Review: Cursed (Alex Verus #2) by Benedict Jacka

Rating: 7/10


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… 


“As I walked, I started making a list of everyone in the mage world whom I’d opposed, fought with, or otherwise irritated. After I ran out of fingers to count on I decided to limit the number to people I’d pissed off relatively recently.”

I have primarily listened to the first 2 books in this series on audiobook so I want to give a shoutout to the narrator. Gildart Jackson does a good job of portraying the characters in this series.

This is a story of growth both for Alex and his closest friend Luna. Both of them are going through things that have them making important choices to shape their future. I really enjoyed the character growth we got in this one, especially from Alex. It was both relatable and realistic, increasing the overall quality of the story.

Speaking of the story, this one introduces us to some more characters within the magical community. Consequently we also get to learn more of the different powers that mages can possess and I found that really interesting. The mystery job that Alex is working on in this one was intriguing, but I did end up guessing some of the reveals which spoiled my enjoyment of the story just a little bit. The magical battles and hand to hand fighting were done really well. Benedict Jacka gives us high stakes battles and although I never really feared that Alex would die (this is a 12 book series after all), I did fear for his companions Luna and Saunders.

Saunders is another character in whom I am becoming more and more interested. Saunders is a time mage so he can manipulate time in different ways. So far we have only seen a smidgen of his magical ability and I am excited to learn more about what he can do. Saunders is also extremely likable. He is innocent and naive at times, while at the same time just being a plain good person. He wants to help Alex do the right thing even when he is terrified of the powers that be that might take umbrage at his defying them and do something about it. Saunders is one of those characters that you want to protect at all costs.

This was another solid book in the Alex Verus series. The story picks up just a few months after the end of book 1 and doesn’t waste time getting right into the action. A fast paced, urban fantasy/mystery novel that ended up being a lot of fun while at the same time pulling on my heartstrings more than once.

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