I was recommended this as a fan of Ben Aaronovitch's Rivers of London books and Jim Butcher's Dresden Files and I was in such hope of a new series. S..Show More »uch a disappointment. The plot is thin, the characters are two dimensional, the writing is really bad and the dialogue is just dire. To compare it to Aaronovitch is to insult Ben. It feels like a teenage girl writing in her bedroom and is on a level with Twilight and 50 Shades (badly written drivel by the barely literate). I got to the end somehow (it had to get better, surely?) but there were a lot of derisive snorts and phone thrown down in exasperation. If I could have slapped the drippy female character I would have done. The narrator did his best but he was too old really which didn't help. There are plenty of good reviews so it's obviously popular stuff but I wish I'd read a few of the bad ones and saved myself some time. I've given it back, which is the ultimate bad review after all.
Eh, maybe. The series is unchallenging, perfectly decent to do something else to - doesn't require much focus. I don't mind Jackson as a narrator, but..Show More » I don't know that he's the right narrator for this book - don't know that he fits the class/education/age of the main character.
I read the first two Benedict Jacka's Alex Verus novels thinking the first one was pretty good and the second one was OK. I was hoping this was going..Show More » to be a return to form but sadly it is much worse than the last one.
First thing to say is that the performance by Gildart Jackson is very good with the different characters clearly identifiable and the reading is clear and understandable so this review is no reflection on his abilities as a reader. The problem lies with the material he has to work with; this book is utter tripe.
The premise of it is perfectly good (magical apprentices are going missing, Verus has to investigate). What grates are that any new characters he introduces to the series are totally shallow and utterly undeveloped. Now this is nothing new in Jacka's books but usually there was some mitigation in that the main characters were interesting and developing as people. That development has all but stopped in this book except in one area and it is this area that proved the book's undoing for me.
The only thing that has developed is Verus's magical powers. This might not be a problem except many of the situations that he finds himself in this time are very simillar to the previous books; so why didn't he use them THEN? Because Jacka is making this drivel up as he goes along and has ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA what he has written before. This lack internal integirity completely ruins the plot because every 10 minutes Verus does the equivalent of "and with a single bound he was free".
Once the willing suspension of disbelief has been shattered by this codswallop I then noticed all the other deficiencies in the book and they really started to annoy. As did the constant use of "gotten" instead of "got" and other US English words and phrases. Normally this would not be a problem for me, except he is trying to play Verus a being very English so it reads like a bad American author's version of English. If Jacka was a bad American author, again this wouldn't be an issue but he isn't, he is a British born, Cambridge educated bad English author.
If you are looking for something like the "Rivers of London" books try elsewhere. This author has none of Aaronovitch's pace and style and Jacka plays it all with the po-face of a depressed undertaker. There are none of the funny asides or little cultural references you get in the Peter Grant books. Avoid this hogwash like the plague.
I've done a couple of reviews for books in this series recently and have said nearly everything there is to say without giving away spoilers. The plot..Show More » was great, the narration keeps improving and I was pulled in from start to finish. Despite the fact that the main hero is male, there are several really strong and varied females in the cast, which makes this an equally good listen regardless if you are male or female. This review is really just to confirm that it keeps getting better and there isn't a weak or filler book in it so far. I ended up listening to the books back to back, despite the fact that I've other purchases I should be listening to first. The next book is due in August and I will definitely be pre-ordering this if it come to Audible UK.
You do need to listen in order as while each book has it's own story there are new characters introduced and an overarching plot. Since Audible now has the lot but hasn't series linked them yet, this is: Fated, Cursed, Taken, Chosen and Hidden.
This is an author who involves himself deeply in his characters. That means that the story flows well and, okay, has some unexpected twists. All in ..Show More »all, this is a story of survival and friendship. I adore the characters, their interaction and the way the story develops. In fact, I was hooked from the first book.