How Many Alex Verus Books Will There Be?

This was something that was asked a couple of times in relation to my last post, (and has been asked lots more times in the past) and I figured it deserved its own post to answer. 

The short answer is that the series is more than half done.  The Alex Verus books that are out there right now are most of the ones that there ever will be.  This isn’t an absolute 100% guarantee (since I haven’t planned everything out in that kind of detail) but I’m almost sure that Fated through Bound will outnumber the rest of the series.  Call it ninety percent certain.  

Nailing down an exact number is harder.  I know what’s going to happen in Book #10, and I have vague plans for Book #11, but I don’t know exactly what’s going to happen beyond then.  That said, I don’t think all the books ‘beyond then’ will add up to very many.  Book #10 will leave the series in an unstable position, to the extent that it won’t really be possible to keep things going for all that long afterwards.  If I had to make a guess, I’d say #13 will be the last, but I might be underestimating.  We’ll see.  

In any case, don’t expect the series to go on forever!  I might be wrong on the exact numbers, but I’m pretty sure about the overall shape.  So the total might be 12, or 14, but it’s not going to be 16 or 20.  That’s the best guess I have at the moment.

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Preparations

Currently planning out Book #10.  

I’m looking forward to this book.  In a lot of ways it’s going to be the big turning point of the series – not the end, but the last major set of reveals/dramatic changes before the end. By the time the book’s done, all the major characters in the series should have been established, and it’ll be clear who’s on who’s side for the final battles.  

Book #10’s also going to resolve a lot of long-running sideplots and things that have been hinted at.  One of the more common questions that I get asked is whether Alex is ever going to get some sort of power-up.  That’s going to get addressed in a final way, along with Alex’s relationship status and the question of what Richard’s been planning all this time.  To the best of my knowledge no-one has yet correctly guessed the answers to any of these questions (or if they have, they haven’t put it online where I can see it) so it’s going to be a lot of fun to finally get it out there.

The downside to all this is that doing all these resolutions is going to be a LOT of work.  Since Book #10 builds on so much previous material, it’s going to have an enormous amount of references to past books. I’m actually considering going back to drawing out diagrams just to keep track of everything. Well, we’ll see how it goes.

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Edits are Done

The first-round edits on Book #9, Marked, are finished.  There are still copy-edits and proofreader corrections to do, but they’re relatively minor – the version of the book that I sent off to my publishers yesterday is 95% identical with the version that you guys will get hold of when it’s released in July of next year.  

Time to start planning Book #10. I’ve been looking forward to this one for a while, so let’s hope it goes a bit faster than the last one did!

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Ask Luna #97

From: Mike

Did Alex ever consider Starbreeze to be a friend? If so, then why hasn’t he reached out to her. If not, then can anyone actually befriend an elemental?

Yes, he considered (still does) her to be a friend. He hasn’t reached out to her because the world’s a big place and it’s not very easy to find an air elemental in a billion cubic miles of sky. It’s not like she has a phone number.

From: Hazel

Hey Luna! It’s me again, I was hoping you could answer more of my questions, these are a little bit more random, sorry about that.
Does Alex have a drivers licence?
Do you like working at the shop?
Have you ever met a Canadian mage?
Does North Korea have a council? (I am actually guessing that a lot of people don’t really know anything about NK but i wanted to ask anyways.)
And finally, Do you ever want to become a Master someday?
I hope this wasn’t too much trouble! Thanks a bundle (Of kittens)!

Yup, Alex has a licence, though I think he pretty much never uses it.

I do like working at the shop, yeah. I’m starting to see why Alex did it for so long.

No, no Canadian mages, though plenty from the USA. They rarely seem to make it over here.

I think North Korea has a Council, though it’s a pretty weird one.

And no, I don’t really want to become a master. I’m pretty much done with the Council at this point and I’m happy staying as an independent.

