Friday Reads: Charming by Elliott James

17333338Charming: Pax Arcana #1
by Elliott James
narrated by Roger Wayne
(contemporary/urban fantasy, paranormal light romance)

I really enjoyed this book. The blurb on Audible intrigued me (I think it was one of their recommendations for me) and so I bought it a while back, but didn’t listen to it until just recently. I’m glad I did! This was one of the more enjoyable books I’ve read/listened to lately. In many ways it reminds me of the Iron Druid series by Kevin Hearne – even the narrator has a similar ease of listenability (yes, I make up words) to Luke Daniels. Roger Wayne’s voice fits the tone of the Charming series so well that I don’t know if I will be able to listen to him read anything with a similar theme to it. (I certainly have that difficulty with Luke Daniels.)

Anyway, about the book itself. The basic background is that there is magic and paranormal creatures in our world, but a spell called the Pax Arcana prevents normal humans from noticing or remembering anything paranormal. The Knights Templar (along with a few other similar organizations) were recruited to uphold this spell and prevent any paranormal creatures from acting up badly enough to threaten the Pax Arcana. John Charming, our hero, served as a Knight, up until the day when it was discovered he had werewolf blood. (It’s complicated, and the book does a good job of explaining it, if you’re curious.) After that, the Knights stopped considering him a member, and started considering him a threat. Good backstory, and nicely explained in a way I found entertaining instead of boring.

This book’s plot deals with a vampire nest that is threatening the area where John is currently living, as well as a group of monster hunters that get John to start living and interacting with people again instead of merely existing. I have the feeling that the series plot will deal more with John’s possible reconciliation with the Knights, since that was brought up in this book but is way too big an issue to deal with quickly.

I do recommend this book for paranormal fans, especially those who want something a little closer to urban fantasy in their paranormals. There is a romance element in this book, but nothing that even starts to get explicit. I like having another option for paranormal books that I can share and discuss with my family without blushing. I imagine that it would be fun to read for yourself, though I enjoyed the audio version of the book instead. If you’re into audiobooks, this is a good one to pick up. The character names are all distinct enough that listening to them spoken isn’t confusing, and Roger does a respectable job of giving each character a distinct voice so that you can pick out who is speaking. I am already 2/3 of the way through book two, and am about to buy book three (audiobooks in both cases), so that should say something about how much I am enjoying the series.

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