Book Review: Fallen by Benedict Jacka

April 27, 2020 Book Reviews 1

Book Review: Fallen by Benedict Jacka

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Fallen by Benedict Jacka
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Published by Ace Books on September 24, 2019
Pages: 302
Format: eBook
Source: the library

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Also by this author: Hidden, Bound

Tenth in the Alex Verus urban fantasy series and revolving around a diviner who isn’t accepted by the Light or the Dark. The focus is on Alex trying to rescue Anne.

My Take

Oh. Boy. We meet the relatives who took Anne in when she lost her family. Oh. Boy. What a nightmare bunch of people. They appear to have treated Anne as the in-house servant and nurse. And I wish we had spent more time with them as I really enjoyed how Alex put them down. You go, baby, lol.

“People are so focused on the establishment that they don’t notice that they’re being duped by the ones who are claiming to be on their side.”

Yeah, it ticks me off too. All the hypocrisy amongst the Light mages. The crap the Light mages pull, the same as the Dark mages, but they claim to be so holier than thou. Huh. Sounds like our politicians, doesn’t it?

One of the big deals in Fallen is learning to enter Elsewhere and protecting yourself. The other is Richard’s revelation to Alex. The truth of what he’s been wanting and doing finally comes out. Making passive decisions and reacting versus being decisive and acting. This is huge. AND we learn what that dragon’s prophecy meant. Oh. Boy.

Just over halfway, Alex has his own reveal to Kyle, and he sums up what’s happened very well…and so tragically.

Other than that, it’s the usual battles, betrayals, and insecurities, as Alex leaps from sizzling hot fry pan to roaring fire to a fate he can’t escape before doing that 180…all in first person protagonist point-of-view, so we know exactly what Alex is thinking and feeling.

Oy. The boy is busy, and Jacka introduces yet another twist on Alex’s fate.

The Story

It’s war. War between the Light and the Dark mages with Alex doing his best to ensure the Light’s success against Drakh. It’s too bad the Light is so blind with their hypocrisy and refuses to understand that.

Then a truth is spoken, and Alex soon realizes its accuracy.

No more reaction. It’s time to act!

The Characters

Anne Walker, a Life mage, is dating Alex these days. Not-Anne, a.k.a., Dark Anne, is a split from the Anne Alex knows, the killer side born in the ring who is imprisoned in Elsewhere. Variam “Vari” Singh, a fire mage, has been a part of Anne’s life for a long time and is now a Keeper but still loyal to Anne and Alex.

Alex Verus is a diviner, able to see thousands of possible futures at a time. And, sometimes, too curious for his own good. The Dark mage to whom he was apprenticed turned out to be the wrong choice. Not that the Light is any better. These days he’s serving on the ruling council’s Junior Council.

Luna Mancuso, an adept with a curse attached, had been Alex’s apprentice. She’s gone through the Council programs and now runs the Arcana Emporium, Alex’s old magic shop in Camden Town. Starbreeze is an Air elemental with a very, very short memory and is “as dumb as a box of rocks”.

Arachne is a magical creature, a ten-foot-tall spider who designs clothes and lives under Hampstead Heath. She’s also Alex’s closest friend. A dragon lives in the tunnels below her cave.

The Light Council is…
…the British ruling body for Light mages and is divided into the Senior and Junior Councils. Remember, “light” is just a term. The War Rooms in Westminster are the nerve centre of the Council and the heart of Light power in Britain. The Eyrie is the main monitoring centre. The Vault is a high security location. Members of the Senior Council include Levistus who hates Alex; Barrayar, a force mage, is one of Levistus’ principal agents; Sal Sarque hates Alex and is de facto leader of the Crusader faction; Solace is Sarque’s aide; Druss the Red sometimes allies with Alex; Alma is an ally of Levistus; Julia is Alma’s aide; Undaaris, who also hates Alex; Lyle, a former friend of Alex’s, is Undaaris‘ aide; and, Bahamus.

David Sonder is a time mage who can speed time up, slow it down, look into the past, or kick something out of the timeline. Sonder had been a another friend until events in Chosen, 4. Helikaon is a diviner who had been Alex’s teacher.

The Keepers of the Flame are…
…a mixture of soldiers, police, and internal investigators made up of three Orders: The Order of the Star, an everyday policing force for the Council; the Order of the Cloak who preserve the magical world’s secrecy; and, the Order of the Shield who are the battle mages as a military reserve.

