Book Review: Taken by Benedict Jacka

I finished this book Monday and was intending to get the review up then but that didn’t happen due to life.

Taken is the third book in the Alex Verus series and this one sees him plunged yet again into danger with his new apprentice, Luna.

Apprentices are going missing. Just disappearing into thin air. The Light Council have no idea what is going on so call upon Alex to investigate. At every turn, Alex seems to be pointed towards Fountain Reach, where the White Stone Tournament (a duelling competition between apprentices) is being held. Alex is forced to think on his feet as he has to protect himself, his apprentice and others as he investigates and this time, he might not be so lucky to get out unharmed…

In the review for Cursed, I commented that Jacka had seem to recycle the format of the first book and I expressed fears that this would be repeated in book 3. These fears were unfounded though as the format is well and truly broken. No Elsewhere, much less of the alliances and more focus on Alex and his skills and use of his divination magic and wit to get through battles. I didn’t speak of this in the last review, though it did feature briefly in another way, but Alex had to use his brain to get past the fact that his magic is being blocked to a certain point in this book.

All of this made me smile and happy that Jacka had gone off in a different direction when plotting and structuring this novel.

This book seemed darker to me compared to the earlier ones and more danger and threat was included but this made the book more enjoyable to me. Again, Jacka has expanded his world and showed more of it which I feel he is very clever in doing and I read his books as a writer of fantasy myself and learn from them.

The fight scenes are better than in Chosen I feel, more active and the type that was seen in Fated, the first book. Alex and Luna are forced to fight in unique ways against enemies who are able to use more offensive magic against them but this makes the battles more interesting and draws the reader in further.

I have only two criticisms for this book. The first is the fact that I worked out who and had an inkling of why the antagonist was doing what they were doing before Alex figured it out. Whether or not Jacka intended for this to be the case, I do not know but it annoyed me somewhat that Alex failed to do so as early as I did. Yes, it is a weak criticism but I do honestly think this. The only other one I have is that the ending seemed a little drawn out and maybe could have been condensed by a page or two.

All in all, this book is better than Chosen (which suffers somewhat from the second book slump) and feels darker and has more danger in it providing a real sense of threat towards the characters than any of the earlier ones. The change in structuring prevents a feeling of déjà vu as well the limited removal of Alex skills, forcing him to use his brain and not his brawn to defeat his adversaries.

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2 thoughts on “Book Review: Taken by Benedict Jacka

  1. “A new twist on magic” does that refer to the story or the way magic is utilized in the book?

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