FATED: AN ALEX VERUS NOVEL BY BENEDICT JACKA

Every now and then I like to step out of my comfort zone, and leave the horror genre behind for a bit.  Normally when I get this feeling I head to worlds of Urban Fantasy.  One night when this feeling hit me I used the rather fabby “look inside” function on Amazon.  And by the time i had read the first page of this novel I knew I had to read the whole book.  
Fated, falls into the rather well worn genre of mixing magic with London, and throwing in a wise cracking wizardly hero, who is just trying to live a normal peaceful life, away from all the politics and fighting between the two factions of magical users in this book. 
When a ancient magical artefact is discovered that could tip the balance in the ever constant struggle between the force of good and evil.  The Council turns to Alex Verus, Seer extraordinaire.  You see the Council cannot find a way retrieve the artefact without activating the security protocols that protect it.  
There is a lot to like about this novel, the writing is crisp, flowing and and full of witty one liners that keeps the plot rolling along with only the most minor of hiccups. There is a great cast of characters, Alex’s friend Luna, is a refreshingly nice take on the female side kick so often found in this sort of novel.  The villains of the novel could so easily have been cartoonish and clichéd, however Jacka has imbued them with enough menace and personality that they come across as anything but.  
As for Alex Verus, we have a new urban fantasy hero, that may well in time rival Harry Dresden as the poster boy for the genre.  Alex is a complex character, raised by the dark side, Alex has turned his back on this way of life, and now spends a lot of his time trying to just be.  neither on the side of good or evil.  The reader gets some glimpses into some of the dire deeds Alex had to do and endure as his time on Dark Side, hopefully as the series progresses, we will get to learn even more about his past.  
Another highlight of the book is the system of magic in the novel.  The magic users here aren’t the all powerful multi-talented magic users.  You have fire wizards who can only, as the name suggest do fire magic.  So really all Alex can do is see into the future, but as we all know, knowledge is power, and this allows Alex to hold his own against those out to kill him. 
While this was an extremely enjoyable read,  and one that I would recommend you check out, there was a couple of minor niggles.  I would have liked a bit more meat on the bones of the story, while it was enjoyable, and a fun read, it felt as though it could have done with an extra layer to the narrative. My second niggle is Alex’s second name, I really don’t like it, throughout the story I was reading it as versus.  A stupid and minor one yes but it did annoy me.  
If you are looking for a fun read that really does breath new life into a crowded and stale genre, then this book is a perfect place to start. 
8 out of 10 
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