Book Review: Benedict Jacka’s Chosen

Posted December 21, 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 Chosen



Benedict Jacka

urban fantasy that was published by Ace Books on August 27, 2013 and has 294 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

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

Fourth in the Alex Verus urban fantasy series set in a contemporary London and revolving around a mage who wants nothing to do with the Black or the Light.

It’s been eight months since Taken, 3.

My Take

Hmmm, we find out how Alex feels about poker, LOL. And it’s a good learning opportunity for Luna when Alex takes her to the casino. Unfortunately, Alex learns a lot more than he could ever have imagined.

Interesting psychological assessment by Shirland about Anne. Scary, too.

If Will and his group are so gung-ho about protecting the world, so to speak, what are they doing attacking Alex in a casino?

It’s a fascinating way to provide the back history on Alex, Rachel, Shireen, and Tobruk, and it definitely explains a heckuva lot. Jesus. A Kids Gone Wild, only with black magic.

Oh, man, Alex just can’t resist the one-liners. That teasing he does on the exploded rooftop when Ja-Ja meets Anne…crack me up.

All that foreshadowing, and it still caught me by surprise. That’s not the only surprise. I can’t believe Caldera has been a Keeper for any length of time and doesn’t understand how diviner magic works! If she’s a combat sort of mage, wouldn’t she have more of a clue? I can’t believe Caldera can keep a straight face either when she claims that the law applies to mages AND adepts. Yeahhh, suuuure…

Alex does make an excellent point and one that applies to every one of us: don’t judge people, their actions, their desires, by your own standards.

The whole brou-ha-ha points up what’s wrong with the Light Council and their laws. And I’m feeling rather hypocritical that I’m completely leaving the Dark mages out of this part of the discussion. Except, realistically (as real as it gets in fiction *grin*), the Dark have never pretended to care. Only the Light have. Pretended, that is.

For such a smart girl, Rachel is amazingly stupid not to realize how being a Dark mage worked. That bit with the Harvesting Crystal? Whoa. Now I’m curious about the past stories. Did I miss something about a mage who’s used one??

This is one action-packed story, and I could not see a way out. Other than to keep turning pages and reading as fast as I could, LOL. Only, there really wasn’t anything to laugh about. Alex was wrong. Will had reason to want him dead, but he went about it in all the wrong ways. I’d have felt more for his need for vengeance if he’d taken more care of innocents. I’m not feeling all that sympathetic for Alex either even though I think he has paid, and is paying, quite a lot for his past. At least he’s doing what he can to make up for it. And that speech at the end, when Alex is ranting at Will…he sounds as childish as Will. Nor does Lee realize that he sounds just like Alex.

The Story

Alex’s past deeds come back to haunt him and some powerful people want him dead. To ensure a truly miserable trip down memory lane, a Keeper for the Council wants his help in finding out what happened to his former Dark master.

Not a journey he wants to make in either case, but Alex figures he owes Will. And who better to tell him what happened than a former fellow apprentice. Only, she’d rather show him, as he’ll understand so much more.

And…we do understand, we understand so much, and I can’t decide if I need a bucket or a box of tissues or both…

The Characters

Alex Verus is a rogue diviner who runs a magic shop, the Arcana Emporium. He wants to be ignored by the Dark and the Light. Arachne is a spider the size of a rhino who creates the most beautiful (and practical) garments. She lives underground at Hampstead Heath.

His friends include Luna Mancuso, who’s been cursed and is learning to control the curse, is taking dueling classes and is Alex’s apprentice; Variam Singh, a fire mage; Anne Walker is a life mage; and, David Sonder is a time mage who can speed time up, slow it down, look into the past, or kick something out of the timeline.

Keeper Caldera is part of the enforcement arm of the Light Council.

Richard Drakh was Alex’s master in the past. A Dark mage who disappeared ten years ago. His Chosen is Deleo, a former apprentice, once known as Rachel, a water mage, who’s gone whacko. Two other apprentices, Tobruk and Shireen, were both fire mages. Cinder is a fire mage partnered up with Deleo; he figures he owes Alex from Fated, 1.

Matt Stewart was Cath’s boyfriend, simply trying to protect her. Catherine Traviss had an affinity for time and space. The Nightstalkers are an Adept vigilante group taking down Dark mages: Will Traviss is the younger brother left behind, an adept who can accelerate time; Bev, Gold-hair, is a fire adept; Lee is the tracker; Dhruv Chaudhury, a magnetism adept, is second-in-command and is said to be the brains; Kyle Summers, Captain America, is a space magic user with some military background; and, Jaime Cordeiro, a.k.a., Ja-Ja, is a life-drinker wanted for murder in Brazil.

Dr. Ruth Shirland is an independent mind mage hired to help Anne and Vari find a new master; in normal life, she works as a psychologist.

The Keepers are a mixture of soldiers, police, and internal investigators. It doesn’t matter which side the Mages fall on, they’re all arrogant and take what they want. Adepts are below the mages power-wise and can only use one type of magic. Elsewhere is not a place, but a world to which you can only travel in dreams. Where you can touch people through dreams, through their minds. Nocturnes, Darkness elementals, hunt by sound and are near impossible to beat.

The Cover and Title

The cover is a bright yellow background with tone-on-tone gridlike ribbons of energy swirling through the sky over a nighttime-lit Thames River. The black border at the top with the ragged-edge bottom showcases the title in yellow.

The title could go two ways, for in either case, she is the Chosen.