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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good start to a series
I enjoyed this introductory volume to what looks set to be a lengthy series (three volumes out now, September 2012). It's an action packed, none too cerebral, introduction to the Magical World of Alex Verus: shops selling magical paraphernalia, a Curse, elementals, good mages and bad, an ineffectual Council that won't stand up to the villains - and a climax that reads a...
Published on 28 Sep 2012 by D. Harris

versus
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I like Alex Versus. He's a nice guy.
I read this because it was promoted as Urban Fantasy, and alleged to be similar to the Rivers of London series, with which I'm a bit obsessed.([...]Rivers of London (Rivers of London 1)) I suppose there are some similarities, but Fated is markedly less good. I feel this may be because Mr Verus spends a lot of his time being knowing about things that are completely alien...
Published 23 months ago by AnnieCoral


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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good start to a series, 28 Sep 2012
By 
D. Harris (Oxford, UK) - See all my reviews
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I enjoyed this introductory volume to what looks set to be a lengthy series (three volumes out now, September 2012). It's an action packed, none too cerebral, introduction to the Magical World of Alex Verus: shops selling magical paraphernalia, a Curse, elementals, good mages and bad, an ineffectual Council that won't stand up to the villains - and a climax that reads a bit like a Dungeons and Dragons scenario.

Yes, it may all sound a bit like Harry Potter grown up - especially that sub-plot about how the Dark mages are getting a foothold because the authorities prefer to look the other way - but I'm inclined to the view that's simply because both worlds are well grounded in human nature and the realities of politics. It's a good read and a promising start, generally well written, with only one flaw from my perspective - the continual use of "gotten" and "it fit" (rather than "fitted") by a British character. POssibly that reflects a target market in the US, but it still grates.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Enjoyable - London and "Magical Realism"., 9 May 2012
By 
Bruce "from Brighton" (UK - England) - See all my reviews
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This is a very easy and enjoyable read - it zips past and keeps you turning the pages to see what happens next, throughout. The book is sold by a large quote on the front cover, from Jim Butcher and his The Dresden Files are the most obvious influence.

However, what makes this book distinctive is its grounding in a very real London. Places like Camden Market and the British Museum, make the settings come to life and anybody who has lived or worked in London will recognise all the locations that are mentioned. Having been a frequent visitor to the British Museum, helps enormously in visualising the main action of this first book.

So whereas Harry Dresden is a typical American living in Chicago - Alex Verus, is a Londoner who runs a "magic" shop in Camden. Alex is not a typical "wizard" either and he can only see potential futures - which is of course very helpful, but he relies on others to protect him - like a friendly air elemental, who wants shiny stuff.

Anybody who likes "urban fantasy" will love this book, but I think that Benedict Jacka's writing takes this above the usual run of the mill. His humour, style of writing and attention to detail, combine to make this all much more interesting. I also liked the idea/concept of potential probabilities that runs throughout the book - that what is more important, isn't power as such, but knowing what the potential outcomes of actions/events might be.

I am looking forward to reading more and hope that future instalments will be as entertaining as this first book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I like Alex Versus. He's a nice guy., 8 Dec 2012
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This review is from: Fated: An Alex Verus Novel (Kindle Edition)
I read this because it was promoted as Urban Fantasy, and alleged to be similar to the Rivers of London series, with which I'm a bit obsessed.([...]Rivers of London (Rivers of London 1)) I suppose there are some similarities, but Fated is markedly less good. I feel this may be because Mr Verus spends a lot of his time being knowing about things that are completely alien to the reader, so we don't really get what he's being knowing about, or why it's impressive. Also, the decision to call the great Dark Mage who scarred Verus' youth `Richard' was perhaps not the best. Funnily enough, Looking For Group uses that very name as a name hilariously unsuitable for a Dark Lord: See [...]([...] Looking for Group, Volume 1) So every time the Dread Richard was mentioned as a demon from Verus' past, I had a mental image of LFG Richard going `Fwoosh!' which ruined the image of cold sophistication Jacka had been going for.

To summarise the plot: Alex Versus, probability mage, nightmare-sufferer and all-round mensch, runs a magic shop in Camden. His magic skill enables him to look into the future, and see the outcome of any given potential action. On a day like any other, a nefarious Greek-looking person from his past walks into the shop to offer him a job for The Council. At this point the reader discovers that there is a Council of Light Mages, and a bunch of fractious Dark Mages to whom teamwork is like altruism to cats. Versus likes neither, but through a series of coincidences somewhat frustrating for someone who can see the future, he manages to end up working for both.

