Cursed (Alex Verus #2)
Publisher: UK – Orbit
Since his second sight made him infamous for defeating powerful dark mages, Alex has been keeping his head down. But now he's discovered the resurgence of a forbidden ritual. Someone is harvesting the life-force of magical creatures—destroying them in the process. And draining humans is next on the agenda. Hired to investigate, Alex realizes that not everyone on the Council wants him delving any deeper. Struggling to distinguish ally from enemy, he finds himself the target of those who would risk their own sanity for power...
This is the second book following the adventures of Alex Verus, a diviner with the ability to see possible futures who prefers to make his living with a little magical shop in Camden, North London. Having established the rules and background in the first book, Fated, there is less explanations this time round although on occasion Alex can be a little repetitive explaining his actions. The good news is this makes the story much tighter with the plot moving at a brisk pace with few detours.
Alex seems like a nice guy, who cares for his friends and will do anything to save them, but other than that his personality is a little beige – not unpleasant, but not particularly memorable. This is a shame as some of the other characters are really intriguing! Luna, Alex’s apprentice has a more central role here as her struggles to maintain friends while living with her curse takes on a larger role. The character of Arachne will always linger in the memory as well and I like Sonder, Alex’s bookish friend. Cinder his sometime enemy/ally proves that there are shades of grey in this world with the Dark and Light Mages closer to dark Grey and Off-White that straight forward good and evil.
While the majority of the story takes place in London, it doesn’t really become much more than a backing for the story – it could be set in any large city. However, the writing is easy to gel with and this is an easy read. I am looking forward to the next instalment but this hasn’t jumped into my favourite series, just yet. But it has potential – after all the first few Dresden books are not the best!
Recommended for fans of Jim Butcher and Ben Aaronovitch. 7.5 out of 10