Alex Verus runs a magic shop in Camden. He also happens to be a real wizard, one that escaped a dark mage yet holds no favour with the council of light mages. One of the few people he can call a friend is a cursed girl, Luna, who can’t touch others without bringing bad luck upon them. When other mages come calling, needing a favour, he knows trouble is brewing. Can he avoid getting dragged into the middle of the battle between light and dark?
I was a bit disappointed in Fated to be honest. The first person narrative comes across as very flippant, even if there is reason for Alex’s apathy, it doesn’t really translate into an engaging read. At one point her does acknowledge what he’s like and it may well improve as the series progresses but I didn’t care what happened to him at all. Luna was a much more interesting character, but didn’t really get the page space to develop fully. The poor girl can never get close to anyone due to her curse, but she is given one night to be normal. I also really liked Arachne, the spider seamstress despite her being a bit player.
In addition it’s very much tell, not show. The opening chapters gave the impression that it wasn’t the first in the series as there are paragraphs explaining things that happened to the characters in the past, very similar to those that are often used to remind readers what happened before, just in case you forgot. Instead of being revealed through character experiences, you are just told and it doesn’t really sink in or give you any feel for their emotions. Yes, Alex says he was a slave and tortured but I can only work out that was horrible by what my brain tells me rather than what he went through.
The cover blurb implies that the London setting is a major part, yet it could be set anywhere except for the guidebook-esque descriptions on arrival at each location. I didn’t get the sense of a magical London hiding beneath the surface at all.
Alex’s magical speciality is quite interesting. He is a seer but instead of seeing a straight future, he sees the paths of possible futures which help him make decisions. Just again, it was a bit too blunt in the descriptions to really make it up for me. It is a quick and easy read and similar in some ways to Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files, which took me a while to warm to too. So I would say if you’re a fan of Harry, it’s worthwhile giving Fated a go but maybe not if you’re after strong character driven fantasy.
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