Marked (Alex Verus, #9)
Mage Alex Verus is hanging on by a thread in the ninth urban fantasy novel from the national bestselling author of Burned.When Mage Alex Verus ends up with a position on the Light Council, no one is happy, least of all him. But Alex is starting to realize that if he wants to protect his friends, he'll need to become a power player himself. His first order of business is to track down dangerous magical items unleashed into the world by Dark Mages.But when the Council decides they need his help in negotiating with the perpetrators, Alex will have to use all his cunning and magic to strike a deal--and stop the rising tension between the Council, the Dark Mages, and the adept community from turning into a bloodbath.

Marked (Alex Verus, #9) Details

TitleMarked (Alex Verus, #9)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJul 5th, 2018
PublisherOrbit
ISBN-139780356507217
Rating
GenreFantasy, Urban Fantasy, Magic, Paranormal, Fiction

Marked (Alex Verus, #9) Review

  • Emma
    January 1, 1970
    At book 9 in the series, we’re all getting to know Alex Verus pretty well. As usual, he’s stuck right in the middle of all the drama, with any number of people out to kill him and more than his fair share of bad days. While Morden’s cooling his heels in prison awaiting trial, Alex has taken over the Dark Mage seat on the Junior Council, giving him a chance at gaining influence right at the top of Mage society. It’s not that easy, of course, at least three of the seven Senior Councillors flat out At book 9 in the series, we’re all getting to know Alex Verus pretty well. As usual, he’s stuck right in the middle of all the drama, with any number of people out to kill him and more than his fair share of bad days. While Morden’s cooling his heels in prison awaiting trial, Alex has taken over the Dark Mage seat on the Junior Council, giving him a chance at gaining influence right at the top of Mage society. It’s not that easy, of course, at least three of the seven Senior Councillors flat out want him dead and this makes discussions somewhat… unproductive. They don’t want Alex taking part in any Council deliberations, but the Vault theft in the previous book brought a lot of imbued magic items into the wrong hands, and he’s the one leading most of the salvage operations. He’s too damn useful, especially as a potential negotiator between Light and Dark Mages in their quest to get back what was lost.The opening sequence has Alex and a Keeper team out for an aggressive retrieval, one which has him using his new Matrix-style bullet dodging and fight master status. Not something he’s particularly utilised as much in this way before, but it’s effective, if a little bit of a late entry in to the power playbook. It does fit well with his blasé attitude about people trying to kill him, repeatedly brushing it off with the usual humour: ‘Isn’t that bounty on you still open?’ Luna asked.‘Yes, but they haven’t actually tried to drag me off the streets’.‘They bribed a guy to kill you less than three hours ago,’ Varium said.‘It wasn’t a serious assassination attempt’.Varium, Anne, and Luna all looked at me.'What?’ I asked.There’s some great dialogue in general, especially the interactions with all the baddies who show up, including Deleo, Onyx, and, my personal favourite, Cinder. Pretty much all of the most interesting people in the series are Dark Mages, especially Richard Drakh, who remains mysteriously just out of reach. There are hints about his plans but little extra about him as a person, and his magic has still never been properly revealed. So the surprises come not from the villains we know, but ones we don’t expect. It’s an interesting choice, but not entirely convincing, being somewhat forced to fit the direction of the plot rather feeling like an authentic character path. The main problem with this instalment is that apart from some battle set pieces, it’s just not as exciting as the ones that have come before. Part of issue is the info dumping moments when Alex is talking to the reader and explaining the inner workings of the Council. The other part is the focus is on relationships, specifically that between Alex and Anne. In Bound, Alex seemed determined to take control of his destiny, stop reacting and start planning for the future. All positive, take charge stuff. Yet in this he kind of faffs around asking everyone about Anne and what’s wrong with her and what should he do to help her or fix her or something. The answer is always the same. Talk to Anne. And does he? Sort of. But first he spies on her and then has lots of half conversations with her, while endlessly thinking about her and their potential relationship. Honestly, it’s all a bit pathetic. On the other hand, his friendships remain an essential part of his nature, one of the reasons he keeps trying to power up is to make sure he has the skills necessary to keep them safe. And what this book does very well is delving into the other reasons he might want more control, more strength, more influence. Those darker ones that have nothing to do with protection and everything to do with his personal desire for power, something that has been skirted round before. He chose to be Richard Drakh's apprentice, after all. Perhaps he’s not the altruistic saviour he sometimes considers himself to be. Now this is the kind of internal drama I can get behind.Maybe all this stuff was necessary, but it’s not moving the story forwards enough. It felt like filler and the ending was a little too over emotional for me. I love this series enough to feel disloyal saying that, but as so many UF fans know, when this starts to happen in a long running series it tends to indicate a rather serious decline is coming right afterwards. Some authors pull it back (Jim Butcher after Ghost Story/Ilona Andrews after Magic Shifts for example) sometimes bringing it even harder than ever….but it gives me anxiety. I hate the thought that I might have to lose another group of friends. (Damn you Laurel K Hamilton, I’m still bitter). I’m not over it yet, not by a long shot, but things need a really big shake up. And I don’t mean a wedding. Unless it’s a red one.ARC via publisher