The controversy centres on a statue, which contains a priceless artefact that has been locked away for centuries, and is reputed to give the possessor endless power. Understandably, everyone wants it for themselves, and all are willing to kill to get it. Except for Alex, because he's a mensch. And mostly everyone wants to kill him.

Alex is joined by Luna, a girl with an ancient curse that causes everyone who comes near her to have terminally bad luck, and Starbreeze, an air elemental of female persuasion, who is described as being simply dumb. They are helped out by Arachne, who is an enormous spider that makes beautiful clothes with magical properties, and a straight-edged bureaucrat/ Council member whose name I've forgotten, which fits with the character.

The magical elements of the story are managed reasonably well - Verus' ability to look into the future is not overly deterministic, and doesn't give him too much of an edge over the other characters. Luna's curse is incredibly depressing, but hope is introduced gradually over the course of the narrative, which is nice. There are also lots of jolly explosions and things being smashed, which is always good in an urban fantasy story.

One final thing that was a bit annoying: throughout the novel there are allusions to the past that don't always gel with the narrative of the present. They are generally important for character development, but the way they are introduced and the amount of information they convey doesn't work. A lot of the time, I felt like the narrative was presenting itself to me as an outsider, instead of feeling completely absorbed by the story.

But, all whingeing aside, I quite enjoyed this book, and I look forward to reading the next one, to find out what happens to Luna and her curse. Oh, and to see if I'll finally be introduced to this nefarious, ballroom-dancing Richard.

(For the rest of my reviews, google Annie's Crazy Book Reviews. I bought this book myself, so I didn't feel compelled to be nice about it.)
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Start, 5 Mar 2012
This review is from: Fated: An Alex Verus Novel (Kindle Edition)
I bought this book on recommendation from a Jim Butcher interview. I was not disappointed, the story is good, the characters interesting and everything flows along really nicely. Those who know of Jim Butchers work will see some similarity with the early chapters of this book and the Dresden Files, there is even a rather nice reference to Harry, but things move away from these quite quickly. Those worried about a rehash should not be as I think while this is in the same vein of The Dresden Files, the story and its characters are distinct and well done.

I was a bit confused by the ending (I can't mention any more without giving away plot which I think would be a shame - though for a disclaimer it was more to do with the technical aspects of what the author defines as Magic within the book rather than any plot holes etc), but that was easily forgiven but the enjoyment of the book as a whole. I hope this author continues to improve upon this delightful series.

Highly Recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too similiar to The Dresden Files, 3 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Fated: An Alex Verus Novel (Kindle Edition)
If I had read this before I read The Dresden Files, or even earlier the Nightside books by Simon R Green, then I think I would have liked this more. The magic power the hero has is very original which I like, and its also great that he cannot solve his problems by increased firepower. I thought the use of his power was realistic and imaginative, unfortunately the plot was uninspiring, and the character of the hero is a carbon copy of this type of book, lone wolf who broke with the Powers That Be is forced back into the politics he despises to protect the innocent and/or a blast from the past.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Flat, 31 July 2012
By 
C. Green "happily low brow" (Quenington, Glos, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Fated: An Alex Verus Novel (Kindle Edition)
Fated is the first in a series featuring modern day wizard, or 'diviner' as the book would have it, Alex Verus.

With so many urban fantasy series around these days a new entrant into the market needs to make a splash. It needs to grab readers and give them a compelling reason to commit to buying future books in the series, either via the quality of the writing, the originality of the concept, the charisma of the characters or the gripping nature of the story (or preferably via a combination of two of more of these).

Unfortunately for me 'Fated' had none of those things. The world Benedict Jacka has created feel reminiscent of any number of urban-fantasy series, with its talks of 'Dark Mages' and 'Councils'. There's nothing terribly original on offer here. The characters meanwhile, fail to leap off the page. As the whole book is written in the first person Alex Verus needs to be an entertaining narrator but isn't. The tone is flat and generates little sense of place or atmosphere (a real problem when you're dealing with the fantastical). At no point during the various chases or magical battles was I awed, scared or genuinely excited. Even the story failed to truly grip. I was curious to find out how Alex extricated himself from his predicament, but once I had there was little interest in knowing more about Alex or any of the other characters.

