Newsletter - Review: FATED by Benedict Jacka by Michael

Thursday Apr 05 2012
by Michael

Fated is an urban fantasy novel in the same vein as the Jim Butcher Dresden Files. Except it isn’t.

Both feature magic in the modern world, yes. Both involve a wizard as protagonist who needs to overcome the sins of their youth. Both do a wonderful job of using the city and its environs (Chicago and London) as a character within the book, certainly. But other than that, there is only one thing that Jacka’s first foray into adult fiction has in common with the work of Butcher. It’s really pretty good.

And it would be without the magic. Certainly the idea of a diviner (a wizard who can see into the future) as a main character may seem strange, but without his powers Alex Verus would still be compelling to follow, as would the plot that Fated follows.

In regards to the Dresden series, the difference basically the same one that you find between most American and British mystery. Harry Dresden is a private eye who uses his magic essentially as a blunt instrument to press forward until he achieves his goals, a direct link to the hard-boiled detectives of the American tradition. Verus, by comparison, takes a very different approach, following the path of least resistance to get the right results.

Fated is slated to be the first in a number of books in this series to come out this year. There is, just as with every debut novel, the chance that Jacka cannot follow up this book as the series progresses. But I, at any rate, will be looking forward to the next.

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