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  • Phrynne
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoyed this ninth outing with Alex Verus. I felt as though I had been waiting for this book to be published for ages!The first few chapters had just a teeny bit too much recapping and explanation for people who have been with the series since book one. Useful though for those who have not. After that though things were up and running as usual and Alex and friends were back in constant action.I very much like the way the character of Alex has evolved. He has really discovered all the us I really enjoyed this ninth outing with Alex Verus. I felt as though I had been waiting for this book to be published for ages!The first few chapters had just a teeny bit too much recapping and explanation for people who have been with the series since book one. Useful though for those who have not. After that though things were up and running as usual and Alex and friends were back in constant action.I very much like the way the character of Alex has evolved. He has really discovered all the uses of his power of divination now and I loved the way he knew that a bullet was coming from behind him and just moved his head to the side so it missed. Very cool. Also useful to all of the team and to the progress of the story is the ability to communicate in their heads without speaking. Really handy when you are creeping around in the enemy stronghold. Nice ending too with Alex at last admitting what we all knew several books back. Good work Mr. Jacka. I hope you are very busy writing book 10.
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  • Bradley
    January 1, 1970
    OMG, I couldn't be happier with that ending. :)Jacka has been one of my favorite go-to guys for UF series ever since another fireball-flinging wizard stopped gracing the page. Ahem, D.Fortunately, Alex Verus has all the snark and even more magical goodies and artifacts and a much nastier set of problems to deal with.Like being a replacement for Morden on the White Mage council and living up to the issue of leadership. Yeah, leadership. WEIRD.Anyway, a sting operation trying to bring down Richard OMG, I couldn't be happier with that ending. :)Jacka has been one of my favorite go-to guys for UF series ever since another fireball-flinging wizard stopped gracing the page. Ahem, D.Fortunately, Alex Verus has all the snark and even more magical goodies and artifacts and a much nastier set of problems to deal with.Like being a replacement for Morden on the White Mage council and living up to the issue of leadership. Yeah, leadership. WEIRD.Anyway, a sting operation trying to bring down Richard is well underway, but it's the personal developments I like even more.TOTAL POPCORN GOODNESS. :) I dance every time one of these books come out?
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  • Kathy
    January 1, 1970
    Adventure writers can go two ways with their series: They can either entangle their hero in a series of adventures, loosely linked but not necessarily sequential, or the hero can adventure while striving towards a goal. Wizard series tend towards the second, where the hero perhaps gets himself in a mess in an early story, then works to resolve the knotty problem in books 2-N. Think of Harry Dresden or Simon & Montague or Harry Potter or the Iron Druid. Or Alex Verus in Benedict Jacka’s excel Adventure writers can go two ways with their series: They can either entangle their hero in a series of adventures, loosely linked but not necessarily sequential, or the hero can adventure while striving towards a goal. Wizard series tend towards the second, where the hero perhaps gets himself in a mess in an early story, then works to resolve the knotty problem in books 2-N. Think of Harry Dresden or Simon & Montague or Harry Potter or the Iron Druid. Or Alex Verus in Benedict Jacka’s excellent series.Marked, book 9 in Jacka’s series, starts with Alex seated (rather precariously) on the junior council of Light Mages in Britain. In the first two books Alex is refreshingly honest, with simple goals: Stay alive and keep his friends healthy and alive. Sadly for him, Alex apprenticed to a Dark Mage before leaving in revulsion. Also he is a very skilled diviner and lots of people want to use him. Other people want to use him to get to the Dark Mage leadership – a place Alex vehemently rejects and fled for his life to avoid a few books ago in Burned. Now he is trapped as the aide to the one Dark Mage with a seat on the Council. His boss is in mage jail so Alex temporarily holds the seat.Marked picks up with the same grim feeling we saw first in Burned, then Bound. Alex has too many enemies and is too well known to simply slide off into obscurity. He lost that choice a few books back when he tried to throw his lot in with the Light Mages. Now Alex believes his only hope is to get so powerful that no one wants to go after him and he can choose what he does. This opens the story up for many