Author: Benedict Jacka
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Setting: UK (primarily) and shadow realms
Series: Yes. Eleventh in the Alex Verus Series
Always spoiler free. However, as this is the eleventh book in the series, if you’ve not read all the books, there might be some slight spoilers for the earlier books in the review.
I’ve been reading the Alex Verus series for a while. This is maybe why it shouldn’t have been a complete surprise when I spotted an email from Amazon saying Forged had been downloaded onto my kindle. Yet, I was, because I definitely didn’t remember pre-ordering it (clearly done in my summer obsession of pre-ordering books from my fave authors).
Alex Verus is a diviner (can see the future). He runs a simple ‘mystic/magic’ shop in Camden Town. Well, he used to, nine books ago. Now he’s on the run from the Light Council thanks to…well a lot of things, but really no thanks to Anne at all.
I’ve always enjoyed these books. I find them easy Urban Fantasy reads, and I like Alex, who wasn’t a super overpowered MC but a bit conniving and cunning, sticking up for the underdog and all that.
There’s a flip switched at the end of the tenth book, which means you come into this book knowing it’s going to be darker in tone. However, it’s a change that’s been coming for a while, so I didn’t actually notice much of a tonal shift. I actually wanted him a bit more cackling and evil, all things said and done, as it would have had a bigger impact.
The book actually left me a bit…on a blah note to be honest. This is because he’s a little too practical about his decisions, which cuts the reader out of the moral dilemma of deciding if his actions are good or bad (something that was a big theme in the earlier books). You really need Luna or Anne to act as a counterbalance; to give a feeling of conscience, and with them both conspicuously absent for a lot of the book, the monstrosity of any action is lost and instead play out as being logical (even the Sonder bit is just…flat. I should have been shocked. I was indifferent.).
We’re reunited with a number of major and minor side characters in this book. Most of the interactions left me wanting a little bit more. I was a little bit disappointed about how the chips fell. A lot of that is because of the above, and also due to the inevitability of the plot, which doesn’t allow a lot of surprises.
Alex’s usual tricks (divining his path so he can survive…and other things), which honestly sometimes reminds me of that Nick Cage film (Next, an image that always makes me giggle), is getting a little samey as it’s the one thing he can do (broadly speaking, he’s limited to divination). That said, if it’s not broken, why fix it?!
There’s plot moving along here, but I think it’s mostly working towards the end game, as there were bits which seemed…like they didn’t really need to happen? Unless they are important for later plot points? It very much feels like there is a ticking clock (or ticking arm!) towards the end of the series (can’t be more than a few books, unless Jacka does a reset on the whole thing), so Jacka is just busy wrapping up plot points.
There was a somewhat satisfying ending to the book, but still more left hanging again for the next book.
Did I enjoy this book? Yes! Did I think it was the best in the series…no. Take that as you will.
Well Red Reviews
Would I recommend this book? Yes
On an amusing side point, someone on Reddit read this review and included it on a subreddit about Benedict Jacka (they were sharing a list of reviews of the Forged book). I read it but for piece of mind, let's assume the comments about me were lovely, because most internet comments often are (I'm joking, people are mostly entitled to their own views, and they may have felt very differently to my own review). They did helpfully point out that I had mistakenly written that it was the tenth in the series (spoiler, it's the 11th, which I've fixed), which shows either I can't count, I can't google, or I'm hopeless at proofreading. I'll go for all three, thanks. Also, on a side note, I'm a woman.