Hidden by Benedict Jacka (Alex Verus #5)

Hidden book cover Benedict JackaThis One is for the Fans – 4 Stars

If you haven’t started this series, I would not suggest that you start with this installment. Had I not already become a big fan of Alex Verus and crew, I would have been bored with Hidden . This one is for the fans. It answers a few lingering questions, introduces some characters we have been wanting to meet and gives us some more backstory that was piquing our interest. If you enjoy the series, you will not want to miss this one.

Plot summary

Alex is at odds with his friends and has not been successful in bringing them all back together. After one such effort, Anne goes missing under mysterious circumstances. The hunt is on to find where she is hidden and who is responsible. Along the way, Alex makes discoveries about himself and we are provided with some wanted backstory. We are also introduced to characters that we have only heard about in stories. What at first looks to be a simple rescue operation, turns into something much more deadly.

The Good

This installment lays some interesting groundwork for future story arcs. Some new characters are put into play and we are made privy to some previously unknown scheming. As I said earlier, this one is really directed to the fans. It gives us SOME of what we have been wanting but not all. In some ways, it felt like an interlude in the series but ultimately laid groundwork for future installments. Jacka seems to have a grasp on which characters the readers like and gives us enough of them to keep our interest while expanding others that will likely play a role in future installments. The author show a deft ability at character development and it is on full display in this latest offering. Unlike the previous four, Hidden is almost exclusively a character novel. While some may lament the reduced action, I think most fans will appreciate the effort Jacka has taken to expand the characters’ mythology.

The Bad

Overall, I enjoyed the fact this was a character novel though I have to admit I was taken by surprise. The plot was on the thin side and this will be an annoyance for some readers. I would have also appreciated some additional “reminder” material throughout the story. I hate when novels assume I remember nothing of previous installments and spend half the book recapping. The problem in this novel is that there is very little of this. There could have been more to reorient myself to the significant number of returning antagonists.

Can this Book Stand Alone

No! In this case, you must read the other books to appreciate this one. It relies heavily on past encounters, past plots and prexisting relationships. A reader who picks up this one before the rest will likely find themselves very disappointed.

Final Thoughts

Fans of the series will not want to miss this one. I am always excited when nagging questions are answered. I am equally pleased that Jacka provides some new questions to fill the void left by the reveals. In the past couple of novels, this series has truly come into its own. Early on I was making comparisons to my other favorite Urban Fantasy Series (Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files and Ben Aaronovitch’s Peter Grant series if you were wondering). This series has set itself apart with a unique world, unique magic system and great writing and it has squarely placed itself in my Top 3 Favorite UF series. Don’t look for a clone series here because you will not find it.

Audiobook Notes

I listened to this one and I was very happy with the experience. Gildart Jackson is spot on with his narration and is very listenable. I highly recommend the audio format in this series.

Content Advisories

It is difficult to find commentary on the sex/violence/language content of book if you are interested. I make an effort to give you the information so you can make an informed decision before reading. *Disclaimer* I do not take note or count the occurrences of adult language as I read. I am simply giving approximations.

Scale 1 – Lowest 5 – Highest

Sex – 1.5

There is an instance where a character recommends that another character come on to another character. This is the extent of any sexual content. The sexual content is safe for all ages.

Language – 2.5

Minimal adult language but several uses of the f-word. Suitable for most readers.

Violence – 3

There is some magic related fighting. A women is attacked and hurt. There is reference to a character having their throat cut. Some persons have their life “ripped out”. There is other fighting in which a character suffers some gruesome injuries over the whole of their body. Overall, the violence is during so called “good vs. evil” fights. It is generally mildly graphic

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Tim Written by:

Tim is a lawyer, sports fan, parent, husband and book lover. He runs his own legal practice and is the founder of The Literary Lawyer book blog and a contributing writer for baseballbabble.com. Tim loves to share his love of reading by providing reviews to entertain as well as provide information to help you make an informed reading decision.