plot threads but we lost the charming young mage we met in the first few books.Jacka brings a few new twists to the story. Earlier Alex implied that young mages didn’t have a lot of choice. They could apprentice with a Light or a Dark, they could attend the Light apprentice program, or they could remain adepts who are at everyone’s mercy. This time Alex muses that the declared Light and Dark mages are a fraction of the total; he says the majority are neutral, independents. It isn’t clear how one becomes (or stays) independent, and we’re left to wonder whether Alex could have lost the target on his back if he had not made waves, had been independent. Apparently it is too late for that and Alex will move forward.CharactersAs you can see from the discussion about Alex’s choices, Jacka makes his characters into real people that we care about. We identify with and root for Alex as he threads between morality and survival. I’m not sure I’d have made the same choice he did, but I care that he did make it and want him to succeed. (Of course, if your primary goal is survival then eventually you will lose.)Alex is a thinker who is growing into a deadly doer; in fact he isn’t always thinking as well as he should. He goes to ask the dragon under Arachne’s home some questions but doesn’t seem to absorb what he learns. (Typical of dragon foretelling, the answers are cryptic to useless.)Alex has matured considerably in the nine books. He’s gained and lost friends, gained power, gained cynicism and gained too many enemies. He always has good reason for what he does but it doesn’t always work and other people end up holding the bag – and holding a grudge against Alex.Marked spends as much time on Anne as on Alex. Anne is both the hero and the villain; Alex relies on her, saves her; is saved by her. Anne is enigmatic and it will be interesting to see how her character develops.Anne wants to be a mage and live a normal life, to have a family, friends. She got abducted and trained to kill as a teen and from that experience developed all sorts of deadly skills. She shoved the immoral parts of her personality into a fortress, walled it off and threw away the key because she didn’t want to kill. Alex encounters this non-Anne a few times and so far Anne is unwilling to integrate her two sides. That may be book 10.Back StoryThe Light Mage council and its adherents are a typical bunch of academics/middle managers/PTA bosses. They like to play games about dominance and face and will bicker and debate endlessly before taking action. And when they do take action they aren’t too concerned about things like other people or truth or morality. Yet Jacka made this believable – in fact it’s more believable than the benevolent, altruistic Council that some books about wizards and magic have. People are people whether mages or not, and that’s how people act.These mage leaders, both light and dark, seem motivated by power and greed for more power. The revelation that the council is actually a minority of mages makes this more believable. Most people do not dedicate their lives to power. In Marked we see that is true for most mages too.Even so, the endless threats that Alex faces seem a bit over the top. He doesn’t seem to know how to gain a power base of people, aside from his friends, and is the obvious scapegoat for everything that goes wrong. I hope he learns to expand his definition of “power” to include influence based on wisdom, credibility, helpfulness and not just raw magical power.OverallJacka writes well and Marked has good dialogue, interesting, likable characters. Marked has more action and a little less reflection than prior novels in the series, that combined with Alex’s declared intention to amass as much power as possible to ensure he and his friends survive makes the story a little less appealing than the prior novels. I like Alex but I liked him a little more when he was the earnest want-to-do-good guy. He still wants to do good and he still does good but he’s harder edged now, not as pleasant a chap.My rating here would be 4+ or just under 5. Marked is solid, excellent story and characters, but I don’t feel like it is quite a 5 star novel.
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  • Beth
    January 1, 1970
    Strong, likable characters all embroiled in magical mayhem, machinations and power grabs, even if they don’t want to be. Unexpected twists and shocking revelations, engage and captivate this novel’s audience. I received this ARC copy of Marked from Berkley Publishing Group - Ace. This is my voluntary and honest review. Marked is set for publication July 3, 2018.My Rating: 4 starsWritten by: Benedict JackaSeries: Alex VerusSequence in Series: 9Print Length: 320 pagesPublisher: Ace Publication Dat Strong, likable characters all embroiled in magical mayhem, machinations and power grabs, even if they don’t want to be. Unexpected twists and shocking revelations, engage and captivate this novel’s audience. I received this ARC copy of Marked from Berkley Publishing Group - Ace. This is my voluntary and honest review. Marked is set for publication July 3, 2018.My Rating: 4 starsWritten by: Benedict JackaSeries: Alex VerusSequence in Series: 9Print Length: 320 pagesPublisher: Ace Publication Date: July 3, 2018Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLCGenre: Romantic FantasyAmazon: https://www.amazon.com/Marked-Verus-N...Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/mark...Itunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/mark...For more reviews check out Tome Tender's Book Blog or find us on Facebook. 
