Book Review: Cursed by Benedict Jacka
For more information visit Benedict Jacka’s website
Alex Verus is a mage, more specifically a diviner. He is not part of the light mages, or the dark mages, instead he is his own man. One evening an enchantress rushes into his shop asking for his protection from an assassination attempt. As he becomes involved with the enchantress, and sets out on a job for her contact on the Light Mage’s Council he becomes the one targeted. Things escalate as two dark mages from his past mix into the fray. On top of that his apprentice Luna’s friend takes a magical item from his shop that might put Luna in danger.
When Alex meets the enchantress he is introduced to a council member to find some info on two dark mages he knows. They are believed to be messing with a ritual that drains magical critters of their magic, which in turn would kill them. This is something close to Alex. One of his best friends is a magical creature. The pacing in this novel is dead on, and if you like action it has plenty. It is easy to get right through it because it doesn’t slow down. The story is more action than mystery, but Alex does remind me of many P.I.s or detectives. He has a habit of stopping to swim over the facts like many mystery stories might, but it didn’t bog the story down. I did have a couple things figured out before him that he should have known, but it didn’t bother me that he didn’t.
Alex’s world is pretty awesome! It is set in London with an underground of mages. They are wealthy mostly, and have a ton of their own politics. Alex has a bad habit of getting between mages, and dealing with their politics, even though he wants nothing to do with that world. Mage’s also have categories like battle, enchanting, divination, etc… They all seemed pretty unique from one another.
Alex is a great narrator for the story. He is a little bit of an anti-hero, which I find are the most entertaining in first person. He apprenticed with a dark mage, and now does a lot of jobs for the light council. I like a character that doesn’t see himself as good or bad, but everyone equally. I never felt bogged down or bored with the fine details of his magic skills, or descriptions in action. In fact they were all a lot of fun.
The only complaint I had with the novel is that I don’t know where the series is going. It is the second in the series, and unlike most I am not seeing an underlying plot, or goal the main character is working towards. This makes me wonder, if I pick up the next book is it going to be the same as Cursed? If all of the books are just going to be adventures-in-the-life it becomes less interesting. The story was quick fun, and it didn’t feel as if I had missed all that much not reading the first novel. Alex does such a wonderful job describing how his world functions that it is easy to pick it up and read away.
Elizabeth is a constant reader from down south. If she doesn’t have a book open she can often be found behind the computer or with a gaming console. She is an eccentric bookworm who enjoys all types of genres: Science Fiction, Historical Fiction, Romance, and Horror.