Review: Fated (Alex Verus #1) by Benedict Jacka

Rating: 8/10

Synopsis

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…

Review

“If you can’t have another ally,” I said at last, “next best thing is to give your enemy another enemy.”

Just a quick side note before starting: If you liked the overall premise of The Dresden Files, but were bothered by the “male gaze” that is pretty prevalent throughout the series, you will not find that at all here. Anyway, back to the review.

When I first started reading this book I was really concerned. In the beginning it has many similarities to the first book in the Dresden Files and I was worried that it may end up being a carbon copy. However, as I continued to read I realized that although you can tell that Benedict Jacka is clearly inspired by Jim Butcher, he makes this series revolving around Alex Verus his own.

If you didn’t read the summary, this urban fantasy series is about Alex Verus. Alex is a mage with the ability to see into the possible futures of himself and other people. While at first I thought this might be an overpowered ability, Benedict Jacka does an excellent job of using limitations and dangerous situations to make that not the case. Also, human fallibility and weakness play a vital role in Alex’s power being amazing while not being over the top.

“Okay – I said – I’m going to tell you something important, so listen closely. It’s something most mages never learn at all. The most powerful weapon you have is your mind. Magic doesn’t mean anything unless you know the right way to use it.”

Alex is an interesting character. He has a dark past that we learn some vague details about throught the novel. He also has a dry sense of humor and a compelling sense of right and wrong. When it comes down to it though, Alex is just plain likable. He has a way about him that makes him engaging to follow. We also meet Luna in this book. Luna is one of Alex’s only friends. She also has some really interesting magic of her own and Jacka used that to add a unique twist to a familiar character and story.

The plot has a very well balanced pace. Jacka did a great job of balancing the action, intrigue, and character development. I was continually engaged and invested in these characters and this story. I sped through this book in just a few days.

Fated does a lot of things really good, but doesn’t do anything amazing or mind blowing. I don’t say that as a criticism. This was a really solid first entry into the Alex Verus series and I have already started the next book. I am excited to see where this 12 book series will go! Plus the last book comes out December 2021 so this is the perfect time to start this series.

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