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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Settling in nicely
There is so much that is excellent about this series, and this book in particular. I am really enjoying the character development of Luna and Alex. I love the fact that we do not (yet) have a love interest developing. Isn't it interesting how female fantasy writers always seem to have gorgeous hunky male harems lying around the place, while male fantasy writers just...
Published 21 months ago by Brunneria

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Ok read
Magical urban mini adventure. A put-it-down-pick-it-up-again book. Entertaining and nice plot. Found characters a bit onedinemsional in this one. Prefer Aaronovitch's stories, they're much better devised and dialogues have a tongue-in-cheek flavour.
Published 24 days ago by lovereading


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Settling in nicely, 3 Oct 2012
This review is from: Taken: An Alex Verus Novel (Kindle Edition)
There is so much that is excellent about this series, and this book in particular. I am really enjoying the character development of Luna and Alex. I love the fact that we do not (yet) have a love interest developing. Isn't it interesting how female fantasy writers always seem to have gorgeous hunky male harems lying around the place, while male fantasy writers just get on with the adventure, with occasional relationships incidental to the plot. As a female reader, I am loving not having to wade through incongruous sex scenes in the middle of a plot driven novel!

I am fascinated with the skill and consistency that allows the precog and divining to enhance the plot. How easy it would have been to wreck everything by making the magic provide all the answers. Instead, Alex survives each encounter using common sense and quick wits. The magic helps, but it isn't a cop out or an easy option.

My only two little quibbles (and remember this is still a 5 star review) are things that I have noticed in each of the 3 novels in this series:

1. Alex doesn't ask women enough questions. He encounters women and lets them run rings around him, mainly because he fails to ask obvious questions such as 'why are you doing this?' Or 'why do you think someone is trying to kill/abduct/squelch you?' This lack of curiosity is usually covered by a comment 'I sensed she wouldn't tell me any more, so I didn't ask.' Hmm. Not good enough. You are risking your life for her. She should be able to answer a straight question, or you smell a rat, don't you?

2. The additional male characters all behave in incredibly one dimensional ways. Lyle is self serving, cowardly and stupid. Every time. Onyx is a loud brutal bully, every time. Morden is an enigmatic cold fish, every time. It is like they are cardboard cut outs wheeled on stage, saying their 3 lines, then being wheeled back off. I get that they are bit parts, but it would be fantastic to see them breaking the mold a little? Morden showing curiosity? Onyx showing anything other than aggression? Lyle being generous? It would deepen and broaden the story while adding to the delicious moral maze that Jacka has built so well.

I think these novels are some of the best urban fantasy (yes, I know this one was mainly set in a country house) available. I love item - premise, plot, pace, delivery, main characters... Believe me, if the two whines above are the worst things I can muster, then these books are really excellent.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This series just gets better, 30 Oct 2012
By 
jacky mercury (Bridlington, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Taken: An Alex Verus Novel (Kindle Edition)
I started reading this series based on Amazons recommendations. I'm so glad I did! Alex Verus is a brilliant character and there's lots to keep you guessing about. a definite must for lovers of urban fantasy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great new series, 28 Oct 2012
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This review is from: Taken: An Alex Verus Novel (Kindle Edition)
If you enjoy the Dresden books, then you are in for a treat with the AlexVerus series of books. Intelligent, well thought out system of magic, interesting supporting cast and a thoroughly enjoyable main character who while lacking in the raw power of most urban magic leading men, relies on his brain rather than his brawn.

I can't wait for the next book in the series.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Haunted Mansion., 26 May 2014
By 
Bruce "from Brighton" (UK - England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
I have enjoyed all the books in this series, but maybe Benedict Jacka is tiring of the epithet "Urban Fantasy", which seems to get applied to his books. So this instalment moves out to a large country house - not so much Downton Abbey though, as the Haunted Mansion.

This series retains its uniquely British character, which has been its strongpoint throughout, with its base in a very real London that is recognisable to those who know it well. It also retains its sense of humour, which Alex needs as much as his wits. So, the interest is in the fact that he relies on knowledge and a sense of what the possible futures are - this gives him his edge on those around him, who mostly seem to be far more powerful enemies and/or companions.

In this book, we meet some new characters and many familiar faces - but for me there was a danger that this was veering into Harry Potter territory, with the story of a magical tournament for young apprentices and with Luna starting to take centre stage - it's almost like a cynical attempt to draw in the "young adult" market? However, I do think the intelligence of the writing and humour, take it above this - Alex is still the main character at the end and a father figure to a growing band of associates. It's all told from his voice and we experience everything through his perspective. The plotting is complex - although this one has more action and moves very quickly.

