Fiction Reviews


(2013) Benedict Jacka, Orbit, 7.99, pbk, 328pp, ISBN 978-0-356-502030-4


Alex Verus , a divining mage, has reached a point where he has a circle of friends, two apprentices , Anne and Variam, that he is giving shelter to and another mage called Luna. But in his past, he was an apprentice to a Dark mage. While he left that life twn years ago, the actions that he performed then are about to come back in the shape of a relative out for revenge. Also the truth is being revealed about what Rachel, another of the Dark mage apprentices did and sacrificed to gain power. Alex, not only has to try to stay alive but answer the question of how far he will go to survive being hunted be those who want to kill him.

Seeing that this was the fourth book in a series that I had not read, I was initially cautious. Well, as it turns out I was pleasantly surprised. This was a book that is very easy to pick up. The system of magic used and the world building is explained and easy to grasp. You never get the impression or feel that the author is info-dumping. Jacka has realised that once the reader gets the basics, they can pick up enough for the narrative to keep moving.

The action scenes are well-done, using idea of different types of magic being played off each other. However, the narrative does not make the mistake of just continually going at such a fast pace that the reader is wanting breathing room. There are scenes and flashbacks without action, advance the story and broaden the characters.

Also the flashbacks, examine the theme of the novel. How far will people go to get power or out of fear and how can they live with themselves afterwards? And how much of your past can hide from other people. Yes, the novel has terms like Light and Dark mages, but it goes on show that in this world, a lot of the time, they can just be that terms. People perform actions because for them, it becomes the only choice or reason, at the time.

While reading this book was a great source of entertainment, it does have spoilers for the three in the series. This book was easy to get into and is recommended, but some people may want to start with the first in this series Fated and read in order to get the full impact.

David Allkins

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