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…
©2012 Benedict Jacka (P)2013 Tantor
"Harry Dresden would like Alex Verus tremendously - and be a little nervous around him. I just added Benedict Jacka to my must-listen to list." (Jim Butcher)
With all of the comparisons to Jim Butcher and Kevin Hearne I thought I'd give it a try. In the first few minutes of the book, it's hard not to compare Alex Verus to Dresden and to Atticus O'Sullivan. Jacka even writes in a cheeky reference to Harry Dresden. Verus owns and operates a magic shop, ran away from his evil mentor at a young age, is shunned by most other magical practitioners and by the end of the book has a young, female apprentice. He's also friends with an air elemental- think Toot Toot or Oberon. He's a mage who is hard but with a soft-ish heart. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, both Jim Butcher and Kevin Hearne should be very flattered. I wanted to hate it after the first few minutes and pick on it for being a rip off, the narrator even sort of sounds like James Marsters as Spike, but the story is well written and it drew me in. If you are even remotely a fan of the Dresden Files or the Iron Druid, you should give this book a chance. I'm glad I did.
Book is about a ‘mage’ Alex who runs a store for magical item. Alex has magic to foresee possible variation of future at any given moment allowing him to make very clever choices giving him ability to complete tasks which are nearly impossible for normal humans/mages. Alex reside in London and there are two general factions of mages discussed in book while and dark mages. Alex does not seem to have any allegiances, but has certain history which makes the story interesting.
At the start of this book it reminds reader of ‘Iron Druid’. Therefore, comparison to iron druid books are inevitable throughout the book. There are few distinct differences worth mentioning. Alex is not immortal (not ancient with a lot of history) and does not has incredible amount of offensive weapons. Alex is not unique in general that there are various type of mages including other mages with same capability as Alex. Furthermore, there are no deities or talking pets involved in the book either.
Story revolves around investigation of an ancient relic of presumably immense power. All mage factions are interested and want to secure Alex’s services to unlock the relic’s secrets. Story moved at a slower pace for first half of the book, but picks up speed in later half of the book (especially the last several chapters) making up for the slow start. Investigation of relic becomes very interesting and contains several twists.
My minor gripe about the book is lack of sense of humor (at least it is not at the same level as Iron Druid). Second, Alex’s utilization of power sometimes is slightly confusing, but overall it is clean.
Overall, I enjoyed the book, and I will be reading the next book in series. Narration of the very well done and captures the characters well. I recommend this book even to Iron Druid fans.
I bought this because one reviewer stated that if a listener likes this list of (novels I love) from Mercy Thompson to the Iron Druid to the great Harry Dresden, that this book is like those books. Hmmm, not really. It is good. Some of the plot points here parallel some of the plot points in those books. But there is a cheerful acknowledgment of the bad guys, and a sense of "bring it" I can handle you in this group of books, that is not in Fated. Fated has a sort of world weary acknowledgment that the bad guys, dark mages, etc. are out there, and ok, I have to clean up this mess one more time, that creates a different atmosphere here, less energetic than the books above, but still good. This just does not have the same atmosphere as the books to which it has been compared. The humor is there, just much lower key, and a bit gray.
It's hard to say why, but Fated felt long and never gripped me. Alex Verus doesn't have much personality and I really don't care about him. In a book full of characters, Verus seems to have no friends and no life and no feelings about what's happening. His divination gift is thought of as weak relative to other types of mages, but together with some tools and associates he ends up seeming overpowered, especially with the rules bounding his divination very fuzzily drawn. He sees multiple futures in some probabilistic spectrum, but he can't see past pure chance events or decisions other people haven't made yet. That description is hard to make sense of as he constantly looks at how antagonists will react to different revelations or conversational gambits.
At one point certain characters are in a trap that's supposed to be very unpleasant and, I think, deadly. We don't care about these characters, anyway. It's not clear how they got in there, and why one person escaped already, and why nobody is dead yet. It's the least threatening trap ever, especially once you hear how they get out. It takes a while, far too long for the minor amount of plot set up and character revealed here.
