Burned (Alex Verus)
by Benedict Jacka
Review by Gayle Surrette
Ace Kindle Edition ISBN/ITEM#: B011IVP3UG
Date: 05 April 2016
There's nothing like being woken up to be told that you've been sentenced to death along with your dependents. Oh, and they'll kill you in a week.
Now if you've been reading the Alex Verus series, you might be thinking this is fairly normal for him. But not this time. This time everyone is terrified of Alex, and not for anything he did, but because of something they think he will do in the future. I think you see where this might be going. Alex just has to convince them that he's not going to do what they believe he will and everything will go back to business as usual. Unfortunately, what they believe he will do is something he's been swearing he will never ever in his wildest dream do and he's been saying that and proving it for years.
Alex is determined to save Luna Mancuso, Anne Walker, and Variam Singh from sharing his fate -- just in case he can't talk his way out of this problem. He begins to shift them over to other wizards so that they are no longer his dependents, although even that task runs into a few snags. But things are looking good, or so he hopes.
The attacks on his life ramp up even as he's asked to join a special task force to recover an ancient artifact. Thing don't look good here either, and Alex is so focused on staying one step ahead of the assassination attempts, that he tunes out the people who are trying to help him, because their advice and information isn't what he believes is germane to this particular problem.
I swear I kept trying to tell him to listen for heaven's sake, your friends are trying to help you. As a reader, I couldn't see any particular point where he was doing anything wrong, but there were forces that were herding him--that was obvious, but who and why wasn't something the reader could figure out for sure.
At the end of the book, I wanted to scream and throw it across the room because now I have to wait until the next installment to find out what going to happen next. It certainly isn't going to be nice, and may not even be something I really want to know, but I'm hoping Alex will find a way.
This is not the book to start with. And if you're a fan of the series, it's going to be a big surprise, and probably not a nice one. However, it matches the tone and twisted politics we've come to expect so far from this series.