Veiled (Alex Vera #6) by Benedict Jacka

btkong

Journeyed there and back again
Staff member
#1
I just finished the newest book in the Alex Vera series: Veiled. See bottom for my rating.

The Alex Vera are, IMO, the closest in style and form that you'll find to The Dresden Files. There are a LOT of similarities between the two works. But, Jacka also does quite a bit different. While some of the general themes, story flow, characters, settings are reminiscent of Dresden, the Alex Vera series are also quite different as well.

Think of it as a much darker, more sinister version of The Dresden Files with Alex Vera a less powerful, but more ruthless, more of a 'Dirty Harry' version of Harry. And part of the fun is Alex's power, which is the ability to look into the future. This makes things quite interesting.

Veiled is a good continuation in the series. It felt a bit short to me as the plot simply focuses on a single event and figuring out the why and the players involved. Definitely far less epic than some of his other books in the series. Yet, it's still pretty enjoyable and it does move along Alex's plot, having him commit to some new actions and decide on a new goal (one of a couple) which I think will direct the flow of the future books.

Note, there are some dark, disturbing themes in this one. Jacka has no problems introducing things like sex slavery, child prostitution and rape, murder, and torture. And many of these atrocities are committed against the helpless and weak (children for example). It's disturbing in a way, but it's a direction that many of Benedict's contemporaries have avoided. Kudos to the author for going here because it really keeps in with the dark tone of the series, compared to the much lighter, more over-the-top tone of The Dresden Files.

One of the central themes I've found in the Vera books is Alex's willingness to be ruthless and kill to protect himself. This is quite a bit different than the Harry Dresden books with Harry trying to save everyone with very little tragedy and death occurring over the course of the story. In the Alex books, there's a lot of this and Alex is forced to do some pretty bad things just to survive.

A good entry in the series. I give it a 7/10 overall. If you've started the Vera books, well you'll want to read this one. Not the best so far, but enjoyable.

Note, I like the Alex Vera books better than The Dresden Files at this point.
 

Cyphon

Journeyed there and back again
#2
Never even realized this section existed. Big fan of this series.

For me I think he was one of the most interesting authors to review because I can't honestly decide how I feel. I think he does himself a disservice making his books so short because he loses out on expanding on a bigger, and more intriguing plot but at the same time it keeps the pace nice and doesn't allow for holes and a bunch of stuff that bogs it down. So the individual books feel complete and are well done but thinking about the big picture leaves something to be desired.

I am also 50/50 on the magic system. I like it and think it is mostly handled well but he has never really taking a great deal of time with explanation and setting limits so it always feels like every mage basically has unlimited power. I know he describes their power to an extent, but it still just feels like each one can blast whatever power they have limitlessly.

In any case it is a quick, easy and fun read with very little to pick on that isn't bigger than one book. So

9/10