cover image Chosen


Benedict Jacka. Ace, $7.99 mass market (304p) ISBN 978-0-425-26492-8

Jacka puts other urban fantasists to shame with the fourth Alex Verus novel (after Taken), a stellar blend of thoughtful philosophy and explosive action populated by a stereotype-defying diverse cast. Verus, who can see myriad possible futures, has carved out a niche for himself in an alternate London divided between equally self-serving “Dark” and “Light” magicians. Having taken in three troubled students—forthright curse-wielder Luna, quiet life mage Anne, and sullen fire mage Variam—he’s not quite sure how to help them find their feet. Then Verus is attacked by Will Traviss, whose sister Verus abducted back when he was a naïve Dark apprentice. Besieged by Will’s gang of adepts, Verus reluctantly enlists hard-hitting allies, wanting to protect himself and his wards while sympathizing with the vulnerable young idealists who commit violence in the name of righteousness. The protracted final battle is both dramatically destructive and emotionally brutal, with Jacka never letting any character get away with easy answers to the hard questions of life in a perpetual magical war zone. (Sept.)