‘Fated’ is the first in the series of books about Alex Verus, a mage whose power is the ability to see the future consequences of any action that he might take.
The book is a brilliant introduction to the character and the magical world that Jacka has created. The genre of the book is urban fantasy, and much of the fast-paced plot takes place in London taking in famous landmarks such as the British Museum and Canary Wharf, as well as Camden Town where Alex’s shop is based. ‘Fated’ is fabulously easy to read and the plot is paced perfectly to make you want to turn the next page and carry on escaping the real world.
Just because the book is easy to read though it doesn’t detract on the complexity of the story being told. At the very centre of the story is an ancient magical relic, with the potential to give whoever can unlock the trap in which it is stored in a great deal of power. Alex Verus, being a rogue, but a useful rogue, gets trapped between all the factions that want to get their hands on it, from both the light and the dark side.
The only person he can completely trust to be reliable is his friend, Luna, who is equally as intriguing as Verus himself as she isn’t a mage, but is cursed by magic. Her curse protects her from harm but diverts the harm to others, which has resulting her her having become very isolated and cautious of getting close to people. She is however fascinated with the hidden magical world, and her character development as she becomes a great deal less naive about it is written very well.
As much as I do love the book though there are a few issues that I do have with the use of the first person. The style of the writing uses the inner voice of Alex Verus and is very casual and conversational, and is used quite a lot to ‘information dump’; the fourth wall is very much not involved at all in the book, as it is very much Alex telling the reader what’s going on, is something that I do find incredibly irritating both as a reader and as a writer.
Somehow though, Jacka does make it work. As much as it does irritate me a great deal, I have read books written in a similar style that annoy me a great deal more. The reason it works is because Alex Verus is a very good character to want to get to know; he’s damaged and flawed; he has doubts about who is stemming from his dark past, but is absolutely loyal to his friends. The likeable protagonist helps to distract me from the flaws in the writing style, and I would highly recommend the book as an introduction to the series.
You might also like my other reviews of Benedict Jacka’s Alex Verus Series.