Taken (Alex Verus, #3)
Mage apprentices have been vanishing without a trace—and someone on the council might be involved. Alex Verus has no evidence, no witnesses, and no suspects. All he knows is that someone is keeping tabs on him. And after assassins target his own apprentice’s classmate, Alex sees that he doesn’t know the half of it—and that he could be the next to disappear...

Taken (Alex Verus, #3) Details

TitleTaken (Alex Verus, #3)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseAug 28th, 2012
PublisherAce
ISBN-139781937007720
Rating
GenreFantasy, Urban Fantasy, Magic, Fiction, Mystery, Paranormal

Taken (Alex Verus, #3) Review

  • Phrynne
    January 1, 1970
    Oh yes! Third in the series and still firing on all cylinders! This really is as good a series as the Dresden Files and I would just love to see Alex Verus team up with Harry Dresden to wipe the floor with all those nasty Dark Mages. Sorry. I have only just finished the book and I am still a bit excited:)Seriously, if you like this genre then this is a series for you to read. Verus is a delightful character - not one of those out to kill everybody type heroes, but more of a thinker and a planner Oh yes! Third in the series and still firing on all cylinders! This really is as good a series as the Dresden Files and I would just love to see Alex Verus team up with Harry Dresden to wipe the floor with all those nasty Dark Mages. Sorry. I have only just finished the book and I am still a bit excited:)Seriously, if you like this genre then this is a series for you to read. Verus is a delightful character - not one of those out to kill everybody type heroes, but more of a thinker and a planner and very adept at using all the magical skills he has been blessed with. The author writes well, the pacing is good, the action is exciting and all in all it is a good book! Loved it!
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  • Carole (Carole's Random Life in Books)
    January 1, 1970
    This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.This was really good! I had never heard of this series until my friend Anne decided to host a read along on her blog, Books of My Heart, this year. Since the pace was set at only one book per month, I decided that I could make enough room in my reading schedule to fit this series in without too much work. That has turned out to be a fantastic decision because I have had a great time with each installment.I really like both Alex and L This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.This was really good! I had never heard of this series until my friend Anne decided to host a read along on her blog, Books of My Heart, this year. Since the pace was set at only one book per month, I decided that I could make enough room in my reading schedule to fit this series in without too much work. That has turned out to be a fantastic decision because I have had a great time with each installment.I really like both Alex and Luna and I was really happy that this book focused so heavily on Luna and the other apprentices. It was great meeting a few new characters and seeing a little more about how their world works. Luna has now completely committed to her role as an apprentice and is working incredibly hard to meet the demands put on her. I really liked getting to see the relationships between the apprentices.I never tire of watching Alex in action. His ability to see into the future is so unique in useful as it is used in this story. I love the way he is able to make smart decisions quickly and takes responsibility for his actions. Alex is really just a great guy who is always looking to save the day and take care of those who need his help and he does it quite competently.I thought that the mystery in this book was very well done. I had no idea what was going on with the disappearing apprentices but I had a blast going along for the ride to find out. There was plenty of action and some completely unexpected antics to keep things really interesting. I love that this story kept me guessing until the very end.Gildart Jackson does a fantastic job with this series. He is the voice of Alex in my mind and I do think that he really does bring the character to life. I think that he does a great job with all of the character voices and dialogue always flowed nicely. I think he has a very pleasant reading voice and I enjoyed listening to his narration for hours at a time.I would recommend this series to others. This is the third book in the Alex Verus series which I do think would be best read in order if at all possible. I can't wait to get started on the next book in the series very soon.Initial ThoughtsThis was good. I liked getting to see some of the other apprentices. It feels like Alex is taking more of a leadership role and I really like that he doesn't care what others think of him. There was a lot of excitement and a bit of a mystery. The narrator did a fantastic job with this book.Book source: Audible purchase
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  • Tim The Enchanter
    January 1, 1970
    Top Shelf Urban Fantasy - 5 Stars Benedict Jacka raises his game in the third installment of the Alex Verus series. After a shaky start to the series, he has produced a book I can gladly display next to my favorite Urban Fantasy novels by Jim Butcher, Ben Aaronovitch and Larry Corriea. I have a soft spot for the wizard/mage who honestly attempts to solve a mystery. As in the early Dresden novels, the mystery and the investigation that takes centre stage. Taken first and foremost tells a great Top Shelf Urban Fantasy - 5 Stars Benedict Jacka raises his game in the third installment of the Alex Verus series. After a shaky start to the series, he has produced a book I can gladly display next to my favorite Urban Fantasy novels by Jim Butcher, Ben Aaronovitch and Larry Corriea. I have a soft spot for the wizard/mage who honestly attempts to solve a mystery. As in the early Dresden novels, the mystery and the investigation that takes centre stage. Taken first and foremost tells a great story. Beyond this it asks the question of "what does a real family look like" and explores the lengths that people (magical or not) will go to feed their obsessions. Plot summary Alex Verus, our friend with an eye on the future, is on the job once again. He is hired to look into the unexplained disappearances of mage apprentices. Apprentices are disappearing and no witness come forward and no clues are left behind. Mages walk into a building and never come out. In the midst of the disappearances, the apprentices are gathering for dueling