Bound: The Eighth Book in the Alex Verus Series by Benedict Jacka - A Review
Bound: Alex Verus Series, Book 8
If you are a fan of urban fantasy novels with witty and relatable protagonists, complex and intriguing magic systems, and thrilling and suspenseful plots, then you might have heard of or read the Alex Verus series by Benedict Jacka. The series follows the adventures of Alex Verus, a diviner who can see all possible futures, as he navigates the dangerous and hidden world of mages in modern-day London. The series has been praised for its originality, humor, action, and character development.
Bound: Alex Verus Series, Book 8
The series belongs to the urban fantasy genre, which combines elements of fantasy and contemporary settings. The target audience of the series is mainly adults, although some younger readers might also enjoy it. The series contains some violence, profanity, and sexual references, but nothing too graphic or explicit.
The main premise of the series is that magic exists, but it is hidden from most people by a veil of secrecy and deception. There are two types of magic users: mages and sensitives. Mages are powerful beings who can manipulate reality with their will. Sensitives are weaker beings who can perceive magic but not use it. Mages are divided into two factions: Light and Dark. Light mages claim to uphold justice and order, but they are often corrupt and oppressive. Dark mages claim to value freedom and individuality, but they are often cruel and ruthless.
The main characters of the series are:
Alex Verus: The protagonist and narrator of the series. He is a diviner who can see all possible futures and choose the best one for himself. He is independent and pragmatic, but also loyal and compassionate. He has a troubled past and a complicated present. He tries to avoid trouble, but trouble always finds him.
Luna Mancuso: Alex's apprentice and friend. She is a curse mage who can manipulate luck, but she also has a curse that causes bad luck to anyone who touches her. She is smart and brave, but also impulsive and insecure. She has a crush on Alex, but he doesn't reciprocate.
Anne Walker: Alex's friend and ally. She is a life mage who can heal and harm with her touch. She is gentle and kind, but also haunted and conflicted. She has a dark side that she struggles to control.
Variam Singh: Alex's friend and ally. He is a fire mage who can create and manipulate fire. He is loyal and protective, but also sarcastic and rebellious. He has a history with the Dark mages and a rivalry with Sonder.
Sonder: Alex's friend and ally. He is a time mage who can slow down or speed up time. He is calm and rational, but also arrogant and rigid. He has a history with the Light mages and a rivalry with Variam.
Arachne: Alex's mentor and friend. She is a giant spider who can weave anything with her silk. She is wise and benevolent, but also mysterious and secretive. She has a long and unknown history with magic.
The series consists of ten books so far, with the eleventh and final book expected to be released in 2022. The books are:
Fated (2012): Alex meets Luna and becomes involved in a magical artifact hunt that puts him in the crossfire of Light and Dark mages.
Cursed (2012): Alex faces a Dark mage who can control animals and wants to use Luna's curse for his own benefit.
Taken (2012): Alex investigates a disappearance at a magical school where students are being kidnapped by an unknown force.
Chosen (2013): Alex confronts his former master and his apprentices who want to kill him for betraying them.
Hidden (2014): Alex allies with Anne to stop a ritual that would unleash a powerful entity that could destroy the world.
Veiled (2015): Alex works as a Keeper, an enforcer of the Light Council, to infiltrate a rogue faction of mages who are planning a coup.
Burned (2016): Alex escapes from the Light Council who want to execute him for his involvement in the coup, and joins forces with Richard Drakh, a mysterious and feared Dark mage.
Bound (2017): Alex is bound to Richard by a magical oath that forces him to obey his orders, while he tries to find a way to break free.
Marked (2018): Alex faces the consequences of his actions in Bound, as he becomes a target of both Light and Dark mages who want him dead or captured.
Fallen (2019): Alex makes a final stand against Richard and his allies, as he learns the truth about his destiny and his role in the war between Light and Dark.
In this article, we will focus on the eighth book in the series, Bound, which was published in 2017. We will summarize the plot, analyze the characters and themes, and give our opinion and recommendation of the book. If you have not read the previous books in the series, be warned that there will be spoilers.
Plot of Bound
The plot of Bound picks up where Burned left off. Alex is bound to Richard by a magical oath that forces him to obey his orders without question or hesitation. If he tries to resist or betray Richard, he will suffer unbearable pain or death. Alex hates being Richard's slave, but he has no choice but to follow him.
contacts Luna, who tells him that she has found a possible way to break the oath, but she needs more time and resources to test it. Alex decides to wait for Luna's solution, while he pretends to be loyal to Richard.
