Benedict Jacka doesn’t waste a moment in this ninth series installment, plunging readers into the ongoing action and lingering intrigue of his increasingly complex Alex Verus series. Even though the plot races forward at a breakneck pace, this story is also very much about the toll that Verus’ adventures and choices have taken on him, and especially on his companions. While new readers might very well feel left out of the revelations in this story, series devotes will no doubt savor the intense character developments and leave eager to see all that the future holds for Verus and his comrades.
He may have had a hand in unleashing a hoard of magical tools into the world, but Alex Verus is now committed to helping the Light Council track them down and return them to hiding — as long as he can keep defending his precarious position within the Light Council. When Alex is forced to negotiate with the Dark Mages, he finds himself pitted in the middle of a complex magical power struggle. But even all of Alex’s formidable cunning may not be enough to reign in the darkness swirling around him. (ACE, Jul., 320 pp., $7.99)