tournament. The gathering is occurring a Fountain Reach, an old and mysterious house with secrets that Verus must expose. The Good 3, 4, 5 My star rating has steadily increases as the series has progressed. In the all important third novel, the author shows that Alex Verus is here to stay. My major problems with the first two novels was the treatment of the female characters and the disjointed story telling. In Taken, all of these concerns have been mitigated. Alex Verus shows that he can not only treat women with respect but can respect their abilities and strength. A sensitive but strong female character is introduced and his apprentice is treated as a student not a child. As far as the story is concerned, there is a linear flow. The reader is not left disoriented by disorganized storytelling. Multiple storyline parallel cleanly and converge with clarity. Overall the story is no longer a weakness as the author has shown significant growth as this series has progressed. Speaking of Growth It is not only the author that has shown growth as the series has progressed. If you have read the first two novels you will know that compared to most similar stories, the Mages in Alex Verus' world have a limited scope to their magical abilities. While at the outset of the series, I had the impression that a mage who main ability was to see into future, would quickly become boring. While the powers of Alex Verus have not seemingly grown, the sheer variety of mages have. Mind magic, life magic, time magic, space magic and elemental magic are all skill sets that are discussed and developed. This has kept the characters and story world from feeling stale. The Bad This time around, it appears I have very little criticism. There are multiple incidents where the author is prone to info dump. At times, Alex Verus is prone to the monologue but it does not, in my opinion, reflect poorly on the book. Final Thoughts I believe the third book of a series is the most important for an ongoing series. At this point, patterns are established and reader learns if the author has chosen to write with a strict formula or if they are seeking write dynamic stories. Taken is a prime example of how to do it right. Highly recommended. Audiobook Notes This is the first of the series in which I listened to the audio. Any minor deficiencies were covered by the narrators wonderful narration and tempo. An easy 5 star performance. Content Advisories It is difficult to find commentary on the sex/violence/language content of book if you are interested. I make an effort to give you the information so you can make an informed decision before reading. *Disclaimer* I do not take note or count the occurrences of adult language as I read. I am simply giving approximations.Scale 1 - Lowest 5 - Highest Sex - 1.5 There is very little that could be considered objectionable to most readers. There are a few instance where characters were revealing clothing and several instances where characters insinuate that there may be a romantic or sexual relationship between parties. Language - 2.5 Low use of mild obscenities and a handful of religious exclamation. A few instances of the f-word. Violence - 3.5 Characters are being abducted and much of the violence is inferred. Much of the story occurs during an apprentice dueling tournament. This involves fighting but little direct violence. There are several gruesome injuries. One from a magical attack, one a gun and one instance of a character having their throat cut. While moderately graphic, the scenes are short.Also reviewed at The Literary Lawyer
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  • Emma
    January 1, 1970
    Excellent! Interesting to learn more about different mages’ powers, and to meet two new characters. I love how Luna is developing - Learning how she can use her curse to her advantage. Alex Verus is a pretty cool dude.
  • Robin (Bridge Four)
    January 1, 1970
    The third book in a UF series is usually the one that I get to and it is the deciding factor in if I’m going to continue the series or give up on it. With both Fated and Cursed being very solid reads for me I wasn’t really worried but Taken is where the series is starting to shine and so I’m relieved and encouraged to continue on with the series.Alex is easy to root for. He isn’t the strongest, or nicest guy out there but he is smart and patient. Alex uses his gifts well and has spent time honin The third book in a UF series is usually the one that I get to and it is the deciding factor in if I’m going to continue the series or give up on it. With both Fated and Cursed being very solid reads for me I wasn’t really worried but Taken is where the series is starting to shine and so I’m relieved and encouraged to continue on with the series.Alex is easy to root for. He isn’t the strongest, or nicest guy out there but he is smart and patient. Alex uses his gifts well and has spent time honing them to be the best they can be. He can fight when he needs to but his first choice is always to avoid the conflict, hard to get hurt if you aren’t there. There is something genuine about him. I love that he knows who he is and accepts it. He isn’t the best guy, he has a pretty dark past and has done a few terrible things, but those are what drive him now to help others and it makes him a great Hero to base these stories on.Alex is amassing a nice collection of misfits. Prior to this we just had Luna, Arachne, Sonder and Starbreeze but in Taken we pick up a few misfit mages in Anne and Vari. It is nice to get to see Alex really grow into his role as Luna’s Mage Master in this. She is blossoming under his tutelage, learning how to control her curse and figuring out a way to make it work for her in a duel. Anne is a life mage and while healing is her main skill she can also take life too, do not mess with that chick. Vari is a fire mage with a hot temper, see what I did there. He is a little rebel without a cause and the only redeeming quality he has in the beginning is his devotion to protecting Anne, good to know there is more to him a little later on.This was another fun story that brings in even more of the magic community to the world and pits Alex against something that is killing mage apprentices. Also swinging into the mix is a Dark mage from the first book and his evil acolyte who still have a bit of a grudge against Alex for not dying during their last altercation. As always there isn’t much down time and I love that, there are fights, battles, duels and an unlikely villain. It is always a fun ride.I can’t wait to see what Alex and Co. get up to in the next installment.