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  • All Things Urban Fantasy
    January 1, 1970
    Review courtesy of All Things Urban FantasyThe Alex Verus series is consistently strong and entertaining which is impressive since it is so easy to fall into the trap of getting stale or repetitive as a series nears the double digits. MARKED, the ninth book in this series is no exception. It hits the ground running with the tiniest of time spent on rehashing developments from previous books. It's grimmer because the stakes are higher now with Alex's enemies drawing nearer. We delve more into the Review courtesy of All Things Urban FantasyThe Alex Verus series is consistently strong and entertaining which is impressive since it is so easy to fall into the trap of getting stale or repetitive as a series nears the double digits. MARKED, the ninth book in this series is no exception. It hits the ground running with the tiniest of time spent on rehashing developments from previous books. It's grimmer because the stakes are higher now with Alex's enemies drawing nearer. We delve more into the politics of Light and Dark mages and Alex and his friends meet with more dangerous battles as the magic they are up against is more powerful. I like the way each book in this series slowly ramps up the danger building up slowly over the series and also how the characters naturally evolve due to their experiences.As the books have matured, Alex has matured as well over the series growing his network of friends, enemies, and increasing in power and responsibility through his position on the Light Council. The battles in MARKED are fun to read mainly because of Alex's diviner powers. It's an awkward analogy but I think of Neo from The Matrix moving in slow motion narrowly avoiding bullets whenever Alex sees the future possibilities and reacts in time to avoid danger.MARKED is captivating storytelling with unexpected twists and revelations, political power grabs, and magical mayhem. It's solid urban fantasy goodness and I'd recommend starting at the beginning not only because this is a really good series to read but it get complicated fast.
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  • Josh
    January 1, 1970
    I have a major problem with this series.It doesn't come out fast enough.Can't really get enough of it. It's easily the most badass a diviner has ever been in just about any lit I can think of, and Jacka does such a nice job of making his magic system make sense while still allowing it to be mysterious, interesting and frankly magical.A lot of what Jacka is writing about in this series is power. The magical powers of his main characters and the various mages and adepts they encounter, but also a I have a major problem with this series.It doesn't come out fast enough.Can't really get enough of it. It's easily the most badass a diviner has ever been in just about any lit I can think of, and Jacka does such a nice job of making his magic system make sense while still allowing it to be mysterious, interesting and frankly magical.A lot of what Jacka is writing about in this series is power. The magical powers of his main characters and the various mages and adepts they encounter, but also a lot about the power that people have over each other, the power in structures and relationships, and what people will do to accumulate it and why. At the heart of it, that's what these books have been about: power. the manipulation of people who have it and those who want it, the accumulation of power through personal growth and through the acquisition of others (items or controlling people or creatures). It's really interesting and well done. Alex Verus starts out as a guy wanting to stay out of everything and just stay alive minding his own business. Now, he's a force to be reckoned with and a power in his own right and watching him come to terms with that is important growth, I think. The ongoing conflict between "Dark" and "Light" mages is really well managed as well because of the level of seriousness Jacka treats it and the amount of nuance he's placed on it. You have the evil-ass stereotypical Dark Mage but you've got ones that are pretty reasonable and decent people that reasonably make you understand that Dark doesn't have to be Evil. And the narrow, soulless, bloodless attitudes of some of the Light Council makes it neigh impossible to root for them either. But there are paragons on that side too. But its not a simple conflict.Excellent stuff. Looking forward to book 10!
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  • Steffan
    January 1, 1970
    4.5/5 stars
  • D.G.
    January 1, 1970
    OMG, I'm going to have to wait a year for the next book?Loved this story. The plot, the dilemmas, how Alex is not black or white, but something in between. I specially liked Councilor Verus taking charge.If there's something I want for the next book is freaking Anne to get with the program. How many times has she gotten kidnapped in this series? 4? 5? She needs to get her head out of her ass and realize that whether she likes it or not, she's powerful and people want her. It's not that she has t OMG, I'm going to have to wait a year for the next book?Loved this story. The plot, the dilemmas, how Alex is not black or white, but something in between. I specially liked Councilor Verus taking charge.If there's something I want for the next book is freaking Anne to get with the program. How many times has she gotten kidnapped in this series? 4? 5? She needs to get her head out of her ass and realize that whether she likes it or not, she's powerful and people want her. It's not that she has to "save herself" (she really can't do it alone, she needs help) but if she was a bit more willing to take care of business, her friends wouldn't be in jeopardy in every single book. I hope that Alex finds a way to keep that council seat. He totally rocks it there.
