Book Review: Taken By Benedict Jacka

15847972My husband and his sister were comparing their GoodReads accounts a couple weeks ago to see if they met their reading goals for the year. My husband finished a respectable 18 books over the past 12 months (impressive considering that most of the books he reads are 700+ pages). My sister-in-law on the other hand finished 45 books…. making me feel like a complete reading failure…

-Until I checked out my own account. I’d set a goal to read 20 books this year, but finished out with a whopping 42 books (and probably a few that I forgot to even put on my account…). About half of these were audio books, but the other half were legitimate hard copy books. Yay me!

And now on to the actual book review 🙂

The Blurb

Third book in a compelling new urban fantasy series set in Camden, featuring Alex Verus.

Welcome to Fountain Reach. Ancient seat of the Aubuchon dynasty. Majestic setting of the White Stone tournament.

Alex Verus’ (not necessarily reliable) reputation attracts all sorts. Most are plain bonkers. Yet there’s one invitation he just can’t refuse.

At Fountain Reach, Alex is perfectly placed among the noted and notorious to figure out why apprentices have been vanishing. But the tournament is a minefield of ancient grudges and new threats and Alex can’t afford to miss a trick as his elusive adversary stays one step ahead in this most dangerous of games

My Thoughts

Another great book by Benedict Jacka. Now that Alex has official taken Luna as his apprentice, readers get glimpse of apprentice life including classes, politics, and an introduction to mage duels. When apprentices begin disappearing without a trace, Alex and Luna are asked to take part in a dueling tournament to discover what’s happening to the mage community’s young practitioners.

In Taken, readers are introduced to the mysterious Anne and Varium, life and fire apprentices respectively.  After an attempt on Anne’s life, Alex must visit her sponsor, Jagadev, a centuries old rakshasa with a dark history and questionable intentions. He also happens to look like a giant tiger and has his own army of goons. Along with old friends like Arachne and Sonders, a few old villains return for the fun as well as some new creepy and subversive players.

The world building in this novel is spectacular. We’re introduced to Fountain Reach, an old English manor house, built and re-built in sections over the years, giving it a sprawling, patchwork feel. To solve the mystery of the missing apprentices, Alex and his few allies traverse the maze-like halls to uncover a shadowy world of deadly secrets and hunt down the kidnapper.

With plenty of action, including teleporting constructs and deadly magic duels, Taken keeps readers on their toes. Like it’s predecessors, this book has plenty of bloody violence, destructive curses, and strong language, so I wouldn’t recommend it for the faint of heart.

I give this book Four out of Five Stars. If you’re looking for another exciting magic series, definitely check out the Alex Verus series!

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