Review: Cursed by Benedict Jacka

Cursed is the second book in the Alex Verus series by Benedict Jacka. It was released on May 29th, 2012 from Ace Books. You can read my review of the first one here.

The Blurb

Since his second sight made him infamous for defeating powerful dark mages, Alex has been keeping his head down. But now he’s discovered the resurgence of a forbidden ritual. Someone is harvesting the life-force of magical creatures—destroying them in the process. And draining humans is next on the agenda. Hired to investigate, Alex realizes that not everyone on the Council wants him delving any deeper. Struggling to distinguish ally from enemy, he finds himself the target of those who would risk their own sanity for power… [Goodreads]

Have you read Benedict Jacka yet? THE Benedict Jacka? The author whose debut I waited MONTHS to read because Jim Butcher himself spoke well of it? Well, why not?? If recommendations from me AND from Jim Butcher don’t phase you… Well, then you’re reading the wrong blog, sweetie.

Cursed was another solid installment in this series. The stakes are higher, but the story isn’t a rehash of the debut, either. The tension is cranked up a notch but not in an “I’ve had twenty-three espressos and oh-em-gee but why is the world shaking like that?” kind of way. Whereas Fated was tense in a mortal peril, heart-thumping action kind of way, Cursed is a bit more subtle – but crueler, too. This is the tension of “I have led my friends into danger and my stupid mistakes are coming home to roost”. This is the teeth-grating nervousness and frustration of loved ones not listening to sound advice.

Frankly, I didn’t have time to love Cursed because it grabbed me by my knickers, slung me over its shoulder and carried me away before I had time to think about whether I loved it or not. A lot of urban fantasy heroes are all noir: tough as bullets and just as quick to anger and to action. Not Alex. Alex Verus is a more careful, a more deliberate kind of man. I imagine he would be just as careful and deliberate a lover, too — the kind of man who would spend days or months observing his lady carefully so that when the perfect moment arrived then the lightest touch in the proper place would send her boiling over the brink.

Let’s face it: being able to see possible futures would be pretty handy for that, too.

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