Alex Verus has tried to leave his past behind but those terrible days as the apprentice of a dark mage still haunt him. He’s not the only one still haunted by that period in time, but for Will Traviss there is nothing but anger towards the people he believes ruined his life and a burning desire for revenge. Now Alex must return to the mansion of his former master and face not only his past but a whole bunch of people who are trying to kill him. He could lose his life and worse, he could lose his friends.
‘Chosen’ is Benedict Jacka’s fourth novel featuring the probability mage Alex Verus and, with each book, the series is growing stronger. The recurring characters now feel like real people and it’s interesting to see how they develop through the books.
This is probably the darkest book in the series yet, dealing with lots of Alex’s past as a dark mage’s apprentice. Things have a slightly menacing feel to them from very near to the start and that overtone lasts through the entire book. It’s also a more thought-provoking read than the earlier books with a fair amount of time spent considering the consequences of actions and whether certain things can be justified. It’s still a pretty easy read – I doubt it took me much more than three hours to finish – but having said that, it was definitely a page-turner that made me want to keep finding out what happened next.
I really enjoyed finding out more about Alex’s past and, in particular, learning more about Rachel or Deleo as she now calls herself. Deleo/Rachel has popped up in a couple of the novels before, completely deranged and thus utterly compelling and it was interesting to see how she ended up like that. She’s still a psychopath, but now at least we have some idea of why she behaves in such a way. I think one of the reasons I like Deleo is her complete unpredictability. When the story revolves around a probability mage (Alex), it’s good to have someone whose actions he can’t predict to keep you guessing as to how things work out.
‘Chosen’ is the best so far in Benedict Jacka’s ‘Alex Verus’ series and the first that really gives a hint of what might come next. I won’t spoil it for you here, but I will say that I can’t wait! If it is as action-packed and compelling as this one I’m sure we’ll be in for a treat.
(pub: Orbit/LittleBrown. 328 page small enlarged paperback. Price: £ 7.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-0-356-50230-4)
check out website: www.orbitbooks.net