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  • Cass
    January 1, 1970
    4,5/5
  • Bart
    January 1, 1970
    Actual rating: 3.75
  • Lianne Pheno
    January 1, 1970
    http://delivreenlivres.blogspot.com/2... Un tome qui était un peu plus de transition que les précédents, mais ça ne l'a pas empêché d'avoir de grosses révélations qui surmènent et d'être vraiment fun du début à la fin.Pour rappeler le contexte de la série voici un peu le background général de l'histoire du personnage principal :Alex Verus, devin (il est capable de voir tous les futurs proches possibles), était un adolescent perdu qui ne comprenait pas ses pouvoirs. Après avoir fugué de chez ses http://delivreenlivres.blogspot.com/2... Un tome qui était un peu plus de transition que les précédents, mais ça ne l'a pas empêché d'avoir de grosses révélations qui surmènent et d'être vraiment fun du début à la fin.Pour rappeler le contexte de la série voici un peu le background général de l'histoire du personnage principal :Alex Verus, devin (il est capable de voir tous les futurs proches possibles), était un adolescent perdu qui ne comprenait pas ses pouvoirs. Après avoir fugué de chez ses parents, humains sans magie, il c'est accroché à la première personne qui a su le rassurer et l'a pris sous son aile, Richard Drakh. Il ne savait pas à l'époque que cette personne était un des mages noirs les plus puissants, tout comme il ne savait pas que ceux ci s’opposaient aux mages blancs. Après des années de mauvais traitements et de dangers constants qui ont transformé sa vie en enfer, il c'est échappé et c'est tenu à l'écart de toute la politique tout en essayant de faire bonne figure auprès des mages blancs qui sont les seuls à pouvoir le protéger contre son ancien maitre. Mais ceux ci se méfient de lui, pour eux il est corrompu par son expérience et il restera un mage noir dans son cœur pour toujours.La série commence ainsi, et ensuite Alex se retrouve dans plein de complots et machinations qui l'obligent à s'impliquer pour survivre.Dans ce tome ci, Alex est maintenant devenu un membre du Conseil Junior des mages blancs. En fait il a pris la place de celui qui l'avait obligé à travailler pour lui sous la menace, à savoir Morden, un autre mage noir qui a fait tout une campagne pour se faire accepter et donner leurs voix aux autres mages dans le conseil, et qui a fini emprisonné parce qu'il a participé à une opération dangereuse. Bien sur Alex ne soutient pas les mages noirs et il utilise son influence pour représenter à la place les indépendants, ceux qui, comme lui, ne sont ni blancs ni noirs, ainsi que ceux qui ont trop peu de pouvoirs pour être désignés comme des mages mais qui ne sont plus non plus des humains normaux.L'histoire commence alors qu'Alex est chargé par certains mages blancs de convaincre Morden de leur livrer Drakh en échange de sa liberté. La situation étant d’autant plus plus complexe que maintenant les mages noirs possèdent tout un lot d'artefacts très dangereux qu'ils ont volés au conseil. Mais Alex n'a pas le choix, il doit une fois encore renouer ses liens avec les mages noirs pour exécuter sa mission ...Comme toujours dans cette série la situation de départ est complexe, un vrai sac de nœuds, et Alex doit faire de son mieux pour naviguer au milieu des objectifs de tout un tas de personnes très dangereuses qui sont ravies de mettre la main sur lui et de le manipuler pour atteindre leur but. Son pouvoir unique le sert et le dessert aussi car ses ennemis savent qu'il peux voir le futur sur le court terme et jouent la dessus pour lui faire faire des erreurs en leur faveur. On a un peu l'impression que tous les puissants du monde sont dans une espèce de valse mortelle et qu'Alex est bloqué en son milieu, ne pouvant que se raccrocher aux branches en espérant y survivre. C'est aussi ça qui rend la série fascinante et passionnante. Aucun des personnages n'est vraiment totalement blanc et Alex n'est qu'un pion pour eux, a lui de se débrouiller pour s'en sortir. En fait on fini par adorer haïr un bon nombre de personnages dans cette série, la caractérisation est vraiment bien faite. Alex a bien entendu des alliés, notamment Luna une jeune femme capable de manipuler et de modifier la chance et Anne une mage de vie qui peut se servir de la vie comme énergie, aussi bien pour guérir ou pour tuer. Ces alliés sont finalement à la fois la force d'Alex et sa faiblesse. Surtout maintenant que Drakh a décidé de mettre la main sur Anne pour la faire changer de camp. On est dans un tome très important pour la suite car il crée des développements inattendus et qui pourraient tout changer dans le futur, mais pourtant pendant une bonne partie il donne l'impression d'être un tome intermédiaire car ce qu'il s'y passe est finalement moins lié à l’intrigue principale que les tomes précédents. Sans parler qu'il y a quelques lenteurs à certains moments qui ralentissent un peu le tout.Il n'en reste pas moins un tome excellent que j'ai apprécié du début à la fin ! 16.5/20
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  • Eric
    January 1, 1970
    5 StarsOne of the best in the series, Marked feels like the beginning of the end in the growing conflict between the Light Council and the coalition of Dark mages led by Alex’s old master. Alex is now a member of the Light council, and no one is particularly happy about it. The Light mages don’t trust him, and the Dark mages either want to kill him or use him. Despite all that, Alex is trying to use his unexpected influence for good. No matter what he does though, he’s squarely in the middle of 5 StarsOne of the best in the series, Marked feels like the beginning of the end in the growing conflict between the Light Council and the coalition of Dark mages led by Alex’s old master. Alex is now a member of the Light council, and no one is particularly happy about it. The Light mages don’t trust him, and the Dark mages either want to kill him or use him. Despite all that, Alex is trying to use his unexpected influence for good. No matter what he does though, he’s squarely in the middle of what looks more and more like an all out war. So this was a great installment, with the usual entertaining action, surprises, and fun character interactions. Like the last 2, the ending seemed to herald that big changes are coming for Alex and his crew. Right now this is the last book currently published in the Alex Verus series, though I saw that Benedict Jacka has completed book 10 and it looks like a total of 12 books are planned. If you haven’t tried this series, give it a shot. The first book was good but not great, but it keeps getting better and in my opinion really hits its stride by books 3-4. I know this comparison is thrown out a lot, but if you enjoy the Dresden Files you’ll probably like this. For me, I think Dresden, Verus, and the Monster Hunter books by Larry Correia are my favorite urban fantasy series. So, yeah. You should give this series a try.
