Fated by Benedict Jacka
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
It's been so many years, so many adventures since this first one. I'm thrilled to be revisiting one of my favorite UFs. :) Of course, I know it just gets better from here. You see, I'm now a bit of a precog, too. :)
So I was just falling off the wagon and wetting my whistle with a bit of Urban Fantasy that was recommended to me recently, and I can honestly say that I got really drunk. (Not alcohol, alas, but on magic.)
I'd just been sifting through all the wonders of the Spacing Guild from Dune and the minor predictive powers of the Jedi recently, so imagine my surprise when I get to read about a Dresden-ish mage in London who can augur himself through all the twisty paths of time to answer important questions like, "Who's going to be killing me in the next fifteen seconds, and how can I get out of this damn mess?", or "This is a pretty nasty puzzle placed before me. If I can walk all the paths and figure out how to solve it without becoming a crispy critter, then go me!"
I admit I laughed loud when Mr. Jacka gave an explicit literary nod to a certain mage in Chicago. It warmed my cockles. And it also set the tone for the mind-candy treat that I was about to gobble up.
The trick with these kinds of books is how to balance powerful magic against natural limitations and/or outside mitigations while keeping the reader enthralled with a good tale, and he did it. The plot put this poor neutral mage into the leading roll of a ping-pong ball between the white mages and the black mages of London, all of whom want him because of his powers of Divination and the fact that he was the only Diviner stupid enough to have not headed for the hills when the storm began to rise.
Fun! Exciting! We've even got a bit of a love interest beginning to brew, and I think I like her problems a lot more than Alex's! Oh, wait... this isn't her tale. But I'm guessing she's going to get a lot more screen time with a second book named Cursed. Goodie!
I have no complaints about this novel. It's light and fun and there's lots of action and even a bit of snark. Sound like UF? Wait! It's Good Urban Fantasy! I've only read one book so far, but it's shaping up to be as good as the best stuff of that little mage in Chicago. We'll see! I've got high hopes.
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