledge, an ex-priest who probably derserves her own series. John Charming has issues, great big slobbering issues, but he isn't superman and can't kill all the bad guys with a way of his hand. he has human failings but with supernatural ability. The story is paced out so not everything happens in a few chapters but builds at a nice pace, enough that i read it one sitting!, there are twists and turns. This is an original story, the kind that you read and think I wanted him to do that! I would give Charming 5 out of 5.Can't wait for the next one.
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