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  • Roy
    January 1, 1970
    Pure popcorn candy fun but I really love it. Alex has joined the council and is the process of helping out the light mages find Richard in a way with the help of his familiar friends. My only gripe is that I feel like each book has a very similar formula. I hope it gets wrapped up in the next handful of books as I dont believe it could last the 20 book run.
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  • Mark Harrison
    January 1, 1970
    Quality addition to a great series as Verus and the team battle evil Dark mates trying to corrupt the adepts and keep Morden in jail. All this with Anne possessed by an evil spirit - although I liked Dark Anne a lot. Plenty of battles, lots of politics and all very good indeed.
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  • Minx -The Genre Minx Book Reviews
    January 1, 1970
    Marked is the ninth book in the Alex Verus series and is a strong series addition! All Alex ever wanted was a simple and uncomplicated life that was not dictated to him by outside forces but along the way he had become apprenticed to a dark mage and his life would be forever altered from the trajectory he originally planned. Although Alex saw the error in his choices and subsequently made new ones, he seemed to never be able to slide off the Council’s radar no matter how hard he tried. Along the Marked is the ninth book in the Alex Verus series and is a strong series addition! All Alex ever wanted was a simple and uncomplicated life that was not dictated to him by outside forces but along the way he had become apprenticed to a dark mage and his life would be forever altered from the trajectory he originally planned. Although Alex saw the error in his choices and subsequently made new ones, he seemed to never be able to slide off the Council’s radar no matter how hard he tried. Along the way he managed to make a few friends that he truly cared for and he also became entangled in a situation where he was working for the Council that he had tried so hard to distance himself from.Alex is different in Marked. I could sense that he was evolving between the books Burned and Bound, now he is older, wiser, and seems to have a new perspective. He also realizes that if he wants to change the game he is going to have to level up in his own skills but in order to do that he is going to need magical assistance. Assistance in the way of a magical item but, unfortunately, he does not know which one will help him access the power he needs. With everything that went down in Bound, Alex figures that he can “assist” the Council in hunting down the dangerous magical items that he inadvertently helped release and while doing that he could also search for the one device he needed that would help him gain magical strength.Easier said than done though. With the Dark mage community in an uproar, the unrest in the adept community being stoked, and Alex being put in a most uncomfortable position of negotiator with mages who would rather kill him then listen to a word he had to say, Alex has his work cut out for him. All the while the one friend he cares for as maybe something more being targeted for purposes unknown to Alex. There is just a lot going on and Alex has to juggle many different situations while trying to stay alive. There was so much happening in Marked, it just felt like non-stop action. There were plenty of magical battles, tenuous alliances, and Alex was growing in his abilities in the Elsewhere. Plenty of excitement going on in Marked that make it a one stop read fest! I also loved that Alex finally admitted something to himself that he had long been denying and acted on it!This review is based on a complimentary book I received from NetGalley. It is an honest and voluntary review. The complimentary receipt of it in no way affected my review or rating.Find this review and more at The Genre Minx Book Reviews
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  • Karsyn
    January 1, 1970
    Always good to be back with Verus and friends. Another good story.
  • Arref Mak
    January 1, 1970
    Alex is a long suffering type, due to the dangerous demands of his early exposure to the Dark Mage apprenticeship, and some sneaky youthful mis-training that kept him focused on how weak his powers were.Which is why the opener here is a delightful uptempo that counters the drudge of the last book where everything that could go wrong did.The fast paced opener is followed by a lot of resetting of the politics and balances in his current life. Arachne makes a serious soulful reappearance with impor Alex is a long suffering type, due to the dangerous demands of his early exposure to the Dark Mage apprenticeship, and some sneaky youthful mis-training that kept him focused on how weak his powers were.Which is why the opener here is a delightful uptempo that counters the drudge of the last book where everything that could go wrong did.The fast paced opener is followed by a lot of resetting of the politics and balances in his current life. Arachne makes a serious soulful reappearance with important advice--- and hints that our protag does not take deeply enough, though he listens better than the usual for Alex.Overall this is a very enjoyable "turned the corner things are going to stop being nice" book in the series. The gloves are coming off, some of the dark stuff you could tell (from two books ago) was coming does arrive, some of that gets solved, but plenty of heavy bits still will pester our heroes.And there's a strong reliance on the secondary characters, both as internal motivations to Alex and as folks who can talk wisdom to him.Deftly written. How nice to have a series that does not lose it's vim as it progresses.
