Review copy was received from Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
It's a Charmed Life by Selene Charles
Narrator: Chelsea Stephens
Series: Grimm Chronicles #1
Published by Tantor Audio on October 31, 2019
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Length: 8 hours, 29 minutes
Amazon, Audible, Audiobook
My name's Elle. Princess Arielle, for those who know about my past. Cursed by my own father, now I'm banished to Grimm. I'm a siren, killer, and one of the best damned cold-case detectives in all of the bloody realms. I don't stop until I discover the truth, no matter where that truth leads.
My next case sends me to Wonderland, a harrowing place of madness and dark secrets. I'd rather be landlocked than step foot on that tainted soil, but I don't have a choice after discovering Alice's bloodstained ribbon and a bandicoot's claw covered in blood beside two stiff's at the Charming's sprawling castle. My insatiable thirst for truth leads to a conspiracy that will not only rock the Grimm world but also my own.
No one ever walks away from Wonderland unscathed... No one.
I fell in love with the show Once Upon a Time when it first came out in 2011 and followed it religiously for about three seasons before falling off. It’s a Charmed Life reminded me a little of that show, just in the set up, not really in the delivery. This book takes characters we know from various fairy tales and gives them a new life and new story.
The main character is Arielle (Elle); she isn’t quite the little Mermaid but a Siren cast out of her realm by her father, landlocked and trying to make up for some of the sins of her past. Elle works cold cases. She is pretty good at clearing up old files and has been tasked with figuring out the ‘Charming Murders’. There is at least a clue, a ribbon that belongs to Alice and a poisonous claw which also comes from somewhere in Wonderland. Elle is off to the realm of the Cheshire Cat if she wants to figure this out. She has three days to find some connections with her guide Maddox the Mad Hatter himself.
This is an interesting world. I liked the different realms being from various stories in the Grimverse and that traveling to them is like going through a portal of sorts. Wonderland was a twisted version of the land I knew from childhood. A place where Alice runs a dominatrix club, the Mad Hatter is a sheriff, the caterpillar a soul drinking broker of deals and the Cheshire Cat, well actually he was somewhat the same. It is an interesting place filled with familiar, yet not characters.
Elle is an interesting creature as a siren. She used to call men to their deaths and eat them. Sometimes the call of the Siren is strong and she can’t help but want to fall back into her old ways. Her interactions with the Hatter shift from cold and detached, to steamy to artic again. There is an underlying tension between them that gets a lot of page time. I like them teamed up to solve murders; they seem to compliment each other. I’m not sure I’m on board with the romance, but only because it was so on and off and I just wanted Elle to make a choice and go for it.
The mystery is interesting and I liked the aspect where they worked the case and tried to figure out what is going on. There seems to be a lot of backstory from both Elle and the Hatter to explore. Especially how Hook, of all characters, saved Elle and made her want to be a better woman and not just a man eater. I did like the Hatter a lot; he has this tortured and broken feel about him that is like catnip to me.
Overall there is a lot of trying to build sexual tension in this story, a decent plot and an okay mystery. I had a good time reading/listening to the story, but I think that you need to have a big love of fairy tales to really enjoy most of it.
This is the first time I’ve listened to Chelsea Stephens. She is a decent narrator for It’s a Charmed Life. She did Elle’s PoV very well and I did okay with most of the character transitions. The first few jumps into another person’s PoV were a little confusing I didn’t catch the first one but after that I could pick them out.
Listen to a clip: HERE
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