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  • Mike (the Paladin)
    January 1, 1970
    I've had this on my currently reading list for a while, thought I ought to get around to reviewing it.These are joining my favorites list. I think the first Urban Fantasy I ever read was Harry Dresden. I burned through the ones that were already published then and have snapped up each as it's been released since. It also set me off on trying to find other UF books or another UF series that I'd like as well. Mostly I've been disappointed. I find that a huge percentage of what gets labeled urban f I've had this on my currently reading list for a while, thought I ought to get around to reviewing it.These are joining my favorites list. I think the first Urban Fantasy I ever read was Harry Dresden. I burned through the ones that were already published then and have snapped up each as it's been released since. It also set me off on trying to find other UF books or another UF series that I'd like as well. Mostly I've been disappointed. I find that a huge percentage of what gets labeled urban fantasy turns out to be paranormal romance (PNR)...it seems to me about 90% of what I pick up looking for UF turns out to be PNR. Of the actual UF I've found only a few were really good and I didn't think any came close to Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden series.Till I found these. I am I believe a fan of Benedict Jacka and plan to snatch the next Alex Verus book up as soon as I can. If you've followed the series up to this point you've gotten to know Alex and he's sort of building a reputation (that he'd often rather not have) with the magic community. As a diviner he isn't any great shakes in combat type magic. Things like blowing stuff up, setting stuff on fire, smashing stuff with force, these just aren't Alex's forte'. Still, he keeps going up against these types, completely out of his league, yet he's the one who comes through alive and walks away...Go figure.Now, apprentices are coming up missing. They're vanishing without a trace and even the best mages can't find a sign, so the powers that be "sort of" call Alex.Like an idiot he accepts.What follows it an exciting well crafted story that holds the interest (in my case this time in spite of my having to put the book down and read other things before I could get back to it). So, good characters. Both the characters and the story are pretty original. Okay I mean there are only so many places to go and most ideas have been touched on and if you really want to you can spot a few places where that's so here. That doesn't hurt the books however as it's all handled so well. You're not running on friendly, romantic vampires here...no vampire girlfriends or werewolf boyfriends and so on. Some magic creatures here are friendly and have to dodge notice as they've been largely killed off. Others hunt humans and seem to find us...toothsome.So, another in an enjoyable and well crafted brain-candy series. Highly recommended. Enjoy. Update note: I think the series has held up. I've read all that are in print and look forward to the next which is due out soon. I can recommend these.
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  • Bradley
    January 1, 1970
    Solid read that's building on the precognition premise, this time revolving around missing mage apprentices from both the light and dark camps. All are taken without a trace.What can go wrong? Well, for starters, Alex can pick up a few stragglers who might just want to go just as independent as he, for one. And we can do it all in the middle of a mage tournament he would never have considered attending, if he hadn't been forced to do it for the investigation.Oh, and Luna is getting beast. Gotta Solid read that's building on the precognition premise, this time revolving around missing mage apprentices from both the light and dark camps. All are taken without a trace.What can go wrong? Well, for starters, Alex can pick up a few stragglers who might just want to go just as independent as he, for one. And we can do it all in the middle of a mage tournament he would never have considered attending, if he hadn't been forced to do it for the investigation.Oh, and Luna is getting beast. Gotta love girls with bullwhips. I think I'm gonna like these new characters. Or at least, I'm going to like Ms. Life Mage. Quite a few beasts in the book. I'm looking forward to the kinds of plots twists this is going to bring us. Fortunately, Mr. Jacka knows how to set them up and knock them down. Quick and enjoyable reads, all of them.
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  • Felicia
    January 1, 1970
    Continue to love this series, I just LOVE IT. Urban Fantasy at its best, so great to see that by book three I'm still dying to know more about the main character, the world, and everything. I guess the relationship between Alex and Anne is a BIT odd, like someone gave the author a note about what direction it should be, but other than that, love this series!
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  • ᴥ Irena ᴥ
    January 1, 1970
    4.5I could probably find a couple of nitpicks if I tried really, really hard. But I won't. I had so much fun reading this book that I don't even care if there are any. The main premise is simple enough: mage apprentices have been vanishing and Alex is asked to find more about it. As this is the third book in the series, it's not surprising that nothing is that simple when Alex Verus gets involved. There isn't a single boring or even slower moment here. The best part? There are so many surprises 4.5I could probably find a couple of nitpicks if I tried really, really hard. But I won't. I had so much fun reading this book that I don't even care if there are any. The main premise is simple enough: mage apprentices have been vanishing and Alex is asked to find more about it. As this is the third book in the series, it's not surprising that nothing is that simple when Alex Verus gets involved. There isn't a single boring or even slower moment here. The best part? There are so many surprises throughout the book that it will keep you on your toes until the end. From his unexpected reactions to different situations and challenges or job offers from various parties to Luna finding her true strength to getting help from unexpected places to running and fighting, Taken has been more than fun. As for the villains, you'll hate them. Let's just say that I was even liking Onyx (who has a not very small role here, by the way) more than them.
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  • Eric
    January 1, 1970
    4 StarsAnother solid entry in the ongoing Alex Verus series. Once again, Alex is pulled in to help the Council on a job. This time it’s to investigate apprentices that are disappearing. 3 books in, and the Alex Verus books seem to be acquiring a routine. Not that it’s a bad thing, as I’m enjoying the routine. The pattern seems to be that Alex takes a job he reluctantly agrees to take, different factions attempt to pull him in different directions, and we explore a little bit more of the various 4 StarsAnother solid entry in the ongoing Alex Verus series. Once again, Alex is pulled in to help the Council on a job. This time it’s to investigate apprentices that are disappearing. 3 books in, and the Alex Verus books seem to be acquiring a routine. Not that it’s a bad thing, as I’m enjoying the routine. The pattern seems to be that Alex takes a job he reluctantly agrees to take, different factions attempt to pull him in different directions, and we explore a little bit more of the various aspects of the mage world, with a few fun action sequences thrown in. Taken was another hit for me. I enjoyed the deepening world building, and there were some interesting new characters that I’m hoping will stick around for future books. There were some exciting actions scenes too, including one memorable one that involved some teleporting bad guys. Alex Verus has turned into one of the more enjoyable urban fantasy series I’ve read, and after three good books, I’m looking forward to see where the story goes from here.
