Review by Gayle Surrette
Ace Mass Market Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780425264928
Date: 27 August 2013
List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /
There's the family you're born into and the families you make for yourself. Alex Verus thought he'd found family when he accepted a chance to train with black wizard, Richard Drakh. But then he didn't know any better, he was just a kid and without any real information to guide his decisions. What he ended up with was a world of pain, manipulation, and punishment. Then he escaped to make a new life for himself.
For a long time, Alex avoided involvement in the wizarding world and its politics. That was until he was asked for help -- nothing special just a simple job. Now, somehow, he's acquired an apprentice, two adepts who have moved in while he helps them find a master/instructor in their fields of magic, and a life that is almost normal.
Of course, as you'd expect, that's when things fall apart. There's a group of free-agent adepts killing black mages, and it looks like Alex Verus is now at the top of their list. Verus used to be a black mage, or at least was training to be one. Now he must share his past -- his dark, warty, cruel, and vicious past -- with the people who have, to his surprise, have become his family.
As the attacks on him continue, Alex has some very tough decisions to make, because it looks like his attackers see the people with him as acceptable collateral damage. In the past, he would have run, but now he has people he cares about, and who care for him -- or so he hopes. He can't run. He can't hope to fight them. And, he doesn't intend to die or see anyone he cares about die because of him.
This is the fourth book in the series. Normally by this point the characters are developed and the relationships are pretty solid. Jacka seems to think characters should act like people -- people in extraordinary circumstances certainly -- with the same drives, desires, likes and dislikes, and morals or lack thereof as anyone we're likely to meet in our everyday lives. So, things don't remain the same. Current events, or even learning about a person's past, can have consequences. Some people may stand by you in your dark times, some may cut and run, and others may just disappear until the dust settles.
This is a book that will pull you in and not let you go until you find out how it all comes together. The revelations are such that readers will find themselves wondering what they would do in similar circumstances. Isn't that what a great book always does -- it makes you think beyond the story and stays with you long after the final page.
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