Benedict Jacka is a British author born in 1980. He is primarily known for his work on the Alex Verus series of novels.
Benedict Jacka was born in England. He went to the City of London School before joining Cambridge University. He eventually graduated with a degree in Philosophy. It was during his days in Cambridge that Jacka met Sophie Hicks, his editor from Ed Victor Ltd.
IN choosing to pursue writing as a career, Jacka chose children’s books as his playground. The first three fantasy books he wrote for children, unfortunately, went unpublished for various reasons.
It wasn’t until he wrote ‘To Be a Ninja’ that Benedict Jack finally saw success, this being his first non-fantasy children’s book. At the beginning of the new millennium, Benedict developed a new fantasy setting within which he would set his future books.
The world was to be populated by a group of teenage elementals, the primary characters of the books he would set within this particular landscape. The first Alex Verus book in the series, for which he is best known, didn’t hit the shelves until 2012. The author has since garnered considerable curiosity and interest from young as well as older readers, with the critical reception being largely positive.
The chapter cliffhangers of Benedict Jacka’s books have been especially praised.
Alex Verus is special. He lives in a place that is part of our world, only it is hidden, tucked away in plain sight. Verus runs a magic shop in London. Compared to other people, Alex isn’t that extraordinary. Certainly, he has special powers, but they are nowhere near as showy as those wielded by some mages.
However, Alex has an advantage, an ace that gives him the edge in every situation. He has the power to foresee the possible future. And with this power, Alex is uniquely placed to execute tasks that are nearly impossible.
Alex’s interesting life takes a unique turn when he is asked to crack open a relic from an ancient mage war. With multiple factions approaching him for his services, Alex knows that the relic must hold something truly powerful.
More importantly, with his foresight, he knows that if he takes the job, his chances of survival are nearly nonexistent.
The Alex Verus series falls comfortably within the Urban Fantasy category of novels. Some readers have compared it to the Dresden books, and for good reasons
The story centers on Alex Verus, a mage that runs a magic shop. While Alex can’t exactly shake the earth and blow people’s minds with his powers, the fact that he is a diviner, and possesses the ability to see the various paths that events could take, makes him important.
While the similarities between the Alex Verus Story and the Dresden books are a little hard to spot when you compare both stories as a whole, certain elements of the Fated story are definitely reminiscent of some Dresden books, so much so that you have to wonder whether Benedict Jacka wrote the Alex Verus series as an homage to Dresden.
You can tell that this is the first book the author has ever published. There are certain elements and story transitions that could have been smoothed out, especially with some decent beta readers.
The information dumps are also very noticeable, and Benedict Jacka could have done a better job building his world. That being said, this is a children’s book and the many problems that arise in ‘Fated’ shouldn’t prevent a young reader from enjoying Jacka’s work.
Children, in particular, will appreciate the magic system. It is unique enough to stand on its own but not so complicated that you might struggle to understand its intricacies. Benedict Jacka could have done a better job of showing Alex’s powers in action.
Unfortunately, Jacka falls into a common pitfall where he spends a lot of time telling readers what is happening rather than actually showing the events.
Overall, though, Fated is an enjoyable read. Alex is a witty and relatively interesting character. Jacka skillfully lays the groundwork for future stories.
Alex is famous. His second sight has allowed him to accomplish a number of incredible feats, this including defeating many a dark mage. And because of that renown, Alex is working really hard to keep his head down.
Not that he is succeeding, having discovered the resurgence of a forbidden ritual. There is a nefarious plan in place, one that starts with the harvesting of the life force from magical creatures.
This isn’t the sort of process the magical creatures in question survive. With this enemy turning his attention to the life force of humans, Alex is compelled to investigate the situation.
However, he quickly finds that he might have unbidden enemies hiding in plain sight. Some among the council do not want him delving deeper into the secrets of the magical community. If Alex doesn’t learn to distinguish enemy from ally, he will soon find himself falling prey to those seeking power.
Readers that love ‘Fated’ love ‘Cursed’ as well. However, readers that were only mildly impressed by ‘Fated’ have very little love for ‘Cursed’ and for good reasons, seeing a Benedict Jacka takes many of the elements of ‘Fated’ and emphasizes them in this book.
This includes the information dumps. While Jacka can be forgiven for the failings of his first novel, some readers might be unwilling to sit through the clunky structure and information dumps of the second book.
For fans of Benedict Jacka, Cursed is anything but boring. The novel is entertaining and solidly written, and that isn’t even taking into account the grounded characters and magic system.
There is nothing unique about ‘Cursed’, and the readers who are always chastising the book for its clichéd plots and reliance on overused tropes cannot be faulted. However, it is possible that they are simply not the target audience for Benedict Jacka’s book.
There is an addictive element that can be imputed to the fast pacing of the novel, this along with the action and the light fluffy nature of the book. Fantasy enthusiasts will find that Cursed is the perfect palate cleanser to read in between heavy tomes of fantasy fiction.Book Series In Order » Authors » Benedict Jacka