When I sat down to write my Lucius Fogg series of novels, I had no idea that there was an Urban Fantasy genre. I just thought I was writing a detective novel that happened to have magic and the supernatural in it. Then, a couple years back when I signed up for Audible, I started exploring the genre and I’ve been finding a lot of interesting and entertaining series like the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher, the Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne, the Rivers of London series by Ben Aaronovitch, Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey, Joe Pitt Casebook by Charlie Huston and the Felix Castor series by Mike Carey. I can now add a new series to that list, the Alex Verus series by Benedict Jacka.
Alex Verus is a diviner, a type of mage that can see into the future. He runs a small shop in London and does his best to avoid the world of magic after his manipulative training by a Dark Mage. He also avoids the Council of mages because of the politics and how they just accept dark mages. The problem is, that an magic object has been found that could be extremely powerful and a lot of people want… and they need a diviner to get it. Little does Verus know, most of the other diviners have bailed out of town, leaving him the center of attention by all sides. Verus, and his cursed friend Luna, are pulled into the search on how to open up the artifact and find the Fate Weaver that everyone wants.
Jacka creates an interesting world of both light and dark mages, with the dark doing whatever they want and the light just wanting to keep the peace. The character has a bit of a classic noir feel in that he’s smart, resourceful and like to smart off in the sense of danger. And deep down he has the heart of a hero and the will to beat overwhelming odds. Along with Verus and Luna, Jacka introduces us to a handful of allies that are all strange and amazing. An ethereal air elemental with a fleeting memory and short attention span. A creature that lives underground, makes clothes and looks like the stuff of nightmares and a mentor diviner whose best advise is to get the hell out of town.
Fated is a good read, keeps a steady pace and does well to establish Verus and the world he lives in. Like many of these series, the first novel has flaws, but I would expect each book to improve over the last as Jacka refines his craft. It was originally printed in 2012 and is also available in audiobook (my medium of choice). performed by Gildart Jackson. There are eight books in the series so far with a ninth scheduled to be published this summer.
If you’re fan of urban fantasy novels/series, I’d recommend giving it a shot. Its a fun read and even has a nod to a wizard in Chicago who advertises in the Yellow Pages.
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