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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 14 January 2014
One of the things that makes this series stand head and shoulders above most books in this genre is the characters. Verus has great strength of character, a conscience and a fair dose of kindness. He doesn't stride around bolstered by convictions or self-righteousness. Instead he acts with restraint, exhausting every possible avenue before resorting to violence. He is brave, but the self-questioning almost hides that. In fact, superficially he spends a great deal of the book running around hiding, not knowing what to do, dodging fights and letting other people lead the charge. But what is usually happening is that he's leading the danger away from his friends, playing for time, setting up very subtle variants and coming out of the situation still alive. By the skin of his teeth.

I love the way Jacka has created a very squishy character, in a world of heavyweights, but balances everything perfectly.

The secondary characters are also interestingly complex, and for the first time, women are positive, helpful 3D characters interacting in layered ways. Verus' friends don't stand by him unquestioningly. Each person reacts according to their character, life history and motivations.

I think it is a complement (to both authors) to compare this series with Butcher's Dresden Files. However, there is a huge difference between the two - Butcher has been steadily, systematically, upping the ante. Every novel sees Dresden gaining power in some way., becoming bigger, badder, stronger. Jacka takes a very different route. Verus' powers have not appreciably grown (so far). Instead, his tactics, support network and friends have broadened (although he still feels isolated, mainly because of how he feels about himself). He has a few gadgets, and more may follow, but it is never a matter of firepower, even when surrounded by mages far above his fighting weight.

I'm beginning to wonder if I should read this series again, from the beginning, just to savour its development.
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The author moves this character and his series of books on to a whole new level with this instalment. Where the previous books were entertaining they were also quite light in tone despite dealing with some quite difficult issues to do with power and its use/abuse. This novel is much darker in tone and richer in texture. I strongly advise anyone new to the series to read the previous volumes before tackling this one as you will then get the full benefit of what the author has done here.

Alex has filled his flat with the apprentices he rescued in the previous story and is occupied with them and Luna. He comes under attack and has to work out how to deal with those who want to hurt him and also how to handle people from the past who wish to avenge themselves on him for the activities of his first master and his apprentices.

There are no easy answers here. Alex doesn't have particularly strong magic and although his ability to see alternative futures is useful it can't save him in a battle of magic. He has changed since his youth and deeply regrets what happened but he was never made to pay for what he was involved in. This is a book about the boundary of black and white, light and dark, good and evil. Can people change ? Should people pay for the actions of their youth ? Where do you draw the line when defending yourself ? You may be surprised at the choices that Alex makes and what that reveals about him as a man.

Some excellent writing here which makes clear the difficulty of moral choices and the limitations of individual power. A great read - I look forward to seeing how the author develops Alex's character further.
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on 29 October 2013
Love this book - I do suspect that they are one and the same guy though - very similer worlds/rules and so on. Love it though. Its interesting and funny (very much like Dresden Files in that vein) and keeps you interested in how things will turn out till the book ends :) I will deffinately be keeping an eye out for any other works by this author, he has an engaging style that never gets repetitive or monotomous.
Read it you will love it. Its set in modern day has as far as I remember no sex in it and is an investigative, magic book. So far the series has remained well writen, great main and supporting characters, with no copping out to the S&M thing that seems to be in every single book at the mo.
If you do enjoy the Dresden files you will enjoy this!
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on 24 April 2017
I love this book. I have read this series since I was in my freshman year, now I am a master's student. The book came VERY early and the condition is perfect.
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on 6 May 2017
I've read all the series so far and as always thoroughly enjoyed this book. Would recommend it to other readers.
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on 9 April 2014
This series just keeps getting better and better !! It is really exciting,clever and brilliantly written. What more can be said !!!!
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on 3 October 2014
Made me look for other stories by this author - worthwhile reading
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on 4 May 2017
The fourth book in the Alex Verus series feels like a turning point from the first three books, which established the characters and their world, and what I suspect might become the major arc of the following novels.

