I told you that I was behind on my book reviews, right? Well, here’s another attempt at catching up…
Did I mention that I loved these novels? Because that should be a bit obvious by the fact that I listened to all three novels and read all 7 short stories within about a two week period. And now… well, now I have to wait until the next one comes out. I think of the lot, I liked this third novel the most. (It’s a close call between this one and CHARMING, the first novel, but I think this one wins.) There’s enough new stuff to keep the reader guessing, but there’s also plenty of continued plot without needing to re-explain everything. I think James has found his stride with these books, and could keep writing many more to come. (I certainly hope so, as long as he continues to find ways to keep them fresh. Based on the differing ideas and plots present in all 10 stories – counting the shorts – I think he has a good shot at that.)
Anyway, this specific plot… I think I can talk about it a little without getting into spoiler territory. I will certainly try.
So, John Charming and friends are called in to help find a missing teen who vanished in paranormal circumstances. In discovering her killer, the team also discovers that she was not the true target, whom they seek out and try to protect. They discover a sinister virgin sacrifice plot, and John and Sig go undercover in a paranormal gladiator ring to stop the bad guy. In the meantime, we meet many new types of paranormal creatures, including as an oni, a kitsuni, and a jinn (since this was audio, I’m not sure which spelling of the word James used). It’s great fun seeing more types of paranormal creatures than just the standard werewolves and vampires.
I also enjoyed the way John learns (or tries to learn) how to work as a part of a team instead of continuing to be a lone wolf. It speaks well of the potential longevity of the series that the main character is growing and developing right from the start. Yes, he still has lots of room for growth, but it’s nice to see that growth there from the beginning of the series.
The secondary characters are also all developing nicely. Granted, that development might not always be considered growth, but it is change and that is good. Also, it was fun to see more of Sarah (from the short story “Don’t Go Chasing Waterfalls”) in this story, and to see some of her powers more fully. Though I do hope she returns more later, especially if we learn more about her bakery magic. That seems really neat to me.
So – yeah. This is a fun series, and I will keep reading (listening, probably) to it for some time to come, if I have anything to say about it.