Alex learns that Richard plans to use him as a pawn in a war against the Light Council. Richard wants to overthrow the Council and take over the magical world. He has a secret weapon that he calls the jinn, a powerful and ancient being that he has captured and enslaved. Richard intends to use the jinn to destroy the Council's headquarters and kill their leaders.
Alex teams up with Caldera, a former Keeper who is also bound to Richard. Caldera was captured by Richard's minions and forced to swear an oath to him. She hates Richard as much as Alex does, and she wants to escape from him. Alex and Caldera form an uneasy alliance, as they try to help each other and survive.
Alex faces various enemies and challenges, such as Onyx, a Dark mage who can manipulate metal and who wants revenge on Alex for humiliating him; Levistus, a Light mage who is the head of the Council and who wants Alex dead for his crimes; Morden, a Dark mage who is Richard's ally and who wants Alex under his control; and Cinder, a fire mage who is Richard's enforcer and who enjoys torturing Alex.
Alex discovers a secret about Richard's past and his connection to Anne. He learns that Richard was once a Light mage who was Anne's mentor and lover. He also learns that Anne has a part of the jinn inside her, which gives her immense power but also makes her unstable. Alex realizes that Richard wants to use Anne as a vessel for the jinn, and that he has been manipulating her all along.
Alex makes a risky decision that changes his fate and the fate of his friends. He decides to betray Richard and stop his plan. He frees the jinn from Richard's control, hoping that it will break his oath. However, he also unleashes the jinn's wrath on everyone around him. He manages to save Anne from Richard, but he also loses Luna, Variam, Sonder, and Arachne in the chaos. He ends up alone and hunted by both Light and Dark mages.
Analysis of Bound
Bound is one of the most intense and dramatic books in the series. It has a fast-paced and gripping plot that keeps the reader on the edge of their seat. It also has a dark and gritty tone that reflects Alex's desperation and despair. It shows how far Alex is willing to go to free himself from Richard's tyranny, and how much he is willing to sacrifice for his friends.
Bound also develops the characters of Alex and his friends in interesting and surprising ways. It shows how Alex grows from a passive and reluctant hero into an active and determined one. It shows how he faces his fears and doubts, and how he makes hard choices that have serious consequences. It also shows how he deals with his emotions, such as anger, guilt, regret, and love.
Bound also explores the themes of free will, loyalty, trust, morality, and power in depth. It questions how much control one has over one's own destiny, and how much influence one has over others'. It examines how loyal one can be to one's friends, allies, enemies, or masters, and how much trust one can place in them. It challenges how moral one can be in a world where good and evil are not clear-cut, and where choices are not easy or simple. It also investigates how power can be used or abused for good or evil purposes, and what are the costs and benefits of having or lacking it.
and Cinder after the jinn's rampage; what will happen to Richard and his plans now that he has lost the jinn; and what will happen to Anne and her jinn part now that she is free from Richard.
In conclusion, Bound is a captivating and compelling book that delivers a satisfying and shocking story. It is a great addition to the Alex Verus series, and a must-read for fans of urban fantasy. It has everything that makes a good book: engaging characters, intriguing magic, thrilling action, and emotional drama. It also has some twists and turns that will leave the reader stunned and eager for more.
If you are looking for a book that will keep you hooked from start to finish, then you should definitely check out Bound. You will not regret it. However, if you have not read the previous books in the series, you might want to start from the beginning, as Bound is not a standalone book and it relies heavily on the previous events and characters. You will enjoy Bound more if you are familiar with the Alex Verus series and its world.
Here are some questions or suggestions for further discussion or research on Bound or the series:
How do you feel about Alex's decision to betray Richard and free the jinn? Do you think he did the right thing or the wrong thing? Why?
How do you feel about Alex's relationship with Luna, Anne, Variam, Sonder, Arachne, Caldera, Morden, and Cinder? Who do you think is his best friend, his worst enemy, his true love, his greatest ally, or his biggest rival? Why?
How do you feel about Richard as a villain? Do you think he is evil or misunderstood? Do you think he has any redeeming qualities or any sympathetic motives? Why?
How do you feel about the jinn as a character? Do you think it is a monster or a victim? Do you think it has any personality or emotions? Why?
How do you feel about the magic system in the series? Do you think it is original or cliché? Do you think it is consistent or contradictory? Why?