A different narrator may have been able to elevate or change the tone of the middling material. Jackson reads Alex in a clipped, didactic, flat voice, not adding much dimension even when there's humor. The youngish, nonconformist protagonist comes off as some serious bureacratic council wizard. Voices of different characters may blend together and start sounding the same even when they started off distinct; you can hear this in the dialog in the sample.
Fated might be more interesting written from Luna's point of view. It's really her story. The problem lands in her lap in the first place, and she holds a big chunk of the solution. She experiences multiple challenges, including a noncommital mentor who keeps calling her "good girl" and may also see her as a romantic interest. Luna has the more interesting revelation at the end of the book, and greater growth.
More like Harry Potter than Iron Druid. Doesn't have the same humor nor does the main character have the same attitude toward women (Iron Druid passes the Bachdel test, this doesn't). The story is slow and begs suspension of belief. Has some good plot points that could have been expanded on to make it more enjoyable. Pass on this one till the price drops. Try the Matthew Corbett series instead.
I like scifi and urban fantasy. I don't like romance novels. If you are the same my reviews should help.
This is an excellent series. I have read all the books and was glad to see it finally come out in audio format. The world is well definied and has a very deep, well organizes system of magic. In fact, the author's website has an encyclopedia online discussing all the different types of magic in this world and how it works.
The characters are easy to like and get behind. The main character is powerful, just not in a straight up fight, so there is no sense of him being over-powered. Everyone else can throw fireballs and the like, but he can see future probabilites. While that is really powerfull it makes certain the main charachter has to really use his wits to get the job done.
The narration was fine and compliments the book. As the title says, if you like Dresden Files or Iron Druid you will enjoy this series. It is more on the serious side than the other two series with less pop culture references.
Post apocalyptic listener with some thrillers mixed in. Follow me on twitter at @drewsant
“Fated” does a good job of giving the reader a glimpse into this magical world, it has interesting characters and even has a bit of action mixed in, so I’m not sure why I feel as if it’s middle of the road. Maybe because it does all of these things well but no one item in particular stood out to me. Either way it’s an interesting story which didn’t knock my socks off but was by no stretch of the imagination bad. If book two is on sale I’d pick it up, I’d probably even read it at full price once I clear out my list of books “to read” I’m just not chomping at the bit do so.
Mr. Jackson does a good job with the narration.
This book did indeed remind me of the early Dresden Files book, at least on the surface. Alex Verus and Harry Dresden are similar in that they are modern-day magic-wielders, refusing to align themselves with the powerful "white" council of magic users or the more dangerous "black" magic users. Both were raised as apprentices of a dark magic user and have power that could lend itself toward darker uses. Both seem to be failures at maintaining romantic relationships and think that all women need to be protected in a annoyingly non-feminist way.
My main disappointment with Verus is that he doesn't have the likeability or humor of Dresden, and while he has a few friends, there is little to endear him to the reader (Dresden has funny sidekicks, pets, a few friends that are very obviously forces for good in the world whose opinions make him more worthy). Maybe this will get better as the series progresses, but I have to admit that I sort of want to see Verus choose a dark mage path.
Living working and getting through life. Just a down-to-earth guy looking for a good listen on audible books. Suggestions are welcomed.
The storyline and the narration.
The obvious choice would be the Harry Dresden novels by Jim Butcher. But I also think Midnight Riot and following books in that series make for a good comparison.
First time that I can remember hearing him read a novel, but his performance and this one was excellent in my opinion.
No extreme reactions. It was just a nice novel to listen to and it kept my attention. The story was great, fast paced and made me want to join in future adventures.
this is the first time I've ever posted a review for a book that I purchased on audible. But I enjoyed it the Alex Verris novels so much that I just had to recommend them to other readers who might be fans of Harry Dresden or books like it.
Wonderful first book of a new series. Reminiscent of Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden, but with a uniquely British twist. Wonderful narration (although the actor sounds a little too old for the main character). Highly recommended.
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