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  • Meggie
    January 1, 1970
    The main storyline in Marked was pulling enough with Alex's way of acting and helping Anne. But I'm partly sick that he is always in a role of a bad guy, whome everyone wants to kill. Plot is in general starting to get weak and partly boring. I hope for fresh sub plots and something more from this series.
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  • Rpaul Tho
    January 1, 1970
    I wanted to give this more stars but about a third into the book it was clear this was a setup book for the next in the series. I find that the story is starting to lag and the constant “we’ve got Richard this time only to be thwarted by something obvious we didn’t foresee” a bit annoying. Especially since Alex’s main power is divination. I’m thinking that maybe this author needs to move on to a new set of characters and series as these ones have been played out.
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  • Jean
    January 1, 1970
    tired. Alex is tired. Ann is tired. Arachne is tired. Actually Alex is insufferably superior while afraid of his tormentor. Everybody just squabbles as they fight deadly duels. Love interest takes a depressing step. Too afraid to get involved. Author needs to wrap this up as he is obviously tired of dreaming up new powers while putting off the big battle with Richard. Maybe he can't find a solution grand enough to justify taking 10 books to defeat the big bad.
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  • Neha Goyal
    January 1, 1970
    2.5* maybe.Very meh, nothing new happened, largely seemed like a rehash of previous books and action sequences. Disappointing!:(
  • Nikki
    January 1, 1970
    Marked felt like a bit of a stronger book than the last in this series, and I really enjoyed getting to find out what happened next. It’s full of action, but also tackles some interesting points - the jinn and Anne, the perception of Alex’s motivations (I particularly enjoyed that one) and the concept of being trapped in a known future. I’m looking forward to seeing how that one plays out. I also liked seeing Alex settle into being on the junior council more, and realising that he can affect cha Marked felt like a bit of a stronger book than the last in this series, and I really enjoyed getting to find out what happened next. It’s full of action, but also tackles some interesting points - the jinn and Anne, the perception of Alex’s motivations (I particularly enjoyed that one) and the concept of being trapped in a known future. I’m looking forward to seeing how that one plays out. I also liked seeing Alex settle into being on the junior council more, and realising that he can affect change there, even if it’s slow going. It felt like less of a fight against him in this book, and more Alex trying to figure out a situation. There’s still people against him and even trying to kill him, but I liked the change of him getting to call some shots instead of reacting to other people. Luna, Anne and Vari all continue to be awesome, and I especially like where it ends with Anne. Her story line was good here, even if I do foresee trouble in her future. There wasn’t enough Arachne, (is there ever?) and I worry about the foreboding with her! I did love what little we did see though - very intriguing!All in, a great continuance to the series. 4.5 stars.
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  • Lindsay
    January 1, 1970
    With Alex Verus growing into his role on the Light Council and showing a deft hand at leading other wizards, both in combat and within the Council itself, he gets to confront a few home-truths about moving on from his previous life. On top of that there's dealing with the consequences of what happened to Anne in the Vault at the end of the previous book and how that plays into Richard Drahk's plans.This is back to formula in the Verus series with only an incremental move forward from the previou With Alex Verus growing into his role on the Light Council and showing a deft hand at leading other wizards, both in combat and within the Council itself, he gets to confront a few home-truths about moving on from his previous life. On top of that there's dealing with the consequences of what happened to Anne in the Vault at the end of the previous book and how that plays into Richard Drahk's plans.This is back to formula in the Verus series with only an incremental move forward from the previous book even though Alex's new situation as a Council member is a novel one. It's nice to see that the basically decent Alex is still present even after being given some legitimate power, although in this one he does get to face some facts about himself and his moving on from his old life.Solid entry in an excellent series.
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  • drk
    January 1, 1970
    I’ve read/listened to all of these books in this series at various times/places over the past few years, mainly when I’ve needed something distracting. I haven’t bothered to rate them before and after listening to this last one I decided to tick them all off. It was then that I discovered that I could not recall a single one of the plot lines or distinguish between any one of the titles. And therein lies the problem with this series. Apart from the first one, they are ALL THE SAME! Each book see I’ve read/listened to all of these books in this series at various times/places over the past few years, mainly when I’ve needed something distracting. I haven’t bothered to rate them before and after listening to this last one I decided to tick them all off. It was then that I discovered that I could not recall a single one of the plot lines or distinguish between any one of the titles. And therein lies the problem with this series. Apart from the first one, they are ALL THE SAME! Each book seems to introduce yet more bewildering and instantly forgettable names of light/dark mages both goodies and baddies, battles, boring bits, battles, boring bits and on and on. Alex, Luna, Varium and Ann were great characters initially but they have never developed over the nine books.
