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Forged (Alex Verus, #11) de Benedict Jacka
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Forged (Alex Verus, #11) (edició 2020)

de Benedict Jacka

Sèrie: Alex Verus (11)

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
822263,482 (4.29)3
Títol:Forged (Alex Verus, #11)
Autors:Benedict Jacka
Informació:Ace, Kindle Edition, 300 pages
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca
Etiquetes:No n'hi ha cap

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Forged de Benedict Jacka

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This originally appeared at The Irresponsible Reader.
The whole time I read this, I kept thinking, "How do I write something about this?" More than a month and a half later, I'm still not sure.

I'm so unsure what to say, that I'm not even going to attempt to summarize the setup. I'll just steal the back of the book:

To protect his friends, Mage Alex Verus has had to change–and embrace his dark side. But the life mage Anne has changed too, and made a bond with a dangerous power. She’s going after everyone she’s got a grudge against–and it’s a long list.
In the meantime, Alex has to deal with his arch-enemy, Levistus. The Council’s death squads are hunting Alex as well as Anne, and the only way for Alex to stop them is to end his long war with Levistus and the Council, by whatever means necessary. It will take everything Alex has to stay a step ahead of the Council and stop Anne from letting the world burn.

I was blown away by the first novel in this series, Fated back in '12. The cover caught my eye, the pull-quote from Jim Butcher on the front put it in my checkout stack at the Library. I was impressed enough that I bought the paperback almost immediately. And the series has been an auto-buy for me since. Here we are at the penultimate novel and so much of my loss for words is attributable to not knowing what he's going to do with the events of this book.

Yes, it's a complete story—we even get introduced to a new character. But I'm not sure what any of the events will actually mean for Alex/the series, so my judgment feels like it's in limbo. If he does X, Y, or Z in Risen, well, sure it'll be worth it. But if he goes in another direction...I just don't know.

I've read four Urban Fantasy series from start to conclusion. Anna Strong, The Hollows,* Kitty Norville, and The Iron Druid Chronicles. If you stand back and take in the series as a whole, the first three had a very similar arc, and the IDC had a different one. It sure seems like Jacka's taking a more IDC approach. If I'm right, that puts things in the last couple of books in a certain kind of light, and I can evaluate them on that basis. If I'm wrong (to some extent) it puts those things in a different light, and I'll think about them differently. At the moment the book is in a pretty "is the dress white and gold or black and blue" kind of place for me. I don't usually say that kind of thing about a book, I normally know what I think about a book without wondering too much about the future of the sequel/series. But I can't help it this time, even if it feels like a cop-out.

Which is not to say that I think there's a superior way for Jacka to land this plane—I'm confident he's going to nail the landing regardless.

* Yeah, sure, that was temporarily concluded, but let's pretend that Harrison didn't come back for the sake of this paragraph

So, can I say anything? Yeah. This was the most violent of any of the books, Alex knows full well that this is the endgame for something, and has nothing holding him back. I'm sure that in many ways the Alex Verus of the early series wouldn't do what he's doing now, and wouldn't want to. But things have changed him, and he doesn't have time to waste pulling his punches.

Alex is running out of choices—an odd thing for a diviner. He's burnt a lot of bridges lately—many of which I held out hope that he could repair. Instead, he burnt them to the ground, gathered the ashes, stomped on them, and then scattered them to the four winds. I'm not sure that he has a whole lot of moves left—if Alex is the King on a chessboard, it truly seems he'll be checkmated in just a couple of moves.

I enjoyed this book, I don't particularly like the choices that Alex is making—but I get why he's making them. I don't particularly like the choices Jacka's making, either—but I think he's probably doing the right thing for the series.

I'm not sure what else to say, really. Come back this fall after Risen and I'll probably be a bit more definitive.

There was another realisation too, something that was harder to explain. I had the feeling that Morden was going to survive all this. He wasn’t aiming to settle grudges and wasn’t seeking the crown, and because of that everyone else would always have someone they wanted dead more badly than him. When this was over he was going to be walking away, back to the forests and streams of his shadow realm and to his new group of disciples. The same wasn’t likely to be true for me. ( )
  hcnewton | Apr 27, 2021 |
In this eleventh instalment of Benedict Jacka’s “Alex Verus” series, “Forged” (as aptly titled as ever!), Alex is back at fixing lots of problems. Let’s take a quick look back first, though.

In “Fallen” we saw how Alex had to harden and tackle things differently than he used to. He ‘fell’ away from trying to be the nice guy and concentrated on what he felt had to be done. He picked himself up and re-emerges ‘forged’ by the blows he received and the hits he delivered.

“Forged” picks up right there: Alex is back in force and at the height of his game. He quickly realises he currently has three major issues:

The Council of (Light) Mages
Richard Drakh, his former master (and his (former) entourage)
(Dark) Anne, his (ex-?)lover, recently possessed by a Jinn

To be able to solve them, he has to solve them separately because he can’t deal with all three at the same time.

We get to know this ‘forged’ Alex a lot better in this penultimate book of the series:

»I was left crouching, surrounded by three dead men, alone once more.«

This Alex is harder than ever before. Most of the time, he doesn’t even consider how to deal with his enemies non-lethally - not because he’s turned to “evil” but because he’s running out of time and alternatives on many levels.

Over the years, Alex has found (and lost) friends he cares for deeply. Even mortal enemies are given chance after chance to walk away. Only now under enormous duress does Alex resolve to the ultima ratio...

Everything Alex does is to protect those he loves from harm. Most prominently Anne, Luna, Variam but others as well. That’s his cause for which Alex is willing to kill and, if necessary, die.
It started showing in the previous book already but by now it’s crystal clear that Alex has developed the will to power, but not for the sake of power, but for the sake of his cause. Which, to me, is just.

As a result, we’re confronted with more blood and gore but never unnecessarily or crossing the border beyond which it would become disgusting.

Some loose threads are being picked up again, e. g. Shireen…
»“Tomorrow, Shireen,” I said. “It’s time to end this.” I stepped out of Elsewhere, and back into my own dreams.«

Or… others…

»“Enough chances,” Cinder said. “I get it.”«

Nothing in the narration is over the top but it’s mostly tense and suspenseful. There are some scenes of serene beauty, though, and they counter what otherwise might have become too bleak.

Most importantly, we witness Alex neither being “light” nor “dark” - he’s somewhere in between and even former enemies can acknowledge and, in some cases, respect that. Those self-righteous zealots who reject Alex’ offer of safe conduct and might redeem themselves if it weren’t for their fanaticism, in turn fall - never to rise again.

While Alex’ methods might seem extreme at times, when his enemies tempt his allies they choose to stand at his side based on their own free will.

When I read “Fallen”, I wasn’t sure I liked the direction Jacka was taking. Now I know he was right and what’s coming was and is inevitable...

“Forged” is on many levels the culmination of everything that came before it and does its author great honour. I can hardly wait for the final instalment, “Risen”, which is expected in December 2021.

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  philantrop | Jan 3, 2021 |
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Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Benedict Jackaautor primaritotes les edicionscalculat
Lagerman, JudithDissenyador de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat

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