cover image Cursed


Benedict Jacka. Ace, $7.99 mass market (304p) ISBN 978-1-937007-59-1

Jacka follows his urban fantasy debut, Fated, with an even more impressive tale of gunplay and spellcraft in present-day London. In a culture dominated by battle mages, Alex Verus’s best offense is a good defense: he can see all possible futures, and he aims straight at the ones where he doesn’t die. Both Light and Dark mages keep trying to hire him, but he just wants to run his magical trinket shop and teach his friend Luna how to manage her family curse. This dream is disrupted when a new friend of Luna’s claims he can destroy the curse with a dangerous wish-granting artifact, and Alex learns that some unhinged mages want to steal life energy from the dwindling population of magical creatures—including one of Alex’s few friends, the charming room-sized spider Arachne. Jacka keeps the emotional tension high with a series of wakeup calls for Alex regarding his relationship with Luna, his place in London’s magical social circles, and his image of himself. Readers will savor this tasty blend of magic, explosions, and moral complexity. Agent: Sophie Hicks, Ed Victor Literary Agency. (June)