Book Review: Benedict Jacka’s Taken

Posted May 2, 2013 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Benedict Jacka’s Taken



Benedict Jacka

urban fantasy that was published by Ace Books on August 28, 2012 and has 320 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include Fated, Cursed, Chosen, Hidden, Veiled, Burned, Bound

Third in the Alex Verus urban fantasy revolving around an independent (well, he’s trying not to belong to a faction) mage in Camden Town.

My Take

I find Alex Verus’ world fascinating. And, sad to say, sadly realistic with mages who are more interested in self-advancement, revenge, and power than doing the right thing. Alex, naturally, is one of the few good guys, interested in good and protecting others, and I love how Jacka easily lets us know how very powerful Alex is even as he balances it with Alex’s difficulties.

Whew, there are currents within currents in this story. Jacka tosses in so many questions that you won’t be able to stop reading as you pursue those answers. It’s not that the characters pull you in, but the way in which Jacka can take a basic plot and twist it all up according to the rules of this world he has created. In some ways, the world of Alex Verus reminds me of Kim Donovan’s St. Viper’s School for Super Villains series where our “accepted” beliefs in right and wrong are turned on their heads in these individual worlds.

Hooie, Jagadev’s club is practically bursting at the seams with the variety of people one can meet there. It’s enough to make you want to sleep under the bed — after you’ve checked it for monsters!

‘Bout time…Alex has been telling Luna how dangerous it is to get involved in the mage world, and she’s finally starting to get it.

The Story

The White Stone tournament is coming up, and people just love to show-off. Mages aren’t any different from regular humans in this regard.

When Crystal tenders an offer to Alex to be in charge of tournament security, she’s shocked at his response. Although, it seems he’ll be there with another purpose in mind: the Council has another dirty deed that needs dealing with. One that will have a huge impact on Alex’s and others’ lives, for apprentices are going missing.

The Characters

Alex Verus is a diviner, able to see thousands of possible futures at a time, who just happens to run a magic shop in Camden Town. After events in the last two books, he’s becoming the go-to guy for the Council. After events in Cursed, 2, Luna Mancuso is now formally Alex’s apprentice, mostly so she can learn to control her curse. Since Jacka now refers to Luna as an Adept, I’m guessing she’s moved up in power levels.

Arachne is a ten-foot-tall spider who both weaves and designs beautiful clothes. David Sonder is a time mage who is more than a little interested in Luna. Some of Luna’s fellow apprentices include the very polite Anne Walker, a Life mage; the vicious, tale-telling Natasha; Charles; and, the extremely suspicious Variam Singh, a fire mage. Anne and Variam’s Master is Lord Jagadev, a rakshasa, who owns the Tiger’s Palace, a club.

Talisid, who looks more like an accountant than a mage, is involved with one faction of the Council. Lyle Trahelis is, well, more of a former friend of Alex’s who is more interested in his own promotions, and he’s teaching some of the apprentice classes. I’m curious as to what’s in it for him as his only interest is in “status, advancement, prestige, and a position in the Council bureaucracy”.

Onyx is the enemy, a very deadly battle mage, from Fated, 1, the Chosen of Morden, who is himself one of the most powerful Dark mages. Sagash is a Dark mage who kidnapped Anne; Ebber is a Light mage who claimed he could help rescue her. Vitus Aubuchon was the mage who owned Fountain Reach previously. Hobson was a servant at Fountain Reach before Vitus disappeared.

Crystal is a mind mage, and she’s offered up her country home, Fountain Reach, for the White Stone tournament, an event at which mages and their apprentices do mock battle, sort of an Olympics of magic.

The Council is the ruling body of Light Mages. Remember, “light” is just a term, as Alex puts it, at least the Dark mages are honest. The basic premise between mages — Light or Dark — is if you’re not their tool, you’re their enemy. Avenor and Travis are Council Keepers; think police. Sensitives are a step up from normals. They can “feel the presence of magic”. Next up are the adepts who can “actually channel magic in a subtle way”. Then there are the mages. Arrogant, self-absorbed, if they see something they want, they take it.

The Cover and Title

The cover is an electric pink-purple with an eyeview through bullet-cracked glass of the Thames overlooking the water traffic and London.

The title sums it all up, for the apprentices are Taken.