Fated (Alex Verus #1)
- Benedict Jacka
Alex Verus is part of a world hidden in plain sight, running a magic shop in London. And while Alex's own powers aren't as showy as some mages, he does have the advantage of foreseeing the possible future--allowing him to pull off operations that have a million-to-one-chance of success. But when Alex is approached by multiple factions to crack open a relic from a long-ago mage war, he knows that whatever's inside must be beyond powerful. And thanks to his abilities, Alex can predict that by taking the job, his odds of survival are about to go from slim to none
A new urban fantasy set in London that is similar to the Dresden Files? How was I going to resist that? I am unashamedly biased towards my home town and any stories set there give me a little shiver of pleasure and pride – especially when the details are done right.
Upon meeting Alex Verus for the first time, we find a relatively isolated mage living in Camden who happens to be able to divine multiply future probabilities and learn from them. After some trouble in his past, he keeps mostly to himself and tries not to get involved in the magical community too much. That is until several parties want to use his gifts in order to retrieve a rare item and his almost-apprentice brings him a special type of magical object…suddenly Alex is a very popular man and it might just get him killed.
This is the first in a new series and there is a lot of world building as Alex introduces us to his world. The beginning of the book especially has a lot of ‘to a mages eyes the world looks different’ phrases that can throw you out of the story as you are being told rather than shown the differences. However, this soon settles down and we really get to see the world. Alex’s gift for divining the future is a little erratic – it only works when he concentrates on it so he can be surprised – and would make for a dull book otherwise! While I liked Alex I never really felt like I got to know him particularly well. Some of the smaller characters really stood out – I loved Luna and her curse makes live very interesting while Archane makes me almost like spiders again. In later books I would love for Alex to let his guard down a bit more and relax so we can get to know him better.
The story is pretty quick with plenty of different scenes and some really interesting concepts – the dream walking and labyrinth in the relic are wonderfully described – I almost felt like I watching a film at time. They had very cinematic aspects to them and I can’t help thinking Alex Verus would make a wonderful movie hero – similar to Nicholas Cage in National Treasure! Overall, this is a decent to a new series – and like some of my favourite series has a lot of potential. Both the Dresden Files and Kate Daniels books weren’t strong starts to the series but rough cuts to what have become must-buy books. I think this has the same sort of potential and I will be looking forward to the next book in the series, Cursed which is currently sitting on my TBR pile…
Recommended for fans of the Dresden Files and Ilona Andrews. 7 out of 10