Benedict Jacka biography and books reviewed

One overcast day in November I sat down at a study cubicle in my school library. I was 18 years old and in my final year at City of London School, and the library was on the third floor, looking out over the River Thames. I was supposed to be working but instead I stared out of the window across the water, and when I finally picked up my pen what I began to write in the back of my exercise book wasn’t schoolwork but the notes for a story.

To this day I can’t tell you why I started that story that afternoon. I’d written stories before, but no more than any other bookish kid – usually they were done for a school assignment or quickly abandoned. But for some reason this one stayed in my head and sometime over that winter I opened up a Word file on my computer and started writing. I didn’t really have a plan, I just wanted to see what would happen.

I kept writing, and then kept writing some more. Winter turned into spring, spring turned into summer, and by the time I finished at the end of that year what I had wasn’t a story but a 100,000 word novel. Somewhere along the line I’d had it suggested that it might be publishable, so I sent it to some agencies to see if they were interested. They weren’t, but by the time that had been established I’d finished a second novel and was ready to send that out instead.

I kept writing through my time at Cambridge University, leaving three years later with a BA in Philosophy and a very good agent, Sophie Hicks from Ed Victor Ltd. My first three novels had been children’s fantasy, but the one that finally got published was children’s non-fantasy, a book called To Be A Ninja (later reprinted as Ninja: The Beginning).

It took me a little under 7 years to go from that day in the library to being published for the first time, and it’s been just short of another 7 years from that first publication to today.

This biography is an extract from the official Benedict Jacka website:

August 27th 2014 interview with Benedict Jacka

“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, [...]

Read interview

Benedict Jacka reviews

Fated by Benedict Jacka

Comparisons to Jim Butcher’s Dresden files are inevitable, and though Fated is very clearly in the same vein, it’s a book with some great ideas of its own that deserves to be read as such. An exciting, involving and enjoyable read, Fated presents a great new voice in fantasy fiction.

Read our review

Fallen by Benedict Jacka

Fallen is a high-water mark for Benedict Jacka’s ‘Alex Verus’ series and a challenging benchmark for other urban fantasy writers. Compelling, un-put-down-able, emotional, and with gripping prose that at times takes you right into the bloody room, Fallen serves as a significant signpost towards this series’ end game. If you’re a fan of urban fantasy, then I wouldn’t necessarily suggest you jump into book ten (of what is expected to be a twelve-book series), but by gosh it’s been a fun ride to get here, and it only keeps getting better.

Read our review

Forged by Benedict Jacka

When you finish a book and wonder how the hell the next one will top it, then you know it’s a phenomenal read. That what follows is the finale in this 12 book series only makes the stakes even higher. But after this, I know that whatever Benedict Jacka does for the finale, it’ll be better than I could have imagined. And I cannot wait.

Read our review

Cursed by Benedict Jacka

In 'Cursed' we are starting to build into the back story and get some legs behind the world of Alex Verus, it’s still verging on a Dresden story but we are staring to see some breakout individuality. The more I read, the more I enjoy and the more I want to read.

Read our review

Taken by Benedict Jacka

I good little weekend read that is starting to gather some steam. Fast paced suspenseful fantasy thriller. Recommended.

Read our review

Chosen by Benedict Jacka

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.

Read our review

Hidden by Benedict Jacka

Alex Verus is a diviner who can see probable futures - a talent that's gotten him and his friends out of many a tough scrape. But what happens when someone doesn't want Alex's help? Alex's friend, the life mage Anne, distanced herself from him when she found out about his past as a Dark apprentice. Now she's in serious trouble, but wants nothing to do with him. Alex has to start wondering if Anne's problem is really with him - or if there's a secret she's trying to hide. On top of that, rumours are swirling around London that Alex's former master may be back in town. Alex has no idea what his agenda may be, or who it involves...

"More than simply recommending Hidden, by Benedict Jacka, to you, I want to use Hidden as a reason that you should be reading the entire Alex Verus series! Beautifully written, with characters wrought wholly in three dimensions that tug at your heartstrings and make you angry, this series is the current high point for urban fantasy – no questions asked."

Read our review

Veiled by Benedict Jacka

Alex Verus is a mage who can see the future, but even he didn't see this day coming. He's agreed to join the Keepers, the magical police force, to protect his friends from his old master, the Dark Mage Richard Drakh. Going legit was always going to be difficult for an outcast like Alex, and there are some Keepers who aren't keen to see an ex-Dark mage succeed. Especially when Dark mages are making a play for a seat on the council, for the first time in history. Alex finally has the law on his side - but trapped between Light and Dark politics, investigating a seedy underworld with ties to the highest of powers, will a badge be enough to save him?

"In the end, I ploughed through this book, oblivious to all external stimuli. There is nothing better in urban fantasy at the moment than Alex Verus, and no one better at writing it than Benedict Jacka."

Read our review

Burned by Benedict Jacka

Alex Verus has a magic shop in Camden, London, and an uncanny ability to see the future. But suddenly everyone can see Alex's future. Because the Mage's Council of Great Britain just named him a traitor and ordered his death in seven days' time, and there's no way anyone can get out of that. Alex's friends - Luna and the other apprentices he's taken in - are tainted by association. They'll be marked for death too when the ruling comes into play, and Alex becomes locked in a race against time to save them. But with only seven days to work with, will he have time left over save his own skin?

"Benedict Jacka books, no matter how far into the series we progress, remain must-reads for anyone reading this review. Benedict Jacka writes books that I can’t put down, turn aside, or sleep on. They must be read immediately, and I am left an emotional wreck once they finish, knowing that I have to wait months until I can return to the company of some of my favourite characters."

Read our review

Bound by Benedict Jacka

Alex Verus can see the future. But he never thought he'd see this day. Manoeuvred by forces beyond his control, the probability mage has made a terrible choice: he's agreed to work for his old master once more. Richard Drakh, the sadistic dark mage Alex escaped as an apprentice, has him in his clutches again. And this time, he won't let go so easily.

"In the end I wouldn’t recommend a newcomer start with this book – though, given that it’s book eight, that is unsurprising; to recommend an eighth book in a series to a newcomer, the book would have to be mind-blowing. For those already invested in the series, you’re obviously going to want to read this book, but I’m warning you that it might not be the best in the series."

Read our review

Marked by Benedict Jacka

Read our review