"My name is Alex Verus. I'm a mage, a diviner. In mage terms I'm unaligned, which means I'm not affiliated with the Council but don't count myself as a Dark mage either."
An urban fantasy series by Benedict Jacka.
Alex Verus runs a magic shop in London, and he's a diviner. His magic lets him see the probability of future events, predicting what'll happen by seeing the various possibilities ahead of him. It makes him very good at finding things out, but not so good when it comes to brute force. As a result, he tends to get approached by other mages, who are less good at finding things out but who possess an abundance of brute force which they're more than willing to use if they don't get their way.
Four books have been released in the series so far, with a fifth due to come out in 2014 and more on the way.
- Fated (2012)
- Cursed (2012)
- Taken (2012)
- Chosen (2013)
There's also a series of articles about the world and setting called the Encyclopaedia Arcana
which can be found on the author's website here
This series provides examples of:
- Badass Normal: Council security operatives in general but Garrick from the second book especially.
- Combat Clairvoyance: Alex exploits this heavily, which is the reason he can survive fights with things massively more powerful than he is.
- Combat Pragmatist: Alex uses whatever is on-hand to fight, and states outright in the second book that killing people is often safer than trying to disable them. The one person he does spare in the assault on the keep nearly kills him later in the assault.
- Cursed with Awesome: Luna's curse has the nice side effect of rendering her immune to casual misfortunes and making her generally lucky. It brings bad luck to her enemies, too. Justified in that the curse was created by taking a useful (if morally questionable) luck-draining spell and making it permanent.
- Deadpan Snarker: Alex has his moments.
- Elemental Embodiment: Starbreeze is the 'Made of Air' type.
- Enemy Civil War: It's more or less stated that this is the reason Dark mages don't run everything. The protagonist points out in the first book that even though it might not feel that way, Dark mages are actually much more dangerous to each other than they are to everyone else.
- Functional Magic: The series pretty much runs on this.
- Giant Spider: Arachne. Oddly enough, she's nicer than most of the humans. She also makes dresses.
- Guile Hero: Alex uses knowledge and quick thinking to take on opponents who really ought to be way out of his weight class.
- Light Is Not Good: Levistus, in particular, who is just as sociopathic as the Dark villains. Even among the rank-and-file Light mages, enthralling mundanes for entertainment appears to be socially acceptable.
- Magic A Is Magic A: Mages' powers seem to work on a consistent set of rules. One of the biggest ones is that mages can only use one type of magic. A fire mage can use fire magic and nothing else.
- Mutually Exclusive Magic: Of the 'no-one can use multiple schools at all' variety.
- Pegasus: A diviner Alex goes to visit has one of these. He likes sugar lumps.
- Our Vampires Are Different: They're dead
- There Is No Kill Like Overkill: The fate of Griff.
Griff, needless to say, was very dead. After being shredded, incinerated, and disintegrated all at once, what was left of his body could fit in a pencil case. Anyone planning to give him a burial would need a mop and a vacuum cleaner.
- Shout-Out: One to The Dresden Files. In the first book Alex refers to Harry Dresden as 'a practising wizard in Chicago'.
- Sliding Scale of Free Will vs. Fate: Appears to fall in the "Prophecies Are Predictions" category; Alex can only see the future in terms of probability, and he has trouble seeing past a decision that somebody has not already made. Of course, this only applies to human magic: The existence of the dragon prophecy might push the setting towards the "Fate" end.
- The Social Darwinist: Dark mages believe that people only have a right to what they can take and what they can keep. They have no problem with slavery or killing people in their way. Alex was apprenticed to a dark mage and admits that, while he sees himself as a good guy, most of the people who oppose him wind up dead.
- Unequal Rites: Diviners like Alex seem to be looked down on, due to being physically weaker than other mages. They're really good at finding things out, though.
- Weak, but Skilled: Diviners in general. They lack any sort of combat magic, including the blocking spells that elemental mages rely on. If a combat-trained mage attacks a diviner, the diviner usually ends up dead. Diviners are so dangerous because, with their powers, they can avoid being attacked altogether.
- Winds of Destiny, Change: Luna essentially steals luck from those around her, causing misfortune to anyone who crosses her path in exchange for being immune to random accidents herself. The catch is that she can't turn it off.