Cursed by Benedict Jacka: Review

The second installment in my audio adventure with Alex Verus and his magic! I’m getting through these much quicker than I expected as I’ve been listening to these while driving or at the gym.

Some information about this book:

  • Release date: June 7th 2012
  • Published by: Orbit
  • Pages: 313
  • Genre: Urban Fantasy
  • Series: Alex Verus (#2)


Since his second sight made him infamous for defeating powerful dark mages, Alex has been keeping his head down. But now he’s discovered the resurgence of a forbidden ritual. Someone is harvesting the life-force of magical creatures—destroying them in the process. And draining humans is next on the agenda. Hired to investigate, Alex realizes that not everyone on the Council wants him delving any deeper. Struggling to distinguish ally from enemy, he finds himself the target of those who would risk their own sanity for power…


Cursed is the second book in the Alex Verus series by Benedict Jacka. It continues soon after where Fated left off (you can find my review for Fated here) with Alex and Luna dealing with the aftermath of the previous battles conquered. Alex is in his shop dealing with customers, most of whom are annoying or presumptuous when the danger finds him.

“I don’t sell spells, and I don’t sell tricks. I don’t carry illusions or marked cards or weighted coins. I cannot sell you an endless purse or help you win the lottery. I can’t make that girl you’ve got your eye on fall in love with you, and I wouldn’t do it even if I could. I don’t have a psychic hotline to your dead relatives, I don’t know if you’re going to be successful in your career, and I don’t know when you’re going to get married. I can’t get you into Hogwarts or any other kind of magic school, and if you even mention those stupid sparkly vampires I will do something unpleasant to you.”

This immediately brings in new characters and new dangers yet to be seen by us, the reader. This immediately gets you straight back into the action which is super important in Urban Fantasy since, I believe, the deep character development you see in epic fantasy is too hard to replicate without taking away from the pace of the Urban Fantasy genre.

What’s really cool is that you can immediately see that Benedict is building on the first story. He is taking favourites from there such as Arachni, the giant spider living on the heath who makes magical clothes, and Cinder, a dark mage dealing in fire who doesn’t like Alex Verus, and brings them back into the main storyline with each of them playing their own parts. Other characters return like Luna for example but these two just stood out to me.

“Congrats, you’ve just had your first assassination attempt.”

Alex takes us to places new in this story and places that only magic can go as we get to see what other, non-magic folk, can’t and it’s a good dive into this world, bringing you closer to the mechanics of the light and dark mages, the council and those that skirt their authority.

I raced through this book as once again I listened to this series on audio and I found the narrator more tolerable than last time – perhaps it was just me being new to audiobooks that caused a grumble in the first review – and I listed to this book on 1.5x for the majority and 1.6x near the end as I attune myself with faster speeds to get through these books quicker.

“As I walked, I started making a list of everyone in the mage world whom I’d opposed, fought with, or otherwise irritated. After I ran out of fingers to count on I decided to limit the number to people I’d pissed off relatively recently.”

Rating – 4/5 Benedict brings in new characters, enemies, magic and raises the stakes so that they’re more personal for Alex and friends. He takes us on a fast paced adventure involving magical creatures, bad light mages and for the most part, good dark mages. This is an urban fantasy story series worth reading. Benedict has done a great job of ramping up everything that made Fated good and I really can’t wait to get through the rest of the series and see how Alex and Luna handle everything. The possibilities are really limitless.

You can add Cursed to your Goodreads TBR here.

If you like science fiction and fantasy books then consider joining The Oasis Discord here – it’s free and has a great community, buddy reads, community reads and much more!

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