Review: Daring by Elliott James (Pax Arcana #2)
September 23 2014
Received from publisher
Yummy Man – John Charming
From Goodreads –
THE WEREWOLVES HAVE A NEW LEADER…AND HE CANNOT BE STOPPED.
Something is rotten in the state of Wisconsin.
Werewolf packs are being united and absorbed into an army of super soldiers by a mysterious figure who speaks like an angel and fights like a demon. And every Knight Templar—keepers of the magical peace between mankind and magickind—who tries to get close to this big bad wolf winds up dead. No knight can infiltrate a group whose members can smell a human from a mile away…no knight except one.
John Charming. Ex knight. Current werewolf. Hunted by the men who trained him, he now might be their only salvation. But animal instincts are rising up to claim John more powerfully than ever before, and he must decide if this new leader of wolves is a madman…or a messiah.
Daring is the second book in Elliott James’ Pax Arcana series. Even with a 4star review, I placed Charmed, the first book of the series, on my favorite reads of 2013 list. I LOVED John’s voice and how he completely drew me into his world and his storytelling. I’m giving Daring 4stars as well even though I can’t say I feel as excited about this book as I did the first. This book is SO different from the first book, it really is hard to compare.
How is Daring completely different from Charming? In the first book we learn about the Knights (those who are responsible for maintaining the Pax Arcana, the spell that makes humans not notice the paranormal around them) and we see how John goes on to trust a small group of people, after not trusting anyone for ages, and help out one of the very causes he’s been hiding from for years. In Daring, we barely see the people from the first book – good or bad, I’ll get back to this in a minute. What we do see is a whole lot of John and a whole lot of werewolves.
John was born a werewolf and a Knight. He’s the only one of his kind. Growing up, he was raised by the Knights and learned to hate and ignore his werewolf side. In Daring, he is forced to learn to live with it while he learns about his werewolf ‘heritage’.
But let me break for a moment.
This book is actually multiple stories in one. It’s even separated into parts! The beginning is how John was forced into ‘being a werewolf more than a Knight’, next is how he embraces it and finally what it all means. That last part was left quite open so you know it will be touched on in the next book, Fearless, when it comes out August 2015. (Yes August. Of next year. *sigh*)
I loved John in the first book and still enjoy him in this latest book. He’s very smart, clever and sarcastic and those qualities work well in the world Elliott created. It’s no secret that I didn’t much like Sig, John’s love interest, in the first book. I didn’t ‘get’ why he was so into her. Well, Sig fans, rejoice…sort of. Sig is barely in this book! But I feel she will be in the next book but that’s okay. Everyone deserves a second chance and that will be her second chance for showing me she really does belong with my dear John.
If another beef you had with book one was the level of description and world building, you will like this one as it does not have nearly as much. There is no need really as the base world was established in the previous book.
I liked how we learned a lot more about John and his not-so-happy childhood. I was surprised by how ‘heavy’ this book felt as opposed to the first book. But really, it matched the tone. Believe me, after you read it and see the messed up things and creatures John and his friends meet you’ll realize that humor does not fit so well. That’s not to say the book is humorless – there are some pretty good funny moments – just not as many as in the first installment.
I quite enjoyed the ‘new’ crew John hung out with this time around. Jelly, Mayte, Chad, Chai…all brought something to the table and all managed to surprise me at least once. I’m curious to see if any will appear in the next book as the ‘crew’ John played with in the first book was barely at all in this latest one. Seems Elliott is all about keeping us on our toes.
The story this time around is rather complicated so I won’t go into it but it involves monsters then witches mixed with a bit of folklore and fighting and gore. So basically things you expect from an urban fantasy read. It was well done.
Seeing how different Daring read from Charming, I am very curious to see how the next installment will feel and how it will fit into the series. I think if you liked the first book, you should definitely read this one. And I think if you ‘sort-of’ liked the first book you should give this one a try. It does fill in a few holes and you get to know John a whole lot better. And seeing how John was my favorite part of the first book, Daring really worked for me.
Giggle worthy quotes –
“Sig is stronger, faster, and tougher than any normal human, but the thing that really makes Sig a Valkyrie is her ability to communicate with the dead.
You know what they say: if she looks like a Valkyrie, bench-presses small cars like a Valkyrie, and developed feelings for you after having conversations with the ghost of your dead lover like a Valkyrie, she’s probably a Valkyrie.
Wait. Nobody says that?”
“You know, just because my name is Charming doesn’t mean I have some kind of damsel-in-distress complex!”
Books in the Pax Arcana series –
Fearless (August 2015)