June 15, 2024

Gabbing Geek

Your online community for all things geeky.

Geek Lit: Hidden (Alex Verus Book 5)

Alex Verus is back for another adventure. This time the diviner mage has to rescue a friend who wants nothing more to do with him.

I’d been reading a lot of stuff lately that just slowed my reading pace down to a crawl.  Books on the Great Depression will do that.

One way to get back into the swing of things is to take a break from all that and go with a fun urban fantasy book.  That led me to Benedict Jacka’s Hidden, the fifth book in the Alex Verus series.

hidden_front mech.indd

When last we left Alex, the London-based mage had lost some of his friends and allies.  Though his apprentice Luna was staying loyal, and the hotheaded Varium understood Alex pretty well, the healing life mage Anne walked out on him, and Alex’s good friend within the Council of Light, Sonder, also wrote him off.  The foursome had basically learned what sort of man Alex was, that Alex’s past was a lot more violent than they had assumed, and that shook the group to the core.

This book opens with Luna asking Alex to check on Anne.  Anne’s living on her own, and it may not be safe.  Of course, Anne wants nothing more to do with Alex, so when Anne disappears, Alex will have to work to find her, even if that means working with Sonder as well.

Jacka’s novels are a fun trip.  His work of Light, Dark, and independent mages is always interesting, particularly since “Light” does not necessarily mean “good”.  Each mage has an area of magic he or she excels in, and for Alex its divination.  That makes for some trippy work as Alex negotiates his way through various perils where being able to see something a split second before it happens can make all the difference.  Along the way here, Alex learns more about his own past as well as Anne’s.  Jacka may be setting up Anne as a love interest down the road, but so far hasn’t gone that far.  Good for him, actually.

The best scene, though, was when Alex had an encounter with a frightening figure from his own past, a man he hasn’t seen in ten years.  What makes it interesting is Alex learns a bit more about what made the man tick, and how his old assumptions were filtered through his own self-perception.  That was an interesting object lesson.

Alex’s adventures are generally fun, though I think a few other supernatural urban wizard types may actually work out better.  This time around, I’m going to say nine out of ten blink foxes.