Fated by Benedict Jacka

Fated CoverFrom Goodreads:

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…

Like:

Okay, lets get this out of the way.  I am a huge Harry Dresden fan.  That’s why Featheryrevenge recommended this to me.  This series reminds me so much of the Dresden series.  There is even a reference to Dreden in the beginning.  So if this novel was half as fun as Dresden I was bound to like it.  Thankfully, Fated is more fun than that.  Alex Verus is different enough from Harry that he doesn’t feel like a copy.  He’d rather run that fight and disillusioned with the ability to use magic.

The best part of the book is the pacing.  This book moves fast.  It takes 20 pages for Alex to meet his first bad guy.  And you rarely go another 20 pages without running into another.  And there is a lot of action to go with the fast pace.  The threat of danger hangs over Alex’s head the entire time.

There is also a nice variety of magical powers.  The mages have an affinity for one type of magical power.  For example Alex can see the future, but can’t control any of the elements.  Some mages can control fire, death magic, earth, etc.  It makes the strategies in a magical battle interesting.  Everyone plays up their own strengths, but has to be aware of the powers around them and decide how to combat that specific power.  For Alex this is a little more interesting because his magic does not physically affect anything.  it makes him both more dangerous and more vulnerable at the same time.  It feels like the reader just gets to dip their toes in the number of magical abilities.  Hopefully, the next books will reveal a wider spectrum.

Didn’t Like:

I wanted more world building.  There are a lot of elements that reminded me of other urban fantasy novels.  But without more to go on I couldn’t be sure if these were an homage or just hadn’t developed into their own thing yet.  I also wanted to know exactly how magic works – what are the mechanics behind it?  On a similar note, you get peaks into the politics of the Council of mages and the lives of dark mages, but that taste only left me wanting more.  I never felt like I had a really good handle on how the pieces of the magical world fit together.  It never quite clicked.

The other thing I didn’t like was Luna.  She’s Alex’s female friend/ not-quite-love-interest/ not-quite-apprentice.  She has a promising beginning, but never gets much agency.  This is definitely Alex’s story and Luna frequently gets regulated to a plot device.  I kept wanting her to get fleshed out a little more or do something without being told by Alex.

Overall:

Despite the drawbacks, I liked Fated.  It’s a fun romp through a magical London.  I plan to pickup and enjoy the rest of this series as soon as I finish writing this.

3 out of 4 Throwing Stars

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