ARC Review: Charming by Elliott James

Posted September 3rd, 2013 in Uncategorized / 19 comments


Pax Arcana Series #1

by Elliott James

Publisher: Orbit Books/ Hachette Group (Sept 24, 2013)
Genre: Urban Fantasy, (YA/NA/Adult)
Format: eBook (400 pages)
Source: Free book from publisher for honest review
Find It: Goodreads | Amazon Print | Amazon Kindle | Barnes & Noble
Rating: ★★½☆☆ (2.5 stars)

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? 

At A Glance
This was totally a book I should have loved, and I did in some ways, but it fell short for me. I was bored with the million info-dumps.

The Good
John Charming is a badass. He’s in hiding, against the group who is suppose to support him. He meets Sig and her ragtag group of monster hunters and his life starts to unravel, in a good and bad way. As his feelings for Sig grow, he has to fight against the wolf inside him, the urge to run from his problems, and a jealous boyfriend who wants to torture him slow like.

As an urban fantasy lover, I was happy to see the rare male main character. I really liked everything about John. He’s funny, a great fighter, and he even has a soft spot or two. He had a hard life with a messed up past, but he deals with it well. But it’s Sig that brought out the best in him.

Sig was just as badassy as John. She is a fighter through and through and killing monsters for a living is her calling. Her and John deny their feelings for the longest time, especially since Sig has a boyfriend, but their attraction is hard to resist. I want to see these two together so bad. They seem perfect for each other.

I loved the story and how I didn’t see a lot of the surprises coming. The other characters were entertaining too. There is a lot of action and the ending was spine-tingling. I was glued to the pages by the end. The world building was detailed. I walked away feeling like I lived in this world. And I loved James’ take on all the supernatural.

The Bad
So, you may ask why I gave Charming 2.5 stars if I seemed to love the characters, the world, and the ending. Well, I was EFFING BORED out of my mind for most of the book. It took me forever to get through it. There were WAY too many info-dumps. Yeah, I liked James’ world building for the most part…until it lasted for pages upon pages, totally interrupting the story, dialogue, and action. I had to start skimming some of it or I was never going to get through this book. Charming needs to be cut down by at least 100 pages of ‘too much’ information. Without all this unnecessary and overdone info, I would have given this book 4 stars.

The Snuggly
The romance is a small part of this book, as it should be since it’s urban fantasy. But I loved Sig and John together. They are perfect for each other. They go through so much in just one book, it’s like they have known each other forever.

There is only kissing in this book, so it is suitable for YA readers, but Charming reads as a NA or adult book.

Final Thoughts
I really, really loved a lot of this book, but with how slow it was because of all the info-dumps, I couldn’t say I would continue the series for sure. If you can handle excess info in your books, then you will love Charming. Overall not recommended unless you can handle ‘The Bad.’

No quotes this time since it’s an ARC.


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19 Responses to “ARC Review: Charming by Elliott James”

  1. Chene Sterckx

    Awe it did sound like it would be an amazing book 🙁 I loved the cover and the description though. I would also have signed up to read a book like this.

  2. Jaclyn Canada

    I love your first line because when I saw the cover and the blurb, I looked at your rating and just deflated. “I should have loved this book.” Yeah I was thinking, it sounds fantastic!! I hate that the info dumps caused it to be boring. I love the male protagonist as well that you don’t find often in urban fantasies. It’s why I am reviewing my next one, Generation V. I hope I have better luck with mine 😀 Jaclyn @ JC’s Book Haven.

    • Jennifer Bielman

      I hope you have better luck too. I will look out for the review. I do believe a lot of people can enjoy this, but I can’t stand info-dumps. They are the worst for me.

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