By Meghan B.
| Monday, September 23rd, 2013 at 2:00 pm
REVIEW SUMMARY: A great new urban fantasy series that falters a little but still manages to be a rollicking good time.
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Meet John Charming, part of a long line of Templar Knights that hunt down things that go bump in the night. Unfortunately, one of those things is now John himself and he’s constantly running to keep one step ahead of those who wish him harm. Everything comes to a head when a beautiful blonde walks into his bar and turns his life upside down.
PROS: Interesting new world with original magic systems mixed deftly with folklore and fairy tales; good characters hold the story together; lots of black humor and pun-tastic chapter titles.
CONS: Hindered by muddled action sequences and dialog that sometimes misses the mark.
BOTTOM LINE: This first book in what will become a series has some stumbling blocks right out of the gate but is nonetheless a riveting story that left me anxious for more.
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An army brat and gypsy scholar, Elliott James is currently living in the blueridge mountains of southwest Virginia. An avid reader since the age of three (or that’s what his family swears anyhow), he has an abiding interest in mythology, martial arts, live music, hiking, and used bookstores. Irrationally convinced that cellphone technology was inserted into human culture by aliens who want to turn us into easily tracked herd beasts, Elliott has one anyhow but keeps it in a locked tinfoil covered box which he will sometimes sit and stare at mistrustfully for hours. Okay, that was a lie. Elliott lies a lot; in fact, he decided to become a writer so that he could get paid for it.
Scooby Do’s And Scooby Don’ts
by Elliott James
In the course of my book, Charming, the main character, John Charming, meets a monster hunting team. This group primarily travels around in an exterminator’s van, and my protagonist makes one, just one, offhand crack about Scooby Doo and the gang’s mystery machine. What I find amusing and mortifying about that is that I gave advance copies and drafts of the book to several friends, and most of them — quite independently of each other — began referring to the team as “The Scoobies” or “The Scooby Gang” or “The Scooby Dooby Doos.”
Which I would love except that I was a huge Joss Whedon fan before The Avengers movie ever came out, and I know for a fact that the “Scoobies” is also the informal nickname of the supporting monster-hunting team on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Why does Scooby Doo strike such a resonant chord in popular culture? And what is the deal with monster hunting teams in general? Most of the urban fantasy books I have read don’t have formal teams, but they do gradually build a supporting cast of characters who rotate in and out of the novels informally.
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