I'm still looking forward to the next one, as we have a genuinely original and British voice in fantasy - but I hope we return to the gritty side of London and that all thoughts of "you know who" are banished.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fab, 18 May 2014
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This review is from: Taken: An Alex Verus Novel (Kindle Edition)
I really enjoyed all of these books. Not too taxing on the brain. Travel or beach book, even commuting but they had a good story and kept you turning the page. If you like magic, good guys, bad guys and good fun then these are for you.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Taken, 4 April 2014
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This review is from: Taken: An Alex Verus Novel (Kindle Edition)
This series just keeps getting better with each book. If you like THE DRESDEN FILES your going to love these books, the books are similar and Alex Versus is very like Harry Dresden but there are more than enough differences as not to be the same.
I'm really enjoying how Alex Versus's character is growing with each book and the introduction of exciting new characters. Overall I would recommend that anyone who is going to read this book should start with the first book in the series to get the most out of these books.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Keeps on getting better, 23 Sep 2013
By 
Marleen (Cavan, Ireland) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
Alex Verus' life is running as smoothly as the life of an independent mage can run. He's running his shop and training his apprentice Luna and trying to live his life as quietly as he can but it isn't as easy as it used to be to keep his anonymity. His recent adventures and rather unexpected victories have brought him to the attention of the wider community of mages. So, when he is invited to travel to Fountain Reach to be a supervisor during a tournament for apprentice mages he isn't too surprised. But since the past few times when he did accept requests for help from other mages have only lead to danger and brought him close to losing his life, Alex has no doubts when he reclines the mind-mage's offer, despite her best efforts to control his thoughts.

When he is subsequently asked to look into the unexplained and suspicious disappearances of apprentices Alex does accept the invitation. And before he knows it Alex finds that he and Luna are on their way to Fountain Reach after all, where they will have to combine their efforts with two independent and initially very hostile apprentices.

While apprentices continue to disappear, Alex finds himself in an environment where spells don't work as well as they should, facing an unknown opponent who seems to know his every move before he makes it, facing an long time enemy determined to kill him once and for all and not finding any clear clues as to why the young mages are disappearing or who is responsible.

And once it does become clear exactly what is going on, who is behind it and why it seems that Alex may at last have found himself an opponent he won't be able to defeat.

This is the third Alex Verus book and just like "Fated" and "Cursed" this is a face-paced, thrilling, original and at times very funny story. Alex Verus is a wonderful main character. He is very likeable but by no means perfect; he has his quirks, his weaknesses and his pride to balance his inherent goodness and inclination to help those in an even weaker position than he is. As a diviner, Verus can't so much predict the future as determine all the possible futures ahead of him depending on what choices he makes. And because he doesn't really have any other magical powers, this ability to stay one step ahead of those around him comes in very handy.

I love that these stories are set in a London I recognise. This is the real world into which a magical layer has been incorporated in such a way that it is almost possible to believe that it really exists. I also like that while these books are clearly inspired by Jim Butcher's Dresden Files and this particular book has one or two features that reminded me of Hogwarts, the stories are fresh and original and don't own anything to anyone except Benedict Jacka, the author who wrote them. On the other hand, it doesn't surprise me at all that these books come with a recommendation from Jim Butcher. If either Harry Dresden or Alex Verus would cross the Atlantic I could see these two get into all sorts of adventures together.

As this series progresses Alex is picking up some rather interesting side-kicks. There is Luna, who because of her curse has to stay well away from all direct human contact. And in this book Anne, an apprentice life mage and Variam, an apprentice with control over fire are added to his unlooked for collection of strays. I can only hope that these three youngsters will be around in future books because they really add an extra dimension to the story.

Like I said, this is the third book in the Alex Verus series. And while it is perfectly possible to read this book as a stand-alone I would advice anyone to read the two prequels first. Apart from the fact that you'll get more out of this book if you're familiar with the background story, the earlier books are just too much fun to miss out on.

If you're in the mood for an urban fantasy with a healthy dose of magic and lots of heart-stopping moments you could do a lot worse than to pick up this book. I would be surprised if you didn't find yourself getting lost in this almost real, magical world only to surface after the mystery has been solved, danger has been averted and the story has been told.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good read, 6 Dec 2012
By 
berenice (JARROW, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Taken: An Alex Verus Novel (Kindle Edition)
I like this book. The fact that I want to read it all at one go find it difficult to put down said a lot. Plus any book is good where you find yourself looking to see if a sequel has been written.
No criticism of the book but I wish publishers would detail books in a series as book 1,2 etc as while each book is a stand-alone it refers to things that occurred in earlier books

If you like Jim Butcher you will like this and vice versa. Enjoy and more please Mr. Jacka.
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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
By 
Dr. Stephen Culshaw (Newbury, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Taken: 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
5.0 out of 5 stars The old magic is back, 20 Sep 2012
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This review is from: Taken: An Alex Verus Novel (Kindle Edition)
I am pleased to say that after a disappointing second book the old magic is back in this third installment. While the last book felt rushed, this has a more thorough plot, while developing the characters well. The hallmark of a good story is if you feel you've not just read it, but lived it. Mr Jacka has such a talent. I look forward to the next installment.
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Taken: An Alex Verus Novel by Benedict Jacka
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