Caldera, a journeyman Earth mage who specializes in reinforcement magic, is a Keeper with the Order of the Star. She had once been friendly with Alex until Burned, 7. Director Nimbus demanded the field command. Tobias is a Keeper. Ilmarin is an air mage. Avenor. Sergeant Barnes leads another detachment. Saffron. Sergeant Little leads a detachment that includes Nowy and Peterson. Griff Blackstone, an earth mage who belonged to Levistus, appeared in Fated, 1. Zilean and Lightbringer were black operators with Crusader leanings in Bound, 8.

Landis is one of the Keepers and Vari’s former master. Klara Lorenz is a very talented life mage.

San Vittore, a bubble realm, was a battle in Marked, 9.

The Nightstalkers were…
… an adept vigilante group back in Chosen. Will had been their leader. Kyle Summers, a weapons and explosive expert who had been a member, is a space magic user with some military background and is Cinder’s bondsman.

The Hollow is…
……a shadow realm created by Karyos, a hamadryad who went nuts and is being reborn. Alex, Anne, Luna, and Vari turned it into a safe base for themselves.

The Dark Mages
Richard Drakh, a Dark mage and Alex’s former master, is the most feared and powerful mage in Britain. His initial Chosen had been Deleo, a former apprentice, once known as Rachel, a water mage, who’s gone whacko. Rachel had Harvested Shireen, another of Richard’s apprentices. Shireen’s ghost wants Alex to help Rachel. Vihaela is a strong Life and Death mage with a reputation as an extremely skilled torturer. Tenebrous is a radiation mage.

Crystal, a.k.a., Dr Marianne, is a mind magic mage, a domination specialist, ex-Light Council, and on the list of most wanted (Taken, 3) who wants Anne. Onyx is a very deadly battle mage and the Chosen of Morden. Pyre is a powerful fire mage. Trey is part of Onyx’s crew. One of the most powerful Dark mages, Morden was arrested by the Council and escaped in Marked. Arcadia is a shadow realm where Morden has been training an adept army.

Cinder is a fire mage partnered up with Deleo; he figures he owes Alex from Fated. He refuses to take orders from Drakh.

Selene is “enslaved” by Onyx. Zander had been a slave back when Rachel and Alex had been Drakh’s apprentices.

Chalice is an independent Dark chance mage who was Luna’s teacher in return for an alliance where Verus will have her back, and she’ll have his.

Meredith Blake is an enchantress who can manipulate emotions and is totally self-interested, who also looks to Drakh (Hidden, 5). Mateo is her current boy toy; he knows Meredith as Catalina. Lord Jagadev, a powerful tigerlike shapeshifter, a rakshasa, had been one of Vari and Anne’s masters in the past. Sagash is a Dark mage who kidnapped Anne in Taken and took her to his shadow realm.

A 2,000-year-old mind mage, Abithriax is a general from olden days, a battle commander of all the Light armies who first appeared in conjunction with the fateweaver, a relic, in Fated.

The family that raised Anne were related to her: The mother is Anne’s first cousin once removed. Elizabeth is the elder daughter; the snooty Johnathan is her fiancé. Grace is the lesser favored younger daughter.

Articles of power may be imbued (they do what they want) or focuses. A dreamstone is a focus that allows for mind-to-mind conversation and helps you connect to Elsewhere when you’re awake. Talocan filaments are a type of expensive infused component valuable for high-power magical rituals. Gate magic lets you travel instantly from one place to another IF you’re an elementalist, or a death or space mage. Anyone else has to use a gate stone. A sink ward redirects gates.

Elsewhere is a world to which you can only travel in dreams. Where you can touch people through dreams, through their minds. A bubble realm is a small pocket reality disconnected from our world and can change the laws of physics. A shadow realm is grown as a reflection of a real world location.

It doesn’t matter which side the Mages fall on, they’re all arrogant and take what they want. The more numerous adepts are below the mages power-wise and can only use one type of magic.

The jinn hate humans and do their best to ensure that human wish turns out as badly as possible. Their power is limited by the relationship they have with the human they possess. A lesser jinn is a jann. A marid is a sultan among jinns. Rakshasa are ancient shapeshifters who traced their origins to before human history. Hermes is a blink fox, a magic-bred creature used by mages to spy (Hidden).

The Cover and Title

The cover is bright in its deep orange and yellow vertical strips making up the London Bridge and the surrounding buildings, including their reflections in the Thames. A paler yellow makes up the title in the top left corner with the series information in white between the towers. Static in the water is a testimonial in white, with an info blurb at the very bottom just above the author’s name; both are in white.

The title refers to so many characters who have Fallen.

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