From: Mickey

So Anne is “infected” or “merged” or “linked” with a wish entity. I remember that they could not wish for themselves, but since Anne has “compassion” could she not “wish” for a compatible body for the entity to transfer to? How dissimilar would it be from the tree spirit that transferred to a new tree? Wishes are supposed to be pretty powerful things! Sorry, it’s been awhile since I read “Bound” and I’ve forgotten the specifics … but I keep chewing on this. I know it’s Disney and everything, and Alex usually is patient to a point with us mundanes… but the parallel is when Alladin set (Robin Williams) the Genie free.

Sorry if this is a stupid question. BTW I cannot believe we have to wait nearly a year to find out what happens next!

We’re still not a hundred percent sure what happened with Anne and that jinn. According to all the tests we’ve done, it isn’t currently in residence in her head. We think. So it’s possible that nothing further’s going to come of it.

If that turns out to be wrong, then I think her making wishes is going to be the last thing any of us want. Those things tend to come with really high price tags. The idea of giving it a new body would be . . . I dunno. I suppose it could be a nice Disney-movie-type ending, but a part of me wonders if it’d be the equivalent of getting rid of one kind of ancient evil by creating a new one.

From: Henesys

What happened to Morden? Is he still alive or did they execute him right away? If they haven’t, what are they going to do?

He’s alive, sentence pending. In theory he’s due to be executed, but the Council seem to be dragging their feet over actually carrying it out, so he’s been locked up while they make up their minds.

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New Covers!

So some of my UK readers might have noticed as of a while back that Burned (book #7) and Bound (book #8) have a slightly different cover design from books #1 through #6.  This has actually been UK Orbit’s plan for a while now – they’ve had an adjusted cover style in the works.  Fated, Cursed, Taken, Chosen, Hidden, and Veiled are now going to be re-released with the new covers, so take a look!

I like the new style quite a bit, though I do have a sentimental attachment to the old ones (they were my first successful books, after all).  Still, I can keep them around as collector’s items.  

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Marked Release Date Change

Just heard from my publishers – the release date of Marked has been changed slightly to July 5th 2018 (so about one month later than previously planned).  This should be the final release date for both the UK and the US.  

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Marked Update

Edits for Book #9, Marked, are underway.  The good news is that they’re relatively easy ones.  Back when I did my series on The Process, I mentioned that waiting for first-round edits can be a little stressful, since the edits an editor can ask for range from minor touch-ups to major rewrites that require months of work and which can significantly set back the release date.  Thankfully, that isn’t the case this time – the changes are all very straightforward.  Currently I’m aiming to finish them by the end of the month, after which I can get started on Book #10.  

All of which means that Marked will be coming out in June 2018 as planned.  More details closer to publication.

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Ask Luna #96

From: Gurndolf

Hi Luna! I’ve got a question on the dream stones, do they have their own will? Can they influence their user?

Thanks!

In theory they’re supposed to be just focuses, which means they aren’t alive and they don’t have their own goals to exert influence towards. From some of the things Alex has said, though, I’m not sure if that’s true. Arachne mentioned that they don’t fit neatly into the imbued item/focus categories.

From: Mage_David

Are you familiar with Witchfest? It is the biggest gathering of Occultists in Europe? This year it will be held in Brighton, in October.

First I’ve heard of it.

From: andy deal

Hey Luna, just two quick questions. What does it mean to say that with the Dreamstone Alex can physically enter Elsewhere. And can Alex do more than communicate with someone when he reaches out with the stone. I’m really curious about Elsewhere and his new deep diving ability

I have no idea about the first one, since Alex hasn’t been able to do it, and as far as I know no-one else thinks it’s even possible. As for the second, it’s supposed more than just communication, it’s more like a two-way link. Not sure exactly what the difference is in practice, but Arachne seems to think it’s important.

From: Allomancer Jack

Dear Mistress Vesta,

I see a lot of people asking you things you don’t know, so here’s one that might be more up your alley.

Now that you’ve got a full grasp of your powers (it’s not a curse, just a different form of chance magic!) are you now able to take public transport or fly on planes? Could you just hang out at the beach and get a tan?

Congrats again! And I’m proud to see how far you’ve come.

Best wishes,
Jack

Well, I could always hang out on the beach, it’s just that now it’s a lot safer. Though I sunburn really easily.