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  • Scott
    January 1, 1970
    I feel one of the best compliments I can give an author is that their work continuously gets better, and that is definitely true of Jacka. He writes a wonderfully tight story, with great pacing, and lots of interesting characters. This is most certainly becoming a favorite, and after the end of this book, I can't wait to see where it goes from here!
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  • Mark
    January 1, 1970
    These just keep getting better, just the right amount of tension and ending on a high.keeps me looking forward to the other books to come.
  • Veronica
    January 1, 1970
    This series is okay but there are too many things that bug me about it for it to ever rise above three stars IMO.1. The way Mage society is run makes no sense. It seems terribly inefficient and just dumb.2. It's hard to buy that Alex always has little tricks and spells to negate or lessen the impact of the powers of more powerful mages but none of those other mages ever seem to have anything to counteract Alex's powers.3. We're now three books in and none of the secondary characters have been fl This series is okay but there are too many things that bug me about it for it to ever rise above three stars IMO.1. The way Mage society is run makes no sense. It seems terribly inefficient and just dumb.2. It's hard to buy that Alex always has little tricks and spells to negate or lessen the impact of the powers of more powerful mages but none of those other mages ever seem to have anything to counteract Alex's powers.3. We're now three books in and none of the secondary characters have been fleshed out in any meaningful way. 4. I'm a visual person and I still have no clear mental picture of what Alex looks like. A little more desciptors would be welcomed. The action scenes are good but, really, I need more meat on these bones.
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  • Red Wolf
    January 1, 1970
    I have trouble praising books, I much prefer to criticize them cause it's easier. So that is what I will do. I have seen many reviews about books that say, " I couldn't put it down", "I read all night", etc. That is my complaint with this book. I have typically 5-8 books on my currently reading list. Some are very good others are ok. I have books on my phone, tablet, computer, and actual books in the bathrooms. The book I have in the second bathroom gets the least attention. The last time I read I have trouble praising books, I much prefer to criticize them cause it's easier. So that is what I will do. I have seen many reviews about books that say, " I couldn't put it down", "I read all night", etc. That is my complaint with this book. I have typically 5-8 books on my currently reading list. Some are very good others are ok. I have books on my phone, tablet, computer, and actual books in the bathrooms. The book I have in the second bathroom gets the least attention. The last time I read it, it was getting interesting. Then I started this novel, and I left all others behind, to sit and wait till I granted them an audience. I hat3e this book. Why? Because its over in such a short time. I am used to reading and leaving and returning to a book which gives me a lot of time to enjoy them. not so with this series. Read it get it done then what. Some one suggested these books as something to read till the next Dresden comes out. Well it's not out. Read these books get to know Mr. Verus and friends. You will be glad and pissed off at the same time, because you will read them tooo fast and you won't see your second bathroom book for way too long.
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  • Mandapanda
    January 1, 1970
    Persistence is paying off with this series. Alex is very slowly becoming more appealing as a hero and the growing cast of secondary characters are interesting. From the beginning I've enjoyed the myth-building behind this series. It makes sense and is different enough from everything else to make it feel unique.
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  • Charlie
    January 1, 1970
    There's just something really addictive about this series and I can't quite put my finger on what it is. Yet again, a super enjoyable book in the series and I'm excited to see what Alex gets up to in future adventures.
  • Anne - Books of My Heart
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 heartsIt was great to see Alex in his master role with Luna as his apprentice. I love smart and his careful thought about any situation is appreciated. Alex doesn't want to be involved but he cares about other people and particularly apprentices as he doesn't want to leave them hanging in the way he was left hanging. I'm looking forward to chosen as Alex continues to build his band of misfits, protect the underdogs and avoid the power hungry. Anne's  observations from Taken: Alex is adapt 4.5 heartsIt was great to see Alex in his master role with Luna as his apprentice. I love smart and his careful thought about any situation is appreciated. Alex doesn't want to be involved but he cares about other people and particularly apprentices as he doesn't want to leave them hanging in the way he was left hanging. I'm looking forward to chosen as Alex continues to build his band of misfits, protect the underdogs and avoid the power hungry. Anne's  observations from Taken: Alex is adapting to the master / apprentice role with Luna pretty well.. Talisid is right there, throwing Alex at problems every time.  He knows Alex's heart won't let him leave others in danger. Alex is well known now to the bad guys.  They are not opposed at all to using him, or getting rid of him. Like every good urban fantasy hero, Alex is starting to form an odd group of mixed allies. So far he has Starbreeze - the air elemental  and Arachne and Luna.  Now Sonder.  Maybe Anne and Vari  and the dragon?   Anne's questions from Cursed: I still wonder if Alex will now become more knowledgeable about the Council and who are the "players" in the Dark and Light mages to protect himself better. Will Sonder and the dragon now be part of the Verus band of misfit allies?      Sonder has joined, as I suspected. Will Alex find a way to remove her curse, maybe with some help from Arachne?  Luna is learning to control and now has a way to wield her magic. Luna relocked the force barrier with the cube but then where did the cube go? Does Alex have other friends, or mage friends we will meet? Will Alex ever be able to do anything about the cruel practices of dark mages? Will there be a romance for Alex? Talisid is right. People will start to notice how those going up against Alex disappear.  Alex is now on the radar; what will he do about it?   Anne's questions from Taken: I still wonder if Alex will now become more knowledgeable about the Council and who are the "players" in the Dark and Light mages to protect himself better. Will Anne and Vari and the dragon now be part of the Verus band of misfit allies?  Even though Alex says he won't take them as apprentices, will he coach them through to become full mages? Will Alex find a way to remove Luna's curse? Luna relocked the force barrier with the cube but then where did the cube go? Does Alex have other friends, or mage friends we will meet? Will Alex ever be able to do anything about the cruel practices of dark mages? Will there be a romance for Alex? Talisid is right. People will start to notice how those going up against Alex disappear.  Alex is now on the radar; what will he do about it? Will Alex ever be able to contact Starbreeze again, or find her? Is Lyle TSTL? He is lazy and weak, combined with a huge ego, a bad combination. Will he please get himself killed before he hurts too many other people with his power hungry stupidity?  Otherwise, I am afraid Alex will try to help him and get ensnared somehow. (KC)Will vampires be a future subject since it is hard to know if they are really all gone? (KC) Is Alex destined for a council position?  (KC) Will humans become a bigger threat, particularly to monsters and dark mages?  
