Benedict Jacka decided to expand quite a bit on Alex Verus's back story in Chosen. See, we knew from prior outings that Alex started out as an apprentice to the Dark Mage Richard Drake, but we enevr really heard much about it, beyond the occasional hint here and there.
We start with Alex living what passes for the normal life of a Divination Mage with his apprentice Luna, and two other apprentice mages looking for a mentor whom we met in the last book in service to a rakasha. (That would be Varian and Anne.)
Anne, who's a Life Mage, senses someone spying. After more than a bit of chase and spying, we find out 6 Adepts (basically one trick mages) are out to get Alex based on one's vendetta due to something Alex did in his past.
Given that there's a bunch of stuff Alex doesn't know about the situation, we cross into a subplot wherein Alex winds up in "Elsewhere", sort of an Astral/Umbral/Ethereal Plane. It's here where we meet Shireen again, one of the other three apprentices Alex studied under Richard with. Shireen ends up giving Alex a tour of Rachel's (now Deleo, another apprentice of Richard's. The fourth, Tobruk was killed by alex before the series began.) memories concerning the events in question. Namely, kidnapping the girl who's brother is now stalking Alex, convinced he killed her.
Ugh. It's well written stuff, but it goes much darker than this series has gone before. I mean, yeah, Dark mage carries its own connotations of evil and such, but it's really quite a bit like reading how Lucas SHOULD have handled Anakin's transition to Sith Lord.
Without going into graphic detail, dealing with themes on when murder is justified is not something I really expect out of these types of books. I mean, yeah, the series is kind of Magic noir, but....
Anyway, Yeah, kind of glad I came back to this series now.