Things are going well for Alex Verus in Cursed by Benedict Jacka.
He’s on moderately good terms with the Council, his apprentice is settling in and his shop in Camden is gaining quite a reputation. But when a mysterious woman bursts into the Arcana Emporium one night with an assassin on her tail, Alex is thrown into a plot to revive a long-forbidden ritual.
His old enemies are after the secret, as well as a Council mage named Belthas and a mercenary named Garrick, and at least one of them is trying to get Alex killed – if he only knew which. He can see the future, but knowing who to trust is something else.
I will say this though, even though I enjoyed this one slightly more than, Fated, as series, it’s still not quite up there with Ben Aarronovitch’s, Peter Grant series.
There are a few plot strands in Cursed by Benedict Jecka, what would be assumed to be the main one, which is the plot to revive a magic harvesting ritual, that threatens the remaining magical creatures. Including Alex’s friend, Ariadne. And then there’s Luna’s new boyfriend, who Alex doesn’t trust and who appears to have fallen under the thrall of the Monkey’s Paw, a magical item that grants wishes, but has a history of taking more than it gives.
And all this is all very exciting and makes for an page-turning read, but for me, the heart of the story is Alex’s relationship with Luna. From the start it’s not the typical master/apprentice relationship, as Luna isn’t a full mage. But it’s also confused, both by their existing friendship and Alex’s history with his own master, Richard Drakh. That confusion steers a lot of Alex’s decisions throughout the book.
So, while the Alex Verus books by Benedict Jacka is still a series that isn’t perfect; it is one that is full of action, great characters, and one I am enjoying a lot, and I’m sure book three, Taken will be appearing on my shelves in September.
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