Imatge de l'autor

Benedict Jacka

Autor/a de Fated

19 obres 5,517 Membres 221 Ressenyes 11 preferits

Sobre l'autor

Benedict Jacka is a British author who was born in England in 1980. He earned his bachelors degree in philosophy at Cambridge University. He started writing soon after graduation and authored three children's fantasy novels which were not published. His first published work was a children's mostra'n més non-fantasy novel called "To be a Ninja" later changed to "Ninja: The Beginnng". In 2000 he developed a fantasy setting for which he wrote four books, whose main characters were teenage elementals. These book also went unpublished. In 2009, he decided to try again with an adult character with a more information-based ability. Three years later, in 2012, he published the first book of the Alex Verus Series, with two more to follow that year. In December 2013, an audio version of Fated was released in the US, the next three books followed. (Bowker Author Biography) mostra'n menys


Obres de Benedict Jacka

Fated (2012) 1,322 exemplars
Cursed (2012) 712 exemplars
Taken (2012) 621 exemplars
Chosen (2013) 515 exemplars
Hidden (2014) 439 exemplars
Veiled (2015) 383 exemplars
Burned (2016) 355 exemplars
Bound (2017) 294 exemplars
Marked (2018) 261 exemplars
Fallen (2019) 201 exemplars
Forged (2020) 157 exemplars
Risen (2021) 116 exemplars
An Inheritance of Magic (2023) 41 exemplars
Favours (2021) 24 exemplars
The Beginning (2005) 18 exemplars
Gardens (2022) 18 exemplars
The Battle (2007) 13 exemplars


Coneixement comú

Data de naixement
Lloc de naixement
London, England, UK
Llocs de residència
London, England, UK
University of Cambridge (BA) (philosophy)
civil servant
English teacher
5ophie Hicks
Biografia breu
Benedict Jacka is half-Australian, half-Armenian, and grew up in London. He’s worked as a teacher, bouncer, and civil servant, and spends his spare time skating and playing tabletop games. He’s the author of the Alex Verus series, including Bound, Burned, Veiled, Hidden, and Chosen.



Highlight of the series, almost as good as the first.

Mage versus has been successfully avoiding attention as an independent, escaped from his previous Dark master and not affiliated to the sometimes absolutist and always political manoeuvrings of the Light. But various interactions, not always of his own choosing have raised his profile as he's survived some encounters through trickery, wits and friends that he'd otherwise be overmastered in sheer power. Which means he now has the attention of both the Light and the Dark and they both require him to choose a side. Neither option appeals, but it turns out you can only run so far....

I've liked all this series, Versus is kept underpowered (cf dresden who's getting silly). but the interactions remain clever and fresh. He suffers and his friends have interactions off-camera so that it all feels real. very well done.

Ends on a bit of a cliffhnager though so make sure you have Bound available to read directly afterwards.
… (més)
reading_fox | Hi ha 12 ressenyes més | Oct 27, 2023 |
This originally appeared at The Irresponsible Reader.
I want to limit my comparisons between this new series and Jacka's previous series to just one section—but that's not going to happen. It makes sense, I suppose. It's Jacka's first non-Alex Verus book (other than the two hard-to-find children's novels), so comparisons are inevitable, but I don't want to turn this into an X vs. Y situation.

I will say at the outset, that if it wasn't for the name on the cover, I don't know that I'd have known they had the same author—so that tells you something about the comparisons. (except in quality—this is definitely up to the standards Jacka has established)

This is tricky. The Author's Note at the beginning of the book tells us that this book is an introduction to the series. We are introduced to the world, the characters, the magic, and so on. Yes, there is a plot—a handful, actually—but the main point is for us to get oriented.

Basically, we meet Stephen—he's roughly 20 and is fairly aimless. He doesn't have the money (or, really, ambition) to go to University. He bounces from temp job to temp job, hangs out at his local with his friends regularly, takes care of his cat, and works on his magic in his spare time. It's his real passion, but he doesn't do much with it.

Then one day, some distant relatives that he's never heard of come into his life (it'd be too complicated to list the reasons they give, and I think they're half-truths at best, anyway). Suddenly, Stephen is thrown into a dangerous, high-stakes world of money and power—and he's just a pawn to be used in the games of his "family" (and by family, I mean people that 23andMe would identify as relatives, but he's never been in contact with or aware of for his entire existence). He's a relatively unimportant pawn at that. He's sort of grateful for that as he realizes it—but he'd have been happier if they never bothered him in the first place. Happier and with significantly fewer bruises.

However, through their machinations, he's introduced to new levels of magic society and ways that the magic in this world works. Best of all he finds ways that he can be employed and use his magic—the best of both worlds. Sure, his friends don't get it (not that he tells many of them, because he prefers that they think he's sane), but he's bringing in enough money to live and he's getting stronger and more capable.

So, where the Alex Verus series was about one man and his friends/allies trying to navigate (and survive) the politics and power of the magical society in England (largely), at this point the Stephen Oakwood series appears to be about one man making his way (and hopefully surviving) the money and power of a different sort magical society—and it's intersection with the non-magical world. We're not just talking Econ 101 kind of stuff here—Stephen's family appears to be some of the 1% of the 1% and there are huge multi-national corporations involved here with defense contracts to governments all over the world.

Basically, Alex had an easier place to navigate.

Most of the magic that's used in this world comes from sigils—physical objects created from various kinds of energy wells (earth magic, life magic, light magic, and so on) to do particular tasks (shine a light, augment strength, heal minor wounds, etc.). There are likely bigger and better things along those lines (hence defense contracts), but that should give you an idea. The overwhelming number of these sigils are pumped out by some sort of industrial companies and are only good for a limited amount of time.

