Chosen by Benedict Jacka
|Chosen by Benedict Jacka|
|Reviewer: Ani Johnson|
|Summary: Alex Verus #4 has arrived showing no sign of subject fatigue. In fact once again this is the best instalment yet as Alex the seer collides with his dark past and Benedict Jacka matures as a writer.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 352||Date: September 2013|
|External links: Author's website|
Alex Verus, seer and London magic shop owner, has had a year of crowded uncomplication since we last caught up with him. Crowded because he now shares his small flat with unqualified but adept mages Anne and Variam as well as his apprentice Luna. Uncomplicated because his biggest problem seems to be progressing Luna's training and finding someone to pick up Anne and Variam's apprenticeship; not huge when his normal kind are a matter of life or death. However all is about to change. You remember that way back in his youth Alex worked for a dark mage? Well he was hoping to forget that. Was? Yes, past tense, for now Alex's past has invaded his present and is in danger of curtailing his future.
When British author Benedict Jacka announced he was going to emulate Jim Butcher's Dresden File series by providing the UK with an equivalent to the only wizard in the Chicago phone book I must admit to worrying on Benedict's behalf. Jim Butcher has managed to produce 14 Harry Dresden books and is still going strong; a feat not matched by many. However, I needn't have flustered. From the slightly shaky beginnings of Fated Benedict has given British urban fantasy another character to be proud of, emulating Dresden only in genre and success. The rest is pure Jacka and that's no complaint.
Alex realises that he can't always run away. His only magical power may be weighing up probabilities from possible futures but there are times when that doesn't excuse him from taking responsibility. Indeed he is confronted and assisted by past enemies and friends (not always that way round) but this is an enthralling Alex-alone-against-the-gang novel; a gang with various powers and a large dollop of anger.
Again we're immersed in a novel that works as a self-contained story as well as a series progression. Alex's trademark dry sense of humour is in evidence along with the great action scenes that we're becoming used to but still leave us slack-jawed with involvement. We also discover more about the increasingly fascinating dream world of Elsewhere.
When Benedict dropped in to Bookbag Towers back in February he mentioned that he was disappointed he hadn't been asked that much about Elsewhere. Now he seems to be bringing it to our attention to jog our curiosity as well as our imaginations.
Alex is honing his powers but he's not the only one who's developing. Benedict is maturing as writer before our very eyes. This is particularly noticeable in Chosen as we are treated to some beautiful, descriptive passages that hint of a talent that could easily tackle genres outside the action/urban fantasy he's concentrated on to date. Meanwhile I'm happy to report that Alex Verus #5 will be with us sometime in 2014 which, if you feel the same way once you’ve seen the cliff we're currently hanging off at the end of Chosen, will agree can't come quickly enough.
If this appeals, then treat yourself to one of Alex’s previous adventures. If you’re already a fan, spread your wings further into the world of superlative British urban fantasy and meet Peter Grant, Matthew Swift or the new kids… errr… varied life forms on the block, Magicals Anonymous.
You can read more book reviews or buy Chosen by Benedict Jacka at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy Chosen by Benedict Jacka at Amazon.com.
Chosen by Benedict Jacka is in the Top Ten Fantasy Books of 2013.
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