As a magical thriller, it's really good, focusing on the chase and the battle between Alex and someone he has wronged in the past. It contains a lot of introspection and a lot of action, and shows a lot of thought that's gone into the backstory of the character, fleshing the world out in new ways and overall feeling like a more cohesive whole.

It takes a lot of what's happened before and brings it to a crescendo. In a way it reminds me of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, which was the fourth book in its series and built up to a dramatic conclusion that changed the direction of the stories dramatically.

I seem to say this a lot as I read series of novels, but I really do think this was the best yet and am looking forward to continuing.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 20 December 2015
Alex Verus our urban wizard is sharing his house with 3 adepts. Having kept himself to himself fairly much over recent years he is surprised to discover that he does quite enjoy having other people around. Things never stay quiet around Verus for long and this is no exception. A group of youngsters burst onto the scene seeking revenge for the past. Verus hasn't always been quiet urban wizard and despite trying to do the right thing he hasn't always been successful and now the past has returned.

This is a series which has gone from strength to strength as it has progressed. We have seen the development of Alex Verus' character as he is now. This book gives us insight into Verus' past which has only really been hinted at with the odd snippets of information. This book goes a long way towards explaining some of Alex Verus character. Luna, Varim and Anne are back struggling to come to terms with the new information about Verus. They are faced with the very real dilemma of accepting who Verus is now or judging him on past events.

This is a darker book that the previous ones in the series. Having said that there are still lighter moments and it isn't all serious. The action starts early on & the book just continues to flow. It is well written, easy to read and hard to put down.
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on 13 October 2013
This is the fourth book in the Alex Verus series, and while it can be read on its own, I'd advise anyone to read the three previous titles - "Fated", "Cursed" and "Taken" - first.

Recently life has been easy and peaceful for Alex Verus. It may be a bit crammed sharing his house with three young adepts but our Mage finds he quite enjoys having Variam, Anna and Luna treating his apartment as their home. Alex is starting to feel that maybe he has atoned for the sins of his past; maybe now he can leave the darkness he's been trying to get away from behind him and start a new, brighter future.

Of course things are never that easy. And just when it seems that the past is well and truly behind him it returns to hunt him down for the one thing he has never been able to forgive himself for.

And those hunting Alex won't give up until they have their revenge, and he is dead. They refuse to listen to him and are determined to achieve their goal, even if it means going through those who would stand with Alex.

Alex has to confront his past and make some very difficult choices. If he manages to win this battle he might lose the few people he has grown close to. If he doesn't win, he won't be around to tell the tale or assist his friends. Caught between a rock and a hard place, there are no easy options for our diviner.

This is by far the darkest Alex Verus novel so far. While the story is still written with a light hand and there still are moments of light relief and humour, be it of the dark variety at times, this is the book in which the reader learns the truth about Alex's time with the dark mage Richard and about what happened to make him run away from his master to face a life of solitude and uncertainty. And it is not a pretty picture.

In fact, that is one of the things that make this book such a very good read. There are no easy answers here. There is no clear distinction between good and bad, dark and light. There is no doubt that what happened in the past was very, very wrong. And it is quite easy to understand why those who are hunting Alex want their revenge. And yet, while his pursuers are unaware of this, the reader knows that Alex no longer is the person he was ten years ago and can't help rooting for him.

While this is a work of fantasy it poses some interesting questions; is it possible for a person to redeem themselves? Are we allowed to go to any length in order to protect ourselves? What exactly makes a person either good or bad, and is it even possible to make such a clear distinction? Like I said, interesting questions and something I could ponder about for hours.

I like where Benedict Jacka is going with these books. With every subsequent title Alex becomes a more rounded character. And Jacka doesn't take the easy way out; he doesn't try to make his main character look sympathetic regardless of what he has to do, isn't afraid to show Alex warts and all and leave it up to the reader to make up their minds about him. Others may disagree but I only find myself getting more interested in this character and everything he comes up against with every subsequent book.

And talking about subsequent books; the final chapter in Chosen seems to indicate that the best, and in all likelihood, darkest part of this tale is still to come. Bring it on! I can't wait to see what will happen next.
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