Stephen was taught (by his father, and by himself) to make sigils on his own—his are individualized, artisanal kinds of things. Think of a sweater you get from some hobbyist off of Etsy vs. the kind of thing you can get for much less at Walmart or on Wish—quality that lasts vs. cheap and disposable. He also reverse engineers almost all of his sigils—he sees something in a catalog (no, really, this is how people get their sigils for personal use) or in use and tries to figure out how such a thing will work and then sets out to create one.

I don't know where Jacka is going to go with all of this, obviously. But I love this setup.

It wasn't until I was just about done with the book that I finally figured out what Alex and Stephen had in common—which is odd, it was staring me in the face for most of the novel. But before that, I really wouldn't have said they had much in common at all.

Stephen is our entry point to this world, and he only knows a little bit about it so as he learns, so does the reader. Alex pretty much knew everything that was going on in his world, so he had to catch the reader up—or he could help Luna understand something (and make it easier for the reader to learn that way). Stephen has to learn almost everything by getting someone to teach him, or through trial and error—either way, the reader is along for the ride and learns with him.

Similarly, Stephen's really just starting to get the knack of his abilities where Alex was already a pro—sure he had more to learn (and his power increased), but Stephen's not even a rookie, really when things get going.

Stephen had a loving and supportive father growing up, a strong group of friends, and experience outside the area of magic users—something we never got a strong idea that Alex ever had. Alex had trauma and hardships behind him—Stephen doesn't. So their personalities, outlooks, etc. are very different from the outset.

It's not really that shocking that the protagonists of two different series wouldn't be that similar. And yet...we've all read a second or third series from an author with a protagonist that's just a variation of their initial breakout character. So it's good to see that Jacka's able to make that transition between his two series—it gives you hope for what he's going to do in the future.

Oh, what did I finally realize the two characters shared? They watch and learn. Alex does it because that's essentially what his abilities were—he could sift through the various futures and decide what to do based on that. Stephen just doesn't know enough about anything so he has to sit and observe—and from there he can decide how to act. But where others will try to think first and act second, Stephen and Alex watch first—and for a long time—before they think and then act. It's something not enough characters (especially in Urban Fantasy) seem to spend much time doing. So I'm glad to see it.

I am just so excited about this series. I didn't know how Jacka could successfully follow up the Verus series. I trusted he would, because he's earned that over the last decade—but, I didn't expect that I'd respond so positively so soon.

We need to start with Stephen's spunky attitude—with a little bit of a chip on his shoulder due to his circumstances in life (that grows to a degree as he learns how much he and his father missed out on and starts to guess why)—is a real winner. He's got a gritty (in an Angela Duckworth sense, not Raymond Chandler or William Gibson sense) outlook, is generally optimistic—and can even be funny—all the attributes you want in an underdog.

Then there's the world-building that I tried to sketch out above—and did a not-wholly-inadequate job of. I want to know more about it—and figure increased familiarity is just going to make me more curious.

I have so many questions about the family members who've inserted themselves in Stephen's life related to their motivations, trustworthiness (I suspect at least one will turn out to be an ally, however temporary), goals, and abilities. I have those questions about Stephen's guides and allies—and think at least one of them is going to turn on him in a devastating way (thankfully, he doesn't trust most of them completely). There's also this priest who keeps assigning him theological work to study. Some good theology, too. I don't fully know where this is going—but I'm dying to find out.

Are we going to get a Big Bad—or several—for Stephen to face off against? Or is this simply going to be about a series of obstacles Stephen has to overcome until he can carve out an okay existence for himself? Is this about Stephen becoming one of those 1% and the corruption of his character that will necessitate?

I'm not giving this a full 5 stars mostly because of the introductory nature of the book—also because I want to be able to say that book 2 or 3 is an improvement over this (which I fully expect). But that says more about me and my fussy standards than it does about this book. I loved it, and am filled with nothing but anticipation for the sequel/rest of the series. It's entirely likely that as this series wraps up that we're going to talk about the Alex Verus series as Jacka with his training wheels on.

I'm now in danger of over-hyping. Also, I'm going to just start repeating laudatory ideas. Urban Fantasy readers need to get on this now.
… (més)
hcnewton | Hi ha 1 ressenya més | Oct 6, 2023 |
Alex has just about settled into his role as part of the Light - defending mages and occasionally investigating potential breaches of the informal covenants that keep them from the awareness of the greater populace. Once such routine incident suddenly assumes greater importance when he's attacked by an unrelenting Air mage with little concern for secrecy. Alex manages to just about escape alive and becomes aware that a trinket he'd discovered could be more important than expected.

Behind the scenes of the corridors of power there are factions and secrets and peccadillos - some more serious than others. Everything has been a careful balance of the status quo - not something that Alex is particularly interested in keeping given that it means the exploitation of innocents, something Alex already has enough loading his conscience.

Another fine installment always fun and interesting. It's particularly noteworthy how Jacka has managed to keep the power levels realistic and prevented Alex from gaining new abilities, instead he has to be even cleverer as the opponents are significnatly more powerful than he is.
… (més)
reading_fox | Hi ha 8 ressenyes més | Sep 10, 2023 |
Versus is still debating between the Light Council and the Dark mages who offer him personal support. Then Anne goes missing and he decides if the Light won't help much he'll have to do it instead.

There is much running around another Shadow realm which is reusing a plot devise I hope we'll soon put aside, and a few clever tricks. It begins to sound like Alex should be wearing a backpack because his pockets contain a very large amount of stuff that becomes useful at just the right moment, and none of his adversaries ever manage to carry anything of note or search him.… (més)
reading_fox | Hi ha 11 ressenyes més | Jul 31, 2023 |


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