Audiobook Review: Daring by Elliott James

Posted October 3, 2014 by Carmel in Carmel, Reviews, Urban Fantasy, Werewolves / 43 Comments

Audiobook Review: Daring by Elliott James
Daring by Elliott James
Narrator: Roger Wayne
Series: Pax Arcana #2
Published by Orbit
Published on: September 23, 2014
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Werewolves
Length: 9 hrs & 38 mins
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
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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 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.

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I was left with mixed feelings when I finished CHARMING a few months ago; I liked John’s character, Roger Wayne’s narration, and the author’s quirky writing style, but the love interest, and info dumps were definite cons. However, when I read DARING’s blurb and discovered that the werewolves were going to be front-and-center in round two, I just knew that this series deserved a second chance. And, even though I didn’t love this installment either, it was more along the lines of what I’ve come to expect from Urban Fantasy, and my issues with this one were vastly different that its predecessor, so at least it was a step in the right direction. The story was darker, the humour more subdued, and I did struggle to see the links between the four parts, but it all came together in the end which made this novel marginally better than its predecessor.

The prelude was a hoot, James shared a list of the ‘top ten things that people who didn’t read the first book really ought to know’ which served as a good recap while also turning a boring necessity into a fun intro. The opening section was my favourite because it not only explored John’s past as a Knight, but provided some much needed clarification about his insta-attraction to Sig, and set the tone for the rest of the story. The second part was somewhat of a mixed bag; I liked learning more about this universe’s werewolves, although certain aspects were a little overly touchy feely for me—too much zen, not enough predator. The final two were the meatier pieces with plenty of action, unanticipated twists, and an ah-ha ending. The world-building was also greatly muted which made this installment more about the journey than the magical rules which was a welcomed tweak.

DARING was nowhere near as funny as book 1, but given the nature of this tale, it fit. That’s not to say that I still didn’t crack a couple of smiles while listening because I did, however the overall tone was much heavier. I was disappointed that the majority of the secondary characters that the protagonist formed connections with previously were for the most part MIA, although they were replaced with new ones, so at least the author found a way to fill that void. Sig’s role was minimal which made me exceedingly happy because she was my main problem with CHARMING, so I liked that the Valkyrie was pushed to the back burner for the time being. John’s POV continued to delight and entertain; I loved how he talked directly to the reader, and his keen wit and sarcastic dialogue are the main reasons why I am diggin’ this series so much.

As expected, the narrator delivered another winning performance which was why I had no qualms about pre-ordering this audiobook. His voice is well-suited for James’ writing style, and he absolutely nailed Charming’s first person POV. The hero gets his butt handed to him on multiple occasions, and Roger Wayne helped to add authenticity to that fact by slurring his words as though he himself had gotten punched in the teeth. He also showed adaptability as a narrator by taking a step back from the first installment’s snark, and adopting the more somber tone that this tale demanded. It normally takes me a week on average to listen to nine+ hours, but in this case my listening time was cut in half thanks in large part to Wayne.

DARING is proof that werewolves make everything better!

Pax Arcana Series

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Owner, designer and main blogger behind Rabid Reads. Avid book reader, snowboard bunny, video gamer and Supernatural fan. I love all things paranormal, werewolves especially. Oh, and I’m Canadian, eh!

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43 responses to “Audiobook Review: Daring by Elliott James

  1. it’s a series that was tempting me but some told em that book 1 wasn’t that good so i opted to wait to see if teh series was getting better before starting getting the book and now with your review it seems to be getting better so back on teh list^^
    miki recently posted…He Ain’t Lion ( Ridgeville1 ) by Celia Kyle

    • The author did away with info dumps, and the love triangle, so double YAY, but the 4 separate parts didn’t flow overly well. Still, not a bad trade IMO.

  2. Hehe. I adore you Carmel! I love how the mere mention of werewolves makes you decide to pick a sequel up despite not madly loving the first book:) While you didn’t necessarily love this one either, I’m glad you felt it was headed in the right direction, so hopefully book three will just blow you away!

    • What can I saw, werewolves are my kryptonite, Jenny. I just can’t say no! I’m kinda sad that it was the wolf-y part that fell short the most; that whole yoga retreat thing was weird.

    • James’ writing style is definitely unique, I’ll give him that! I’m not yet sold on some of the other aspects of this series, but the werewolves, and main character are awesome.

  3. Agreed, Werewolves are terrific. I am currently catching up on Heather HIldenbrand’s Dirty Blood series and really enjoying the wolves. I think this sounds like a series I need to check out, and I am always on the hunt for a terrific new werewolf book.

  4. Braine  

    Althought having a Valkyrie is awesome, I’m with you about Sig. I’m happy shes MIA here.

    I was looking forward to this hoping that it’ll be better than the first. I gave Charming 3 stars but from your review I think this will be the same. She can be funny but I feel her challenge is keeping the humor consistent throughout the story.

    • My go-to rule is 2 strikes you’re out, so reading DARING was pretty much a foregone conclusion for me. Ooh, and the werewolves might have had something to do with that too. Hehe

    • I thought that you were looking forward to this one even more than I was, so I’m surprised that I beat you to the punch. Can’t wait to hear your thoughts on the werewolves!

  5. Oooh I love it when authors use direct address like that – makes me feel like I’m in conversation with the characters as opposed to just yelling at them like I normally do. Even though I love a UF with humour, I’m glad that the more subdued tone was working for you. Cracking up to an audiobook feels awesome but looks friggin’ weird to other people…it doesn’t always leave the greatest impression when you’re just chuckling to yourself in public (speaking from personal experience)!
    Danya recently posted…Review: Discount Armageddon by Seanan McGuire