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The Thorn of Dentonhill: A Novel of…

The Thorn of Dentonhill: A Novel of Maradaine (Maradaine Novels)

by Marshall Ryan Maresca

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Showing 5 of 5
Unfortunately I just couldn't connect to the characters in this book.
  dorie.craig | Jun 22, 2017 |
Having read and enjoyed A Murder of Mages, I thought I'd swing back and enjoy this first book of Maradaine. But I was disappointed enough to quit at the half-way point. I was deriving no pleasure from the time spent. Veranix's backstory may be appealing, but delivering it in tiny hints is not beneficial. He appears to be a stupid prat whose actions are ill-considered and land him and his associates in trouble every time. I'm not engaged, I'm annoyed. ( )
  2wonderY | Apr 11, 2017 |
I'm going to take a slightly different tack with my comments on this book to say while I think that the reviews already posted are perfectly good assessments of this novel, I can't say that it engaged my imagination. Apart from reading too much like a super-hero origins story for my tastes, there is also the matter that most of various fantasy stories I've looked at that mirror our own society's current obsession with drugs and narcotics sort of bore me. Being in my late-fifties I've been subjected to so much hand-wringing over the topic of drugs and narcotics I'm inured to the issue. That said I'll credit Maresca with writing snappy dialogue and giving me a sense of place that can support the story that he's writing. Part of me also wonders if I'm simply too old for the book in question