As for public transport, yeah, I can actually use it these days. Rush hour on the Tube is a bit tricky, but something like an overground train is no problem at all. Sad thing is, now that I can do it, I don’t really need it anymore, since anywhere I want to get to I can usually get a gate stone or catch a ride with someone who can gate themselves. I’ve still done it a few times, though, just to prove I can.

From: Allomancer Jack

Dear Mistress Vesta,

Sorry for sending two questions at once but I forgot to ask one. Are you ever tempted to talk to the dragon yourself?

Best wishes once again,
Jack

I’ve thought about it once or twice, but no, I’m not, for two reasons. First, there’s nothing I desperately want to find out. I mean, there are things I’d LIKE to find out, but there’s nothing I NEED to find out. And going just out of curiosity feels like a bad idea. I’ve had a bit of experience with these sorts of powers now, and one thing I’ve learned is that they always come with price tags. You’re better off solving your problems on your own.

From: Kurt Von Bosse

Hello Luna/Vesta, and thank you for answering my last set of questions.

I was wondering, does the Light Council have an official ceremony for announcing your Mage name to the rest of the magical community? If so, I’d guess dark mages simply tell people their new name and let word get around.

Second question: Thinking about Alex’s new position, do you know; in general terms, what the function of the Junior Council is as opposed to the Senior. I was thinking that even if you don’t know specifics you might have learned from Alex the type of issues Junior Council members sometimes deal with.

I almost forgot. Has Alex had to find an assistant to fill the job position he performed for Mage Morden or perhaps one was appointed to him?

For their naming, Light mages usually throw a party. Depending on how famous/ambitious their master is, it can be a quiet dinner with friends or a big social event with lots of networking.

The big difference between the Junior and Senior Council is that the Senior Council gets to vote on resolutions and the Junior Council doesn’t (they’re supposed to be advisors/administrators). Other than that, they have the same rights and privileges that the Senior Council do.

And yes, Alex has had several tries at finding an aide. There have been problems.

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Ask Luna #95

From: Svetli

Hi, a fan from Bulgaria here. I wanted to ask how exactly did Alex got recognised as a full-fledged mage, after he escaped only as an apprentice from Drakh?

So there are two ways for the Light Council to recognise you as a mage. One is that you pass a Council journeyman test, which according to the Council is how you’re supposed to do it. The thing is, most of the mages in the UK never do that. Dark mages obviously couldn’t care less about being officially sanctioned by the Council, and independent mages don’t follow either the Light or Dark path – it’s kind of their definition.

So what the Council does is that after a non-Light mage has been around for long enough, the Council starts viewing them as a mage by default. It’s funny in a way, because it’s the opposite of what the Council claims to believe in, but if you think about it, what else are they supposed to do? They can’t really claim that independent and Dark types aren’t actually mages, given that they can both can do everything that Light mages can and more. So they grudgingly admit that yes, they count, sort of. Of course, they still think Light mages are better, and that anyone who hasn’t passed their journeyman test isn’t a ‘real’ mage, but funnily enough, they don’t seem that keen on saying that to a Dark mage’s face.

From: curious fan

Hello Luna,
There’s so many types of mages. Luck mage, life mage,time mage,etc. Is there a magic mage? That looks redundant now that I’ve written it, but what I mean is: is there a a mage whose element is Magic, a magical particle, or whatever it is that causes mages to be able to do magic?

Not that I know of, no. The spells that affect other magic/other spells are usually considered universal, meaning that nearly all mages can learn them.

From: Hazel

Hey Luna!

I have a few questions for you if you wouldn’t mind.

I haven’t heard much about you, Vari, and Anne in the way of hobbies and skills other than magic. Can you guys draw or paint, how about play an instrument? How about Alex?

Can you give a brief description of each member of the gang?

What is your opinion on Sonda (Sorry if I spelled his name wrong!) and do you personally think he should/would want to partially join the group again?

How do you feel about Kyle?

Thanks so much,
Hazel.

