Book of the Year 2013 (see all)
In reviewing the first three Alex Verus novels by author Benedict Jacka, I have focused primarily on their setting in London. This time around, however, it would simply be unfair to focus on such a secondary aspect of the book, and to ignore the powerful character-driven story that predominated.
I have enjoyed immensely the introduction of new characters throughout this series. First was Luna, and her growth over the series as a character has been fascinating, thrilling, and above all, rewarding. She is more talented than she started out, but similarly we have been given a greater insight into her relationship with Alex, her personality, and the more time we spend with her the more we want.
In Taken we were introduced to two more characters who I immediately hoped would hang around. Variam and Anne are brilliant characters, and while Variam starts out a little one-note, he has grown into his own in ‘Chosen’, turning into a strong supporting act to Alex.
Anne, however, is the crux of this book; emotionally, definitely, but also for Alex, the main character. Without the whole story ever being explained (I am more excited for the next book than I have been for any previously) a tense and emotional relationship has grown between Alex and Anne, which is heading I don’t know where. Anne’s expectations are straining Alex, leaving him confused and drained. This isn’t the confused romantic feelings he had earlier for Luna, but much deeper and intrinsic feelings that are not expressed in any specifically detailed relational structure. They are friends, and I found no evidence of hints to more or less; they are simply very close.
So the closing pages of Chosen leave the reader – and the characters – confused, upset, hurt, and wanting to know more, to understand what is going on, and why. We want to comfort Anne, push Alex to chase her, and when none of it happens and we finish the book without her, it feels as if there is something missing.
In writing this fourth book in his Alex Verus series, Benedict Jacka has written the most powerful and emotionally gripping entry into the series as well. Jacka has visibly grown as an author over this series, and I am thrumming with anticipation for what comes next.
Review by Joshua S Hill
“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” – J. R. R. Tolkien, The [...]
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