Fated (Early Review)

, by Kt Clapsadl

Fated by Benedict Jacka 
Alex Versus #1 

Alex Verus is part of a world hidden in plain sight, running a magic shop in London. And while Alex's own powers aren't as showy as some mages, he does have the advantage of foreseeing the possible future--allowing him to pull off operations that have a million-to-one-chance of success.

But when Alex is approached by multiple factions to crack open a relic from a long-ago mage war, he knows that whatever's inside must be beyond powerful. And thanks to his abilities, Alex can predict that by taking the job, his odds of survival are about to go from slim to none...

Alex is a diviner mage, able to see threads of the future, and all the possibilities therein. Unlike other mages, he can't cast spells or other types of offensive magic. But he doesn't need to when he can see every possible outcome of a situation, allowing him to succeed where others would fail. Even so, for the most part his life is quiet as he operates his small magic shop in London. However, all that changes when he is approached by multiple fronts wanting to use his powers to open a relic that encases an object of untold power. Trouble is that none of them are saying no, and they don't particularly care how they get his cooperation, no matter how brutal the method. For a man who can see all the possible future threads, he knows just how unlikely his survival will be in the end.

While I was reading Fated, I couldn't seem to quite put my finger on why I couldn't seem to get attached to Alex. I mean he was witty and quite resourceful, as well as more than a little curious, traits I really enjoy in a main character. However, I just couldn't figure him out, as his motives weren't really clear. He wasn't good, nor bad, nor even a mercenary, open to both sides, he was just blundering through with no other motivator than plain curiosity and survival. In all fairness, I'm not really sure if he even knew what he was doing himself. It just made it hard to really care about his plight, as simple survival isn't really enough in these types of situations, especially since he could have taken the chance to stay out of the mess entirely. That being said, I do think there was some turn around in the department by the end of the book as he started to really "find" himself, making me hopeful for the future installments.
There were so many different angles and threats in Fated, that it was a little hard to keep them all straight at times. In all honestly, the excess of dangers made it a little hard to find any of them really threatening, especially since it seemed rather easy for Alex to talk himself out of trouble each time. Also, there was an apparent back story in Alex's history that I wished would have been expanded upon. As it was, we only got glimpses as it was alluded to as a nasty ordeal, but I think with more information I could have understood Alex a little better, as well as his history with some of the threats.

The mythology behind Fated was quite intriguing. I always love books where the supernatural operate right under mundane human's notice, it just makes it seem more real. Almost as if we were to only look at things a little closer, we would see so much more going on in our world, and Fated was the perfect example of possibilities. There was so much potential in Fated based on the mythology alone, so it is a shame that in the end I'm left with the impression of mediocrity at best. The pacing was rather slow, and there were a lot of long winded, and quite unnecessary descriptions that really kept me at an arms length. It wasn't enough to turn me away from the story, but I wasn't fully engaged either. Add that into my difficulty attaching to the main character, and I can't help feeling a little let down. However, even though Fated may have been a rocky start to the series for me, I'm not writing it off quite yet, as I am more than a little curious to see where things lead next.

(Received a copy from the publisher)


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