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Taken (An Alex Verus Novel) by Benedict Jacka
Cover Artist: Photo: London by Roy Bishop / Archangel Images; 
Spiderweb by Uraydnikov Sergy / Shutterstock.
Review by Gayle Surrette
Ace Mass Market Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 9781937007720
Date: 28 August 2012 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /

Taken is the third Alex Verus novel and it looks like a series that's going to keep readers wanting to read more. Alex Verus can see into the future. He can avoid tripping over thing as he can see into the future far enough to see where he trips or bumps into things and then avoid those things in the now. He also gets glimpses of future events occasionally but then they're out of context -- and he's been having bad dreams. Not a good sign for a seer.

Luna, Verus' apprentice, is taking classes and learning what it means to be in the wizarding world, how to fight, and what skills she'll need to survive. She's a bit more wary of others since her experiences in Fated. Luna's power isn't magic so much, it's a curse that she's learning to channel and control. She's even learning to use it to fight because all the apprentices are going to be taking part in a tournament.

More by Benedict Jacka:
Alex Verus series:
* Fated
* Cursed
* Taken
* Chosen

At first Luna wasn't going to be in the tournament, but Alex has been hired to look into the disappearance of apprentices. There's clues that indicate that magic is involved. And the best place to investigate disappearing apprentices would, of course, be the tournament that practically every apprentice in the country will be attending. Luna being in the tournament gives him the in he needs.

Once again a fairly simple sounding job -- or as simple as a job can be when you know you're not being given all the information you need -- turns into a case where Alex and Luna's lives are at stake. For there is more going on than they've been told. Nothing feels right to Alex and he can't seem to see any path that leads to safety for him and Luna.

I've been really enjoying this series. The magic system is consistent and definitely confusing with the various power levels, philosophical differences, and the constant struggles for power. Alex is an outsider in more ways than one and that makes him the perfect viewpoint character as he has to navigate the pitfalls of the magical world to maintain his independence. Plotting is tight and interestingly twisty and multilayered which makes putting the book down even more difficult.

Each of the books can stand alone but reading them in order will give readers more insight into the world and the major players in this series.

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