(Since I am behind on my book reviews, you get a bonus Wednesday book review this week! Yay!)
This is book #2 in the Pax Arcana series, and is another fun romp in the world that Elliott James has created. I do prefer book 1 slightly to book 2, though part of that is because everything is brand new in book 1 and book 2 is missing a lot of the discovery that comes with a new series. (It happens with almost every series for me. It’s rare that I like the second book in a series as much as the first.) I also like book 1’s secondary characters more than book 2. Not that the secondary characters from book 1 aren’t in book 2, just that they’re not in it nearly as much as in the prior book.
About the second book’s plot: John Charming spends most of this book getting in touch with his werewolf side. It’s fun, and it’s nice to see him not knowing things, having to learn to grow in new and different ways. The bad guy in this book (no spoilers) is both predictable and a complete surprise, all at the same time. Going into more detail would be spoilery, so let me just say that I approve of the bad guy twist and reveal. It worked really well for me.
The narration was still perfect for the series. Roger’s voice is great for the sarcasm that is a huge part of John’s character, and his delivery is great. The pacing works well for audio books too, which isn’t always true of a book or series. I’m very pleased with listening to these books instead of reading them for myself, and I think I will continue to do just that.
If you decide to pick up this series, I would highly recommend starting with book 1, since there are a lot of details that you would miss if you started with book 2. You could start here if you really wanted, though, and I think you would get all the background information that you need, if not all the background information you might want. These are fast reads though (due to the pacing, not because they’re abnormally short), so you wouldn’t lose much time by reading both books.
One other thing to keep in mind is that while this book is about werewolves, these are not the paranormal romance style of werewolves. I had thought from book 1 that this series might turn into a paranormal romance series, but it has stayed firmly in the urban fantasy genre. (I’m about 2/3 of the way through book 3 at this point, so I feel confident in saying this.) These werewolves aren’t hyper-sexual, or focused on finding a perfect soulmate, or anything of that sort. They are humans who change into wolves. They heal fast. They are stronger and faster than normal humans. And they have the same basic personalities as normal humans. They aren’t all alpha males, they don’t have one and only one true love they would do anything for, and they aren’t hard-wired for loyalty. They are still human. And man, that is so incredibly refreshing.