Bound: An Alex Verus Novel by Benedict Jacka

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Bound: An Alex Verus Novel by Benedict Jacka

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Category: Fantasy
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Ani Johnson
Reviewed by Ani Johnson
Summary: The 8th Alex Verus urban fantasy is one of his heart-thudding, nail-chewing best. This is a hero who will run and run – in all senses of the phrase.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 416 Date: April 2017
Publisher: Orbit
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0356507194

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Warning: From the beginning, this contains spoilers for past books.

Alex Verus, seer, mage and former owner of a now incinerated London magic shop, is no longer under a death warrant but that doesn't mean that people don't want him dead. His only chance of survival isn't promising either: he's gone back to the place of nightmares. He and Anne are now working for his old apprentice master, Richard Drakh. Richard's reasons are never straightforward so it's a mystery as to why he's made Alex an offer he'd be killed to refuse. Unsurprisingly, Alex isn't the only one who wants to the answer either. Oh and remember Rachel? She's back and… well… shall we say she has issues?

I keep saying that British author Benedict Jacka is up there among the top names in urban fantasy like Ben Aaronovitch, Jim Butcher and Kate Griffin and he keeps proving me right, this book included.

Bound has a very much an out of the frying pan into the fire feeling about it for our Alex. His former life was literally burnt to a crisp and he's spent a fair amount of time with healer Ann running for their lives. Burned, Book 7, finished with the ultimate no-choice choice and now we see the consequences.

For those coming late to the series, please read them in order or at least starting with Book 2. You'll miss so much more than can be summed up in my standard reviewer comments like 'Drakh is a kingpin in the world of mages.'

This time out Alex really impresses us with his immunity to demise as Richard's baddie enemies close in. Unfortunately, Alex's predecessors in his new role weren't so lucky, having been tortured and obliterated in the war for knowledge. Meanwhile, Richard's goody enemies have been unlucky too but their hopes are rekindled by Alex's powers of survival and the possibility of him becoming a double agent. (No, he's not too keen on that bit!)

Richard's motives and plans are generally shrouded within his impressive intelligence rather than revealed in an easy guess. In fact, some of the things that happened to Alex when he was a teen apprentice are only now starting to make sense to him as he looks back at what could have been a very long-term plan.

As always, Alex isn't going it alone. As well as Anne (and the ever-developing will they/won't they thread), Luna and Variam are there to help at key moments and Arachne (everyone's favourite giant spider) is there to advise.

Again Benedict develops his set-pieces with verve, plummeting us into action that's riddled with surprises. This time Rachel's weaponry is as unpredictable as her mental state. Another high spot awaits when we see there's more geographically and dimensionally to a local beauty spot than appears on the surface.

Normally only a superlative writer can keep a series going and still generate the excitement and anticipation of the next book's release. Here, although eight books in, Benedict's talent still speaks for itself. Proof if proof were needed is when he gives us a final page and a bit that will have the advance order tills ringing like Alex's head after a bad day. What else could go wrong for Alex? Actually, poor bloke, from the manner in which we leave him this time, quite a lot!

(We'd like to thank Orbit for providing us with a copy for review.)

Further Reading: Said it before and will say it again, do treat yourself and read the entire Verus series in order. If you're already a fan and are looking for further urban fantasy, we just as eagerly point you towards The Hanging Tree (Rivers of London 6) by Ben Aaronovitch and/or The End of the Day by Claire North.

Benedict Jacka's Alex Verus Novels in Chronological Order

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Buy Bound: An Alex Verus Novel by Benedict Jacka at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Bound: An Alex Verus Novel by Benedict Jacka at


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