Book Review: Cursed by Benedict Jacka
Fated, the first book in the Alex Verus series was a book that I enjoyed very much. I think the reason I liked it so much was because being the first volume in a new series it displayed a lot of potential for more stories and gave us quite a wide view of the world while still hinting at more beyond what we were shown. Cursed is the second volume in the series and although it was a good read it didn’t work for me in quite the same way that Fated did.
The story in Cursed feels less important. Although things are a little more personal for Alex this time it still felt more like a side adventure than an important chapter in an ongoing story. Things play out on a much smaller scale. We see less of the world that these books are set in and it didn’t really seem like any new elements were introduced. The plotting didn’t seem as tight this time either. While Fated was a real fast paced adventure that really raced along, Cursed seemed to be constantly stopping and starting with nothing really interesting happening in the lulls between the action.
Where Cursed really does work though is the character building, particularly the changing relationship between Alex and Luna. A lot of this book is concerned with Alex figuring out exactly what his relationship to Luna is and what it should be in the future. By the end of the book things really have changed for the two of them and there are some interesting possibilities for the future. A few supporting characters from Fated make a return appearance. I was glad to see them again and they where integrated into the plot well. Unlike some ongoing series the appearance of the supporting characters felt natural they all performed an important function in the plot.
Cursed is a fun read. Benedict Jacka has quite a fun writing style so even though I didn’t enjoy it as much as Fated I still flew through it pretty quickly. I was thinking maybe the problem here is more with me than the book itself. Fated showed so much promise that I was frustrated that Cursed didn’t capitalise on all of that promise straight away. Perhaps it’s best to just enjoy the journey and trust that there are more interesting things to come.