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  • Brittany (The Book Addict's Guide/Novelly Yours)
    January 1, 1970
    Initial Impressions 9/14/18: This wasn’t my favorite of the series and I actually found it surprisingly not as engaging. I was really excited to read this after binge reading literally the entire beginning of the series but it felt like it was lacking a lot of depth and some of that world-building that we got in earlier novels. Things progressed slowly but surely but sometimes these books throw me because each one has a different sort of feel based on the setting or theme. There was a lot more c Initial Impressions 9/14/18: This wasn’t my favorite of the series and I actually found it surprisingly not as engaging. I was really excited to read this after binge reading literally the entire beginning of the series but it felt like it was lacking a lot of depth and some of that world-building that we got in earlier novels. Things progressed slowly but surely but sometimes these books throw me because each one has a different sort of feel based on the setting or theme. There was a lot more character development here, especially involving Anne, and I did enjoy that.
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  • Brittany
    January 1, 1970
    This was a great addition to the series with some wonderful about time moments. I look forward to where it looks like the series is headed.
  • Vinay Badri
    January 1, 1970
    I think the Alex Verus books are really like the shows you put on backburner as you do other stuff. An almost filler if you will. Books 7 and 8 in the series really shook up the series and kind of forced it to show some kind of (for the lack of a better word) ambition and a sense of end game. Book 9 is back to the one step forward, 3 steps sidewards narrative. I mean on the whole, its a good piece of entertainment and I fairly breezed through it but I still keep wondering what more, what else. T I think the Alex Verus books are really like the shows you put on backburner as you do other stuff. An almost filler if you will. Books 7 and 8 in the series really shook up the series and kind of forced it to show some kind of (for the lack of a better word) ambition and a sense of end game. Book 9 is back to the one step forward, 3 steps sidewards narrative. I mean on the whole, its a good piece of entertainment and I fairly breezed through it but I still keep wondering what more, what else. The book is really centered around Alex & Anne's relationship and more on Anne's problems than being focused on Richard Drakh. There are indicators to the long game that Drakh is playing and Verus does come up as a very credible competitor in figuring out Drakh's motives (if not his moves) but these glimpses are just that - glimpses. Wish we had a really solid installment on the upcoming conflict sooner than later
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  • Kevin
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars. So many options for future books from here. Listened to the audiobook and it was very well-done!
  • Steven Naylor
    January 1, 1970
    Rating 4.0 stars I really loved the first 5-6 books in the series, but at this point things are not progressing as fast as I think they should. From the beginning of each of the last 2 books, Alex tells us exactly what needs to be done, he then spends the entire book not doing that thing up until the end of the book. Alex and Anne have been close for the last 4-5 books and we keep wondering if and when they will get together. A question like that should be answered within 2 books of a series. Wh Rating 4.0 stars I really loved the first 5-6 books in the series, but at this point things are not progressing as fast as I think they should. From the beginning of each of the last 2 books, Alex tells us exactly what needs to be done, he then spends the entire book not doing that thing up until the end of the book. Alex and Anne have been close for the last 4-5 books and we keep wondering if and when they will get together. A question like that should be answered within 2 books of a series. When stuff like that happens it makes me feel like the author is just trying to pump out as many books as possible without worrying about quality (3 mediocre books probably pay a lot more that 1 awesome book). I think book 8 and book 9 easily could have been brought together to make one book, and it probably would have been better that way by taking out all the "filler" parts of the story. (view spoiler)[ One example of how Alex states the main problem and then does nothing about it happens in this book. He explains that one of the main problems in the magical world is that the dark mages have no way to communicate with each other and hash out their differences. Also, the Adepts have absolutely no say about anything in the magical world even though they and magical creatures make up the vast majority of all magic user in the world. See, that makes sense. So, what was Alex doing to solve this problem? Nothing. In fact, half the stuff he does do in these stories aren't really his job. Its not really his job to fight, that's the job of the Keepers. He is also not really a fighter, so why does he keep putting himself in these situations? I know in general he does not want Richard to succeed, but as a diviner he never seems to be able to figure out what is going on until the very end. Since book 8, he has been looking for a magical item that will make him powerful enough to protect his friends. At the end of this book he still didn't have anything. I feel Benedict Jacka is really trying to milk this story for what it is worth (hide spoiler)]Despite the recent slowness of the story, the first 5 books were so good, that now I am hooked. I still love the characters, the magic system and the world. I am just hoping the story continues to progress so that I don't end up thinking less of the series as a whole.
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