- Non Fiction
Cursed: An Alex Verus Novel by Benedict Jacka
List Price: £5.99
Kindle Edition: 337 Pages.
Published: 07 June 2012 by Orbit
Things are going well for Alex Verus. He's on moderately good terms with the Council, his apprentice is settling in and his shop in Camden is gaining quite a reputation.
But when a mysterious woman bursts into the Arcana Emporium one night with an assassin on her tail, Alex is thrown into a plot to revive a long-forbidden ritual. His old enemies are after the secret, as well as a Council mage named Belthas and a mercenary named Garrick, and at least one of them is trying to get Alex killed - if he only knew which.
He can see the future, but knowing who to trust is something else.
by Debra Found
Fast Paced & Well Written
This is the second book in the Alex Verus series. However, this is the first one in the series that I have read. I enjoyed this book very much without having read the first one but I do advise others to start with "Chosen" by Benedict Jacka.
This was one of those books that I knew was going to be a great read right from the first page. There is a line I particularly liked (and have already quoted in my blog - Your Dinner Will be Late Dear!) where some razor wire on top of a wall is described -
"It was rusted and full of holes which hadn't been repaired in years, as
if the owners had decided that they couldn't keep the burglars out but
might at least be able to give them tetnus on the way in."
This sort of wry humour appeals to me and I wasn't disappointed as the book continues. There was plenty to amuse in this story.
This is well written with enough explanation to allow the reader to understand how magic works in this series but without the excessive dreary explanation that some fantasy books have. The story moves along at a good pace right from the beginning and I struggled to put this down.
The main character is Alex Verus - a magician (well, a diviner to be precise) who is a bit of a maverick and doesn't quite fit in to the magical council structure that exists. In some ways this makes him quite like Harry Dresden in the Jim Butcher books but not as dark. I think I would describe Alex Verus as a cross between Harry Dresden and Peter Grant from the Rivers of London series, possibly with a dash of Discworld thrown in. Alex Verus is an immediately likeable sort of guy though as the book (and the series) develop we do learn more about the depths of his character. Alex has an apprentice, Luna, who seems at first to be quite vulnerable but actually has a will of steel.
I chose this book as a direct result of reading my colleague Anne's review - which is why I started on the second in the series. It was an excellent decision and I have now headed back to start with the first book and read the series in chronological order. So if you want a fast paced, well written, British urban fantasy with inventive characters and more than a dash of humour then I can heartily recommend the Alex Verus Series.
An unusual use of magic
This is the second in the series featuring Alex Verus - a magic user based in London who has the gift of being able to see all the pathways of the future. In style this book is very like "Rivers of London" by Ben Aaronovitch and Alex Verus bears more than a passing resemblance to Harry Dresden in the novels by Jim Butcher. If you like either of those excellent series then you will enjoy this one.
Alex is still living in London and running his shop of magical items. He has an apprentice, Luna, who is cursed so that no one can touch her. He has a series of eccentric and unusual friends from a large spider to a spirit of the air. Sadly, it also appears that he has an enemy that wants to kill him and his apprentice has been lured away by the love of a young wizard who shows remarkably poor judgement.
The magic in this book is unusual and well thought through. The author shows us how Alex's gift can be useful but also its limitations and, as usual, how people of evil intentions seek to use his gift for their own reward. The book is witty and amusing and Alex is an entertaining narrator who is wiser than he first appears. The author also examines the dark side of power and of magic and the whole monkey's paw/three wishes thing was very creepy and ended as you might have expected.
This isn't a very long book and it is very easy to read but nevertheless it has plenty to make you think together with a very engaging main character.