Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Charming (review)

3.5/5 stars

Charming (Goodreads | Amazon), the first book in a new urban fantasy series, has a lot of potential.  While the book wasn't perfect, it had the combination of snark, mishmash of belief systems and lots of action that I like to see in urban fantasy.

John Charming comes from a long line of "Prince Charmings."  They aren't the royalty from the stories, but a line of knights burdened with keeping the public unaware of the supernatural world through whatever means necessary. John was a proud knight until he became supernatural himself.  Now considered a monster, he runs from town to town hiding from the knights.  He tries to keep his head low, but when a particularly nasty vampire hive starts killing people in his new town he's forced to team up with Sig and her crack team of monster hunters before the knights show up to take care of the problem themselves.

It's biggest problem with this book was a romance/love triangle that slowed the plot and dragged the book down considerably. Not only was there a love triangle, the romance in this book moved way two fast. However, by the end of the book, the love triangle appears to be over which gives me hope for future books.  Without all the romance drama, I think subsequent books will be able to focus on the plot.

This book is the author's debut which is part of why I expect the series to improve.  There is some clumsy writing and occasional info dumping (such as a long passage explaining Australian rappelling, which being a rock climber I know about but suspect the general public doesn't care).  A cringeworthy dialect section aside (seriously I couldn't read half of it), I think there's a lot going for this book.
"I know it sounds ridiculous. How could magic really exist in a world with an Internet and forensic science and smart phones and satellite and such and still go undiscovered?The answer is simple: it's magic."
The tone and humor is right for urban fantasy.  The chapter headings are particularly funny.  As far as a supernatural crime fighting crew, they're a little bit Scooby Doo squad in a very good way.  They're quirky and over the top, but I like them.  Molly, one of the secondary characters, is really a bright spot in the novel and I hope they'll do more with her in future books.

As far as series potential, the overarching concept of the Knights who protect the public from knowing about the supernatural around them, gives the story a lot of room to grow into an interesting series.

I received an advance reading copy ebook in exchange for an honest review. 

No comments: