Not Every Prince is Charming, by Elliott James

Funny how obvious it is now that I think about it.

Urban fantasy is 40s noir, decked out differently. Dark themes, brightly lit up by flashes of morbid humor.

Sometimes literally. Lots of urban fantasy goes with some variant of the detective-for-hire angle. But even when they don’t, you still have the brooding male lead with a dark past, and the beautiful woman who comes seeking his help …

Or you have those things with a twist. That’s this book. The girl is a Valkyrie, and doesn’t really need his help (except, in the end, when she does). The hero is a hunted man, not a detective.

But when his problem is that his internal Werewolf is trying to get out, the noir tropes come hot and heavy, because the sexiness of the noir male protagonist is that sense of danger, that he could so easily be one of the bad guys the girls need saving from, instead of the hero.

Difference from paranormal romance is that the danger is unavoidable, like the scent of blood on the air after a hive of vampires has been taken down.

I guess I’m getting a bit too metaphorical here. This is a good book. It starts with the usual tropes for urban fantasy, but the humorous title (and for that matter, all the humorous chapter titles too, and the other flashes of humor embedded throughout) should not confuse the reader.

This isn’t a light and funny book. It’s noir.

And it all comes down to a knife-fight in the dark.

(Though come to think of it, fangs and claws have something to recommend them.)

I got an advanced review copy of Not Every Prince is Charming at Book Expo America. The book will come out Sept. 23, 2013.

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