Anne can draw – she’s a pretty good artist, actually, though she’s shy about showing anyone her stuff. Vari’s the musician, though I don’t think he practices these days. As for me, I’m not really good at anything as far as arts or hobbies go. I sometimes wonder if those early years might have gone better if I had been.

I don’t know what you mean about descriptions. You mean appearance, or something else?

Sonder is . . . eh. Every time I see him these days, he seems to mostly be concerned with social climbing in the Council. He’s given up chasing me, which I can’t say I’m all that sorry about. I have trouble imagining him rejoining our group, to be honest. None of us are exactly in-group these days, except maybe for Vari, and Sonder likes Vari the least of any of us by a long way (and the feeling’s mutual). I can’t really see it.

Kyle is that adept who’s become Cinder’s sidekick, right? I don’t really care about him one way or another.

From: FicChic

Hi Luna

I’d just like to start by saying that Alex’s books are hands-down my favourite series at the moment – this coming from someone who reads anything and everything (my only criteria for a book is that it be good).

I have a few questions (and I apologize in advance if any have been asked before.

1) How does an apprentice become an Independent Mage? You become a Light Mage by going through the apprentice program then taking the Journeyman tests, and then you have to register with the Council as a Light Mage (correct me if I’m wrong). For Dark mages you pretty much just choose your name and declare yourself a mage, and then dare anyone to challenge you? But what about if you want to be Independent? How would your mage status be recognized then? (As a side note, you are officially considered a Light Mage, right?)
2) Do the Keepers/Council have a special way of imprisoning extra powerful mages? Like a drug or magical item or sonething that reduces/nullifies magical ability? I was actually wondering what would happen if someone like Vihaela gets captured alive…how efficiently would she be able to be imprisoned? Because I think having captured her and then letting her escape would probably come under History’s Worst Blunders.
3) Vesta was the Roman goddess of Hearth and Home, but her original embodiment was Greek and her name was Hestia. So did you choose the Roman version because it sounded better? Just curious =)

1) See Svetli’s question above. And no, you’re not considered a Light mage, though you get much friendlier treatment than a Dark mage would.

2) They have a few ways of limiting magical ability, but none are 100% reliable as far as I know. It’s the usual explanation that’s given as to why Council punishments are so draconian – they can’t just throw large amounts of people in prison and leave them there. I’m pretty sure that for someone like Vihaela, they’d either kill her on sight, or she’d be reported dead after ‘attempting escape’.

3) I’m half-Italian. It’s been a long time since I visited, but still.

From: Henesys

Why doesn’t Alex just step down from the council? Now that Richard’s gone, Morden’s arrested, and he no longer has the death sentence on him, why does he stay? Especially if he’s worried about being used in Richard’s plan. Why doesn’t he just quit the council?

I haven’t asked, but it seems pretty obvious to me. Stepping down wouldn’t stop him from being used by Richard or by anyone else, and it would make it harder for him to fight back against being manipulated in the future, since his Council status is one of the few high cards he’s got. Besides, he’s good at the job.

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Book 9 Update & UK Cover

The last two months of posts have been a solid block of Ask Lunas, but now that the backlog’s clear (or almost clear), here’s an update on Book 9!

Alex Verus #9 is currently on step 4 of the publication process, i.e. edits (if you’re curious about the details of what that means, take a look here).  Probably more relevant to you guys is that we have a provisional release date, namely June 2018.  Here are the book’s pages for Amazon UK and Amazon US, though at the time of writing the Amazon US page is still a placeholder.  There’ll be an audiobook edition as normal – I’ll post the release date when I know more.

We also have a title!  Book #9 will be called Marked, and here’s a look at the UK cover.  

The eagle-eyed among you will have noticed that the UK cover style’s changed a little from the old days.  The exact point at which the switchover happened was Burned, and Orbit are planning to re-release the earlier books in the new style at some point in the future.  For those of you who have the current versions of books #1-#6, this means they won’t match perfectly on your shelves any more, but on the plus side they’ll eventually become collector’s editions.  

As usual, I’ll put up the first chapter of Marked on this site somewhere around April-May.  

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