Burned (Alex Verus #7) – Benedict Jacka 


Diviner Alex Verus gets an early-morning call from Talisid (the Mage spymaster for whom Alex has been doing some work on the side). Levistus, the Light Council member he pissed off in the last book (well, over the last few books to be more precise) has passed an order for his execution, to be carried out in seven days.

The kill order also calls for the death of Alex’s dependents; Luna, Anne, and Vari; meaning that he’ll need to disassociate from them to keep them safe, while figuring out how to save his own skin.

This was a great book, with a blistering pace from start to finish: poor Verus hardly gets a moment’s rest between assassination attempts, firebombings, negotiations with crazy Dark Mages that go awry, and a mission to a dark and creepy “bubble zone” to retrieve a mysterious relic. The story explores the consequences of his previous actions – most specifically that he’s never aligned himself with any faction (dark or light) with any power or influence; has made numerous enemies and pissed far too many people off; and refuses to “play the game”, or engage on any politicking or mutual backscratching, even in a society where that’s the only way to survive.

To be fair, it’s not like his attitude isn’t understandable: the dark mages basically tortured him and he’s not a sociopath so he’s not going to turn to them, but the light mages didn’t lift a finger to help him, then pretty much wrote him off as an irredeemable dark mage after his escape. There’s something exasperatingly stupid and short-sighted about treating someone like a criminal/ murderer/ evildoer even when they’re doing their utmost to prove their worth (including saving the day numerous times, saving the lives of council members, helping those in need – he does so much good)! Especially considering he’s an incredibly powerful diviner (and diviners are in short supply). You’d think that having someone like that on your side would be a priority, but oh, no, the light mages know better than that.

The book cliffhangers itself right into the next book in the series; Bound (which is out on April 6th for Kindle), so I’m really glad I didn’t read this when it came out – it would have been immensely frustrating to wait a year to find out what happens next.

Order Burned from Amazon:


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