* On My Bookshelf * · Reviews

Friday Reads: Pax Arcana Short Stories

Pax Arcana short stories (7 total)
by Elliott James
(urban fantasy, paranormal)

The short stories in question are:

  • Charmed, I’m Sure
  • Don’t Go Chasing Waterfalls
  • Pushing Luck
  • Dog Gone
  • Surreal Estate
  • Bulls Rush In
  • Talking Dirty

And yes, I have read them all. They are all available separately, and while it would have been nice to buy them in a collection form instead of as individual short stories, that wasn’t an option. Some of them go really well in pairs, and I would have preferred them to be released as one longer story instead of two short ones. For instance: “Charmed, I’m Sure” is followed immediately by “Don’t Go Chasing Waterfalls,” and “Bulls Rush In” is followed by “Talking Dirty.” In both of those cases, if you want to read them, make sure you read the first one first and the second one second for best appreciation.

I read all of these stories after listening to DARING (Pax Arcana book 2) and either before starting FEARLESS (book 3) or during the first few chapters of that book. This was helpful, since there were characters in the early shorts that show up in FEARLESS in one form or another. It’s not required reading in order to enjoy FEARLESS, but it’s helpful background information. In fact, that’s my comment about all of these books. They’re not necessary to enjoy the novels, but if you are a fan of the series they are a fun addition. Also, if you are curious about the series but want to try it out before buying the first book, this would be a good way to get a taste for the series and the main character.

My favorite of the shorts was “Pushing Luck.” It felt the most complete, and had background characters I could believe the most. It just worked the best for me. “Charmed, I’m Sure / Don’t Go Chasing Waterfalls” was my next favorite, though as a set instead of separately. Again, I really liked the background characters.

Of the set, my least favorite was “Surreal Estate,” though that is probably because the writing style wasn’t completely linear. The non-linear-ness completely fits the plot of the story, but it’s ever so slightly different a style than the rest of the series, and so it didn’t feel quite right to me.

My personal advice on reading these would be to read them all after you read CHARMING (book 1) and before FEARLESS, though you could really read them whenever you wanted without any difficulty. They all happen chronologically before CHARMING, though I’m not entirely positive in which order the shorts go with relation to each other (with the exception of the two sets of pairs I mentioned earlier). Also as I mentioned earlier, you don’t have to read any of them. Fans of the series who want more of John’s backstory or can’t wait for the next book, though, will enjoy reading them as a tidbit while waiting for more full-length novels.


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