Burned by Benedict Jacka

burned“Diviner Alex Verus finally made one too many enemies on the Council of Mages, and now one of them is angry enough to have him executed. Fighting for his life is nothing new, but this kill order also calls for the death of Alex’s dependents—and there’s no way that he’ll let Luna, Anne, and Vari take the heat.

With only a week before he’s history, Alex will have to figure out how to disassociate himself from his friends, scrounge up allies on the Council, and hopefully keep his head attached to his body.

But saving himself is going to bring him into direct opposition with his former master and the Dark mages surrounding him. And, this time, escaping with his life might mean losing his soul…”

This series has been favorably compared to the Dresden Files (even Jim Butcher says so!), so I have come to expect a lot from each new book.  And I must say that Jacka does not disappoint.  He continues to up the ante on his main character, Alex, in a way that it compatible with his powers of precognition.  In this book, Alex finds himself under sentence of death, and all his foreseeing skills can’t help him find a way to evade a decision that has already been made.  Of course, it wouldn’t be much of a novel if the main character has literally no way out of his predicament, and it’s those ways out that make this novel so compelling.

Much as Harry Dresden has been drawn into wizardly politics against his will, so has Alex.  In previous books, he’s maintained his neutrality, but with his old mentor (a powerful user of Dark magic) starts gathering power, Alex has to take a side to have a chance of keeping his own head off of the chopping block.  Something I’ve always liked about these books is how the author always keeps in mind the consequences to those around him–not just how they might be targets, but how to help them defend themselves when they’re on their own.

This novel drags a bit in the middle as preparations are made for all kinds of things, such as raids on places with magical artifacts and some enhanced magical challenges for his apprentice Luna.  Once everything falls into place, though, the story picks back up.  There are plenty of things going boom for readers to enjoy, so have no fear on that front.

I’ve been following this series since book one, and I can’t say that about many series anymore.  With so much competition on the shelves for my attention, it takes something really cool to keep my interest, and Jacka’s books fit the bill.  Burned keeps the tension high and the action flowing.

This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

(Description nicked from Goodreads.com.)

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