Cursed by Benedict Jacka
Official Summary: “Benedict Jacka’s acclaimed Alex Verus series continues with Cursed.
Since his second sight made him infamous for defeating powerful dark mages, Alex has been keeping his head down. But now he’s discovered the resurgence of a forbidden ritual. Someone is harvesting the life-force of magical creatures—destroying them in the process. And draining humans is next on the agenda. Hired to investigate, Alex realizes that not everyone on the Council wants him delving any deeper. Struggling to distinguish ally from enemy, he finds himself the target of those who would risk their own sanity for power…”
Benedict Jacka continues his Alex Verus series with Cursed. This book picks up a short time after Fated, the first book in the series, with Alex enjoying some bit of fame within the Mage community. While this has helped his business, he remains uncomfortable with and skeptical of his new position in the hierarchy. But, despite this discomfort, his new notoriety plays a role in him being drawn into new projects for both the Council and others. At the same time, his shop is attracting both mages and amateurs alike, including one who becomes a love interest for Luna, which leads to its own set of problems.
I liked this book even more than the first in the series. Jacka does a good job of continuing the story in a way that incorporates elements of the first book with enough description to introduce the basic plot elements to new readers. Since the major world-building work was completed in the first book, Cursed doesn’t need to repeat these elements and therefore ends up being a much more unique and original book. I also appreciated the way that Jacka incorporated and further developed minor side characters that were introduced in Fated. These characters have enlarged Alex’s world and will definitely provide more opportunities for the series to expand in the future. By the end of the book, Alex has resolved the main mysteries he encountered with just enough loose ends remaining to leave the reader looking forward for the next book.
Fans of urban fantasy will definitely want to get started with the Alex Verus series. Given that this book is even more entertaining than the first in the series, I can’t wait to see what will come next.
Readalike: If this sounds interesting, you might want to start with the first book in the series, Fated. Those looking for a similar series should try the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher (start with Storm Front) or the Remy Chandler series by Thomas E. Sniegoski (start with A Kiss Before The Apocalypse).