Cursed by Benedict Jacka

Posted On 4 September 2012

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Just finished reading Cursed by Benedict Jacka which is the second instalment in the Alex Verus Novels which I started earlier this year with Fated.

Alex is a Divinity Mage living in Camden.  He can look into the future and see any number of possible outcomes to whatever course of action is chosen (the benefit of hindsight before the event has happened is definitely a plus).  I won’t go too much into this world of mages.  Basically the world Jacka has created is living and breathing right alongside us plain old muggles.  He has a few friends, Luna in particular, who has now become his apprentice due to the strange curse that she needs to learn to tame.  Plus he’s friends with a giant arachnid that lives in a sort of Hobbit hill if you will and he has the trust and help of an air elemental called Starbreeze.

In this story Alex will again come up against a powerful mage and will find help where he least expects.  He will also discover a little bit more about one of the strange artefacts he seems to have become the keeper of – a monkey’s paw.  This isn’t actually a monkey’s paw just in case you’re about to gag, this is an imbued magical object.  However a monkey’s paw is never all that it seems.  It chooses it’s potential victims but unfortunately the monkey’s paw brings a whole new meaning to the words ‘be careful what you wish for’.

I’m not going to elaborate on the plot much further.  We’re introduced to a few new mages with different abilities and learn a little bit more about the world that Alex lives in.  In terms of second books I think this develops well from the first and definitely feels and reads better – although, I wouldn’t say there is any real sense of tension.  Maybe that’s one of the problem with this sort of series – you never truly experience a real sense of danger for the main protagonist because that would, after all, be the end of the line.  Unlike George Martin, for example, where you haven’t got a clue who will survive to the end!

I will just say that I particularly enjoyed reading about Alex’s discovery in the dark caves beneath the spider’s domain but, again, I won’t spoil that part.

In terms of criticisms I think my feelings on this are similar to the first novel.  In spite of Alex’s experience he does seem to rush into situations that he could surely see the outcome of?  He sometimes seems to act very immature – particularly where Luna is concerned, and I find it difficult to believe that he lives in a location that everybody seems to know about – including all his enemies.  Considering he has very little by way of defence I would expect him to exercise a little bit more caution.  In fact, given that he seems to be making enemies as though they’re going out of fashion I would say that if he doesn’t start to exercise a bit more caution soon he probably will end up in a sticky situation before too much longer – he’s no longer living a life under everyone’s radar and has come to the attention of too many dangerous people.

I have enjoyed both these books and would definitely pick the third up as well.  Obviously these are being compared to a number of similar books but I think they stand on their own quite well.  They probably don’t have the dark threatening side of the Dresden Files or the humour of the Druid Chronicles but they’re still entertaining.


Cursed by Benedict Jacka


2 Responses to “Cursed by Benedict Jacka”

  1. TBM

    I haven’t heard of the Druid Chronicles. That sounds entertaining. I read the first book in the Dresdan Files and really enjoyed it. But I’m hesitant to get into such a long series. Not sure why since I love to read.

    • lynnsbooks

      Oh, the Druid Chronicles are great – I definitely recommend them. You can tell the author had a really good time when he was writing about Attacus.

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