And that's the key problem with 'Fated'; it didn't leave me wanting more. Having finished it I don't find myself wanting to explore Alex Verus world further, or wanting to get to know the characters in more depth or uncover more about their back stories. Fated wasn't a terrible book; it passed the time and kept me reasonably interested. There just wasn't enough that was genuinely great about it to make me commit to yet another ongoing series of novels.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Harry Dresden, 1 July 2013
By 
Neil (STRANRAER, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Fated: An Alex Verus Novel (Kindle Edition)
Despite the hype this is not a Harry Dresden replacement. It reads like the first draft of a Harry Dresden novel, before the wit, nuances, twists and turns have been added. Before the clichés and the slack are removed. As for the London setting, blink and you'll miss it. Nice ideas but not executed well. I have no idea if it gets better in the series, I'll let someone else find out.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A promising new fantasy series, 28 Oct 2013
By 
Mrs. K. A. Wheatley "katywheatley" (Leicester, UK) - See all my reviews
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I rather enjoyed this fantasy romp through the highways and byways of London. Having previously read and enjoyed Ben Aaranovitch's London based fantasy series I had hoped for more of the same kind of thing here, but it was different in a good way. There was less of the London history and more of the focus on how the magical world of the hero, Alex Verus, works. This is much more based in magical lore than the Aaranovitch's novels, and I like the magic world that the author creates for his hero. I am intrigued to read more, as although this book was quite pacy and full of action, you still get the sense that it is setting the scene for what is to come later in the series. My teenage daughter has read the three novels that come after this one and tells me that they get better. I look forward to seeing if what she says is true.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent urban fantasy series with a nice twist, 22 Nov 2012
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This review is from: Fated: An Alex Verus Novel (Kindle Edition)
After reading all three of the Alex Verus series, I waiting in eager anticipation for the fourth one.

It's "urban fantasy" with magic of various "styles", so we see mages who specialise in areas like "Time", "Earth", "Mind", etc. The "good" mages aren't really that good, but the "dark" mages are mainly that bad! Being British and knowing a little of London, the travels of Alex around the big city and the surrounding countryside are quite evocative. The cast of characters is pretty varied, with plenty of notable "baddies".

There have been comments that Verus is another Harry Dresden ... well yes and no ... Dresden is, especially in the later stories, the classic zap mage, blasting away, blowing things and creatures up. Whereas Verus has very limited powers to influence "now" ... but he's "diviner" who can see the future, and that's got a different type of power!!

All in all, I'd well recommend this series to anyone
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fated is clearly the work of a great imagination, 6 Aug 2012
By 
Parm (A bookshop near you) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Fated: An Alex Verus Novel (Kindle Edition)
Not a book from my usual genre, this was something i was encouraged to read.
I do foray into Urban fantasy or what ever name they like to give this sub-genre in any given week. The comparisons i have read to Butchers Dresden files i think also to a small degree apply to Ban Aaronovitchs Rivers series. That mixing of real world London with magic forces the mind to make comparisons like this, but at the same time they are a bit unfair Benedict Jacka has clearly created a world that deserves to be qualified against its own merits and not others. Benedict Jacka is clearly a skilled writer, maybe one at the beginning of a learning curve that will fill in the small gaps and minor plot holes that exist (you cant note them as they give away the story) but any new author needs time to flesh out characters and make a story live on its own. Look at the Hobbit and LotR, the hobbit was the start not the meat and the bones.
Fated is clearly the work of a great imagination, and has been carefully woven into a fantastic plot, one that left me wanting more. Any book that does this is one worthy of recommendation and praise.

look forward to the next
(Parm)

(Book description)
Alex Verus is part of a world hidden in plain sight, running a magic shop in London. And while Alex's own powers aren't as showy as some mages, he does have the advantage of foreseeing the possible future--allowing him to pull off operations that have a million-to-one-chance of success.

But when Alex is approached by multiple factions to crack open a relic from a long-ago mage war, he knows that whatever's inside must be beyond powerful. And thanks to his abilities, Alex can predict that by taking the job, his odds of survival are about to go from slim to none...
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Fated: An Alex Verus Novel
Fated: An Alex Verus Novel by Benedict Jacka
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