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  • Melliane
    January 1, 1970
    Mon avis en FrançaisMy English reviewJ’avais vraiment passé un bon moment avec les deux premiers tomes et je trouve que l’auteur nous propose des romans qui sont de mieux en mieux, alors je peux vous dire que celui-ci est mon préféré pour l’instant et je suis impatiente d’en découvrir plus avec le quatrième volume maintenant !Alex et Luna vont être entrainés dans une nouvelle aventure quand des apprentis disparaissent un peu partout et que le conseil se tourne vers eux pour qu’ils découvrent ce Mon avis en FrançaisMy English reviewJ’avais vraiment passé un bon moment avec les deux premiers tomes et je trouve que l’auteur nous propose des romans qui sont de mieux en mieux, alors je peux vous dire que celui-ci est mon préféré pour l’instant et je suis impatiente d’en découvrir plus avec le quatrième volume maintenant !Alex et Luna vont être entrainés dans une nouvelle aventure quand des apprentis disparaissent un peu partout et que le conseil se tourne vers eux pour qu’ils découvrent ce qu’il se passe. Pourtant cette histoire est bien plus complexe que prévue et ils devront côtoyer d’autres apprentis ou des créatures cachées dans l’ombre. En plus de se mêler aux autres mages, nos héros vont aussi faire de nouvelles connaissances, tout en affrontant également d’anciens ennemis !J’ai vraiment passé un très bon moment avec ce roman et j’ai adoré suivre Alex et Luna. Leur enquête est vraiment prenante et j’étais impatiente de comprendre ce qu’il en était exactement. J’ai beaucoup aimé Anne, l’apprentie qui croise leur chemin et j’espérais en apprendre plus sur Variam. Je suis d’ailleurs assez impatiente de découvrir ce que la suite nous réservera à leur sujet, j’espère vraiment qu’ils y seront aussi !Comme je le disais, c’était une super suite et je suis vraiment impatiente d’avoir le prochain !
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  • Kathy Davie
    January 1, 1970
    Third in the Alex Verus urban fantasy revolving around an independent (well, he's trying not to belong to a faction) mage in Camden Town.My TakeI find Alex Verus' world fascinating. And, sad to say, sadly realistic with mages who are more interested in self-advancement, revenge, and power than doing the right thing. Alex, naturally, is one of the few good guys, interested in good and protecting others, and I love how Jacka easily lets us know how very powerful Alex is even as he balances it with Third in the Alex Verus urban fantasy revolving around an independent (well, he's trying not to belong to a faction) mage in Camden Town.My TakeI find Alex Verus' world fascinating. And, sad to say, sadly realistic with mages who are more interested in self-advancement, revenge, and power than doing the right thing. Alex, naturally, is one of the few good guys, interested in good and protecting others, and I love how Jacka easily lets us know how very powerful Alex is even as he balances it with Alex's difficulties.Whew, there are currents within currents in this story. Jacka tosses in so many questions that you won't be able to stop reading as you pursue those answers. It's not that the characters pull you in, but the way in which Jacka can take a basic plot and twist it all up according to the rules of this world he has created. In some ways, the world of Alex Verus reminds me of Kim Donovan's St. Viper's School for Super Villains series where our "accepted" beliefs in right and wrong are turned on their heads in these individual worlds.Hooie, Jagadev's club is practically bursting at the seams with the variety of people one can meet there. It's enough to make you want to sleep under the bed---after you've checked it for monsters!'Bout time...Alex has been telling Luna how dangerous it is to get involved in the mage world, and she's finally starting to get it.The StoryThe White Stone tournament is coming up, and people just love to show-off. Mages aren't any different from regular humans in this regard. When Crystal tenders an offer to Alex to be in charge of tournament security, she's shocked at his response. Although, it seems he'll be there with another purpose in mind: the Council has another dirty deed that needs dealing with. One that will have a huge impact on Alex's and others' lives, for apprentices are going missing.The CharactersAlex Verus is a diviner, able to see thousands of possible futures at a time, who just happens to run a magic shop in Camden Town. After events in the last two books, he's becoming the go-to guy for the Council. After events in Cursed , 2, Luna Mancuso is now formally Alex's apprentice, mostly so she can learn to control her curse. Since Jacka now refers to Luna as an Adept, I'm guessing she's moved up in power levels. Arachne is a ten-foot-tall spider who both weaves and designs beautiful clothes. David Sonder is a time mage who is more than a little interested in Luna. Some of Luna's fellow apprentices include the very polite Anne Walker, a Life mage; the vicious, tale-telling Natasha; Charles; and, the extremely suspicious Variam Singh, a fire mage. Anne and Variam's Master is Lord Jagadev, a rakshasa, who owns the Tiger's Palace, a club.Talisid, who looks more like an accountant than a mage, is involved with one faction of the Council. Lyle Trahelis is, well, more of a former friend of Alex's who is more interested in his own promotions, and he's teaching some of the apprentice classes. I'm curious as to what's in it for him as his only interest is in "status, advancement, prestige, and a position in the Council bureaucracy".Onyx is the enemy, a very deadly battle mage, from Fated , 1, the Chosen of Morden, who is himself one of the most powerful Dark mages. Sagash is a Dark mage who kidnapped Anne; Ebber is a Light mage who claimed he could help rescue her. Vitus Aubuchon was the mage who owned Fountain Reach previously. Hobson was a servant at Fountain Reach before Vitus disappeared. Crystal is a mind mage, and she's offered up her country home, Fountain Reach, for the White Stone tournament, an event at which mages and their apprentices do mock battle, sort of an Olympics of magic.The Council is the ruling body of Light Mages. Remember, "light" is just a term, as Alex puts it, at least the Dark mages are honest. The basic premise between mages---Light or Dark---is if you're not their tool, you're their enemy. Avenor and Travis are Council Keepers; think police. Sensitives are a step up from normals. They can "feel the presence of magic". Next up are the adepts who can "actually channel magic in a subtle way". Then there are the mages. Arrogant, self-absorbed, if they see something they want, they take it.The CoverThe cover is an electric pink-purple with an eyeview through bullet-cracked glass of the Thames overlooking the water traffic and London.The title sums it all up, for the apprentices are Taken.
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  • Leontiy Cristea
    January 1, 1970
    Taken is the third Alex Verus book—and so far it’s been my favourite. I began Taken with a pinch of salt: I’d not enjoyed Cursed very much at all and I was afraid that, for me, the series was slowly heading the way of the dodo. Thankfully, that didn’t happen and I’m going to stick around for more news of subsequent Alex Verus books. Handy, really, since Benedict Jacka commented on his blog earlier today about just this.Cursed was a boring, predictable flop for me, especially having had a few mon Taken is the third Alex Verus book—and so far it’s been my favourite. I began Taken with a pinch of salt: I’d not enjoyed Cursed very much at all and I was afraid that, for me, the series was slowly heading the way of the dodo. Thankfully, that didn’t happen and I’m going to stick around for more news of subsequent Alex Verus books. Handy, really, since Benedict Jacka commented on his blog earlier today about just this.Cursed was a boring, predictable flop for me, especially having had a few months to ruminate more over the whole thing. In that sense, Taken couldn’t be further removed from it. Well-plotted and intriguing, the third Verus book just raised the bar for the series.Alex Verus is a fate mage—a diviner, a seer—and given his activities of late, his services have been in increasingly higher demand. What most people forget, however, is that Verus isn’t a battle mage, neither is he hired security, and he certainly isn’t taking sides in the constant sometimes-cold-sometimes-not-so-cold war of intrigue between the Light and Dark mages. Still, with the White Stone tournament behind held at Fountain Reach, the ancient seat of one of the oldest dynasties in the mage world, and with apprentices disappearing without a trace and without witness, Alex finds that something is up and whether he likes it or not, as usual, he’s going to end up knee-deep.But that’s not all—with Luna now an apprentice, he’s got another reason to help find out where the missing apprentices are going. Without knowing the hows or whys, Luna is just as at risk as anyone else, as are the few classmates she’s managed to acquaint herself with despite the limitations of her curse. Among the apprentices Alex meets are two young mages who are gossiped and whispered about by the other apprentices, and the stories aren’t all peaches and cream. Allegedly apprenticed originally to Dark mages and now in the service of a demon, Anne and Variam are a mysterious pair and Alex is convinced there’s something darker at play.Naturally, with his own history with Richard and his dealings as a runaway apprentice, Alex knows nothing is ever quite as it seems. But with Variam’s aggression and dismissive attitude, and Anne’s shy, awkwardness, it’s difficult to get close enough to figure out what’s going on. Never mind the fact that every which way he turns, someone is pointing him towards Fountain Reach as the key clue as to the disappearances of the apprentices: it’s all too easy.Furthermore, the host of the White Stone, the current owner of Fountain Reach comes to Alex, trying to hire him as part of the security detail. But to Alex, that doesn’t make sense and instead of going to Fountain Reach, he tries to steer as clear as he can. But then when an attack on an apprentice flags on his precognition after a chance meeting and a hastily delivered invitation, an attack that looks a lot more like attempted murder than kidnapping, Alex isn’t sure there’s only one game at play.When all things point to Fountain Reach, Verus finds himself with little choice other than to go. With Luna as his excuse and with his apprentice eager to learn to use her talents and to start fitting into the mage world on another level, Alex heads for the mansion in the country in hopes of unravelling the mystery once and for all.Of course, things are never that simple, and when Alex begins to question the mansion’s history and the weird sensations and dreams he experiences when inside its walls, he begins to suspect that something much more complex and dark might be at play—but little does he realise that every strand that’s floating before him is part of one intricate weaving, coming together to form a big picture of power, desperation and revenge.To top it all off, Onyx is kicking about and Morden’s still not got the message about Alex working for him. Now he must investigate the disappearances, investigate the mansion and get to the bottom of the recurring threats centred around Anne and Variam, all whilst avoiding Onyx and his superior magic. It’s all in a day’s work for Alex Verus.Gripping and pacy, Taken is everything urban fantasy should be: it reminds me why I started reading Alex Verus so eagerly in the first place, and went a long way, single-handedly, in undoing the negative impression left by Cursed.Perfectly and tightly-plotted, with just the right balance of mystery and intrigue that compliments the “whodunit” setup, Taken achieves everything it set out to do—and more. It’s by far the best instalment of the series, and definitely shows that the episodic nature of the series serves it well. Exciting and thrilling, the third Alex Verus book sealed me as a firm reader and a fan of the series. I’m eager to see more and curious as to where the plot will be taken in subsequent books.But for now, the initial “trilogy” has been left on a high note, with Taken showcasing Jacka as one of the more imaginative and subtle urban fantasy authors of the moment.An urban fantasy mystery, with character and depth.
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  • Slategrey
    January 1, 1970
    This was probably my favorite of the Verus books so far - the writing seems to be developing a sparseness that appeals to me, and the world-building aspects were definitely kicked up a notch this time. I'm also finding the characters more sympathetic and relatable with each book, which is slowly making this one of my favorite series.Unfortunately, the ending was rather spoiled for me since the final setting, villain, and several scenes were extremely similar to those of the manga "Ghost Hunt", p This was probably my favorite of the Verus books so far - the writing seems to be developing a sparseness that appeals to me, and the world-building aspects were definitely kicked up a notch this time. I'm also finding the characters more sympathetic and relatable with each book, which is slowly making this one of my favorite series.Unfortunately, the ending was rather spoiled for me since the final setting, villain, and several scenes were extremely similar to those of the manga "Ghost Hunt", published around 2005. It probably wouldn't have been so noticable if the original source wasn't one of the all-time creepiest things that I've ever read, so the similarities actually enhanced my reading experience since I kept picturing the (terrifying) manga images. I'm hoping the similarities were unintentional, but they were oddly specific:(view spoiler)[- the house where the mystery happened was built with windows opening into other rooms and doors opening on nothing. Same for both.- when the house was rebuilt in this fashion, it covered up an underground hedge maze and a space where the villain was hidden. Same for both. - the hero/heroine had dreams of being taken underground through a dead hedge maze to a tiled room with a bathtub and a table with straps on it. Their throats were then slit. Same for both.- when going to rescue a companion, the hero/heroine reached the room only to realize that the bathtub was full of blood and the villain was rising slowly out of it. Same for both.- the villain was someone who feared death and wanted to extend their life however necessary. Same for both, but not exactly uncommon.- in the end, the villain can't be defeated without burning the house down entirely. No death scene for the villain. Same for both. (hide spoiler)]That oddness aside, I'd still rate the book highly because I enjoyed reading it so much. I'll be looking forward to Chosen!
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  • NyxShadow
    January 1, 1970
    Jamais tout à fait des coups de coeur, mais des romans que je n'arrive pas à lâcher et avec lesquels je suis SURE de passer un merveilleux moment.
  • Steve
    January 1, 1970
    I found this very difficult to put down, and I'm really enjoying how the series is developing. The premise of the book was fascinating, and the action picked up quickly. I was glad that some of the usual suspects didn't make a showing in this outing, but I suspect they will be back. The build-up to the climax, and the climax were rather delicious. I'm disappointed about a portion of the resolution, I'm hoping it will be resolved later in the series.
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  • Muffinsandbooks
    January 1, 1970
    J’ai mis un peu plus de temps pour rentrer dans l’histoire que les tomes précédents mais au final j’ai tout autant adoré 😍 l’univers, l’intrigue, les personnages ... Tout était top !
  • D.G.
    January 1, 1970
    Alex is the kind of character I love: he wins not because he's the strongest mage (he isn't) but because he's become really good with the gifts he has (his divination), he's super smart, he's worked hard to compensate for the things he lacks (he's become really good fighter in a world where mages only trust their magic), without any crazy ego (he's not afraid to run away if that's the safest choice) and he's ruthless when he needs to.I've loved every single of the books in this series. The inves Alex is the kind of character I love: he wins not because he's the strongest mage (he isn't) but because he's become really good with the gifts he has (his divination), he's super smart, he's worked hard to compensate for the things he lacks (he's become really good fighter in a world where mages only trust their magic), without any crazy ego (he's not afraid to run away if that's the safest choice) and he's ruthless when he needs to.I've loved every single of the books in this series. The investigation is always interesting and this one was so CREEPY!! At the beginning of the series I thought Luna would be a love interest but now it seems she'll be more of a sidekick. Now my sights are set for Anne for that role. We'll see!
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  • Soo
    January 1, 1970
    Thus far, this is my favorite book in the series! Gildart Jackson does such a great job with the books that I'm not sure if I could listen to him narrate for another author without connecting him to Alex. Over the past year, Alex has gone from being a quiet shop owner to a somewhat infamous person worthy of note in the magic community. While he welcomes the change to his freelance work opportunities, Alex could do without the pandering and moronic overblown attention that comes with fame.Magic s Thus far, this is my favorite book in the series! Gildart Jackson does such a great job with the books that I'm not sure if I could listen to him narrate for another author without connecting him to Alex. Over the past year, Alex has gone from being a quiet shop owner to a somewhat infamous person worthy of note in the magic community. While he welcomes the change to his freelance work opportunities, Alex could do without the pandering and moronic overblown attention that comes with fame.Magic students are being taken with no clues left behind. There's no pattern to the disappearances and none of the council mages can find the apprentices. Alex is brought into the investigation and tasked to find out whatever he can. Even with the information given right before my nose, it took a while for me to get a clear idea of what was going on and I really love that! I don't like it when I figure out the details of a mystery too easily. It's nice to read a story and have more than a few surprises pop up until the very end.There are fun new aspects of magic mechanics for known skills and new ones. An action packed, dangerous mission that puts more than one life in danger. The lines of allies and enemies are clear but how that colors their choices are not. Motives are suspect and the only certainty is the fact that Alex will do whatever he must to protect those he takes under his wing. It's really easy to forget that Alex has a fierce, committed side that will not hesitate to take a life if need be. Everything about him is understated but he's actually a very smart man with a keen sense of honor and healthy respect for life for all. There's not a bunch of growth in any of the characters but I really feel that there's more depth to everything from setting, magic lore, characters and relationships. Alex's circle grew larger in this book and it totally fits because he is finally letting his world be more than the shop. It's like he's letting his magic really breathe and live.
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  • Ami
    January 1, 1970
    When Talisid approaches Alex for a case -- mages have noticed apprentices vanished without a trace (or proofs) -- it takes Alex and his apprentice Luna to Fountain Reach, where magic tournament called White Stone is held. On top of the missing apprentices, one of Luna's classmates, Anne, seems to be having a death target on her back...------------With magic tournament and secrets inside a wall, I can't help thinking about Harry Potter in this one :). I keep wondering whether the winner of the to When Talisid approaches Alex for a case -- mages have noticed apprentices vanished without a trace (or proofs) -- it takes Alex and his apprentice Luna to Fountain Reach, where magic tournament called White Stone is held. On top of the missing apprentices, one of Luna's classmates, Anne, seems to be having a death target on her back...------------With magic tournament and secrets inside a wall, I can't help thinking about Harry Potter in this one :). I keep wondering whether the winner of the tournament will get The Goblet of Fire *lol*.Anyway, I enjoy how Alex in this book has taken a role more like a teacher (to Luna) and protector (to Luna's friend). It's good that Luna's position as apprentice has been firmly established -- no more of that confusion whether Luna will be his friend (or at one time, I thought would be his love interest). It's great to see Luna's power getting stronger too, and that she shows her ability as apprentice by controlling her curse (and makes it as a weapon). Anne, the classmate, is intriguing as well as scary. She is (view spoiler)[a life mage (hide spoiler)] and her power is unique and strong. There are two mysteries here -- one is regarding the missing apprentices and the other is the one behind the attempts to kill Anne. The missing apprentice's case is slightly easier to guess ((view spoiler)[I know that Crystal has something to do with it, the first time Alex heard her talking to the wall -- though the identity of the man she talked to is well-kept (hide spoiler)]). The second mystery is a bit more difficult, with a twist that relates to who Anne really is.The action is well-paced and it's good to see a couple of recurring characters like Talisid or Sonder (the helpful time mage), although I miss Starbreeze (the scattered brain elemental) a lot. Another great addition to the series. I love it!
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  • Dr susan
    January 1, 1970
    "There was a chorus of screams, one of which might have been mine." A reader has to love a man who admits in a grammatically correct sentence that he girly screamed. And that same reader needs to remember that laughing out loud in public is a hazard of reading the Verus books. I finished Taken and went straight to Jacka's website, with my fingers crossed, to check for news of Verus #4 and found it! The new characters are great; Luna's abilities are growing; the horror is less quiet, and the writ "There was a chorus of screams, one of which might have been mine." A reader has to love a man who admits in a grammatically correct sentence that he girly screamed. And that same reader needs to remember that laughing out loud in public is a hazard of reading the Verus books. I finished Taken and went straight to Jacka's website, with my fingers crossed, to check for news of Verus #4 and found it! The new characters are great; Luna's abilities are growing; the horror is less quiet, and the writing remains phenomenal ( but I do miss the sparkly, 'flighty' Starbreeze). Readers have been spoiled by getting the first 3 books so quickly. The wait for #4 will seem endless.
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  • Aya
    January 1, 1970
    Alex Verus: 3This book seemed less put together than the previous. There's a lot of things going on, a huge cast of characters, and several plot threads running all over the place. The author manages to tie most of the threads together by the end, but still leaves a few hanging. On the plus side, Luna wasn't acting like a spoiled brat in this book. A good read, but not on par as the previous two.
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  • Chip
    January 1, 1970
    Nah. Done with these. Just too silly/inconsistent/illogical. I highlighted a bunch of annoying stuff when kindling it, but not bothering to check back through that now. Sorry folks.
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