Mage apprentices have been vanishing without a trace—and someone on the council might be involved. Alex Verus has no evidence, no witnesses, and no suspects. All he knows is that someone is keeping tabs on him. And after assassins target his own apprentice’s classmate, Alex sees that he doesn’t know the half of it—and that he could be the next to disappear…
“Has anybody ever told you you’re a remarkably cynical person?”
“I like to think of it as learning from experience.”
Alex Verus is a great character to follow. In this series he is the single POV and he has a strong voice. The sarcastic and dry tone of this series comes from him, but he is also more than that. He is kind and strong, while at the same time not taking crap from anyone. He longs for a just world, while constantly struggling with the inner demons of his past. I really enjoyed following Alex as he reluctantly gets involved in yet another mystery.
Out of the first three books, I found the plot of this one the most interesting and engaging. Mage apprentices, both light and dark, are disappearing without a trace. Not only that, but Alex and his friends’ normal methods of solving these types of mysteries have been exhausted. Jacka gives you hints and pieces of the mystery throughout the story, but it is not until the end that I got the full picture which was great! Mystery stories tend to hang on two things for me, whether you can guess the big reveal before it happens and whether that reveal is satisfying. I’m happy to say that Jacka succeeds wonderfully on both fronts!
“Whoever had designed the block of flats had obviously worked to a clear set of priorities. Unfortunately, while cost, size, and low-maintenance had made it to the top of the list, aesthetics, good escape routes, and shelter from gunfire hadn’t.”
I wanted to mention the narration real quick as I listened to this exclusively on audiobook. Although the narrator did a decent job overall, I found that his narration of female characters in particular was kind of odd and personally annoying for me. It really took me out of the story every time a female character spoke so I think I will be doing the rest of this series on ebook or physical.
We get to learn more about the magic in this one as well. Anne, a new character, has a magical ability that I found especially interesting. We are also shown more uses of the magic that we already knew about which was really cool and helped me to be continually engaged in the current story, as well as getting me excited for the next installments.
This was the best book yet in the Alex Verus series. It has the surprising combination of a gritty and dark tone with a hopeful outlook. Jacka manages to keep up what made me enjoy the first two books while improving upon the plot and expanding the world.