cover image Forged


Benedict Jacka. Ace, $7.99 mass market (304p) ISBN 978-0-440-00060-0

The 11th urban fantasy in Jacka’s superior Alex Verus series keeps the action at a boil. Alex used to be a relatively minor mage largely concerned with protecting his friends during the struggle between the supposedly moral mages of the Light Council and the mob led by dark mage Richard Drakh. But following the events of Fallen he’s become ruthless to save himself from his enemies and free his former lover Anne from the jinn that is working to lure her to the dark side. To keep ahead of his foes, Alex relies on the fateweaver, a potent magical artifact that threatens to take over his body should he use it too often. This outing is grittier than earlier installments, but Alex remains both smart and snarky as ever. Jacka has a gift for writing wild magical battles as simultaneously slapstick and pulse-pounding, as well as the discipline to shed characters and lore from previous volumes when they’re no longer necessary to the plot, keeping this long-running series feeling trim and accessible. While this won’t be the ideal starting point for the uninitiated, it admirably maintains the series’s relentless momentum. Series fans should snap this up. Agent: Sophie Hicks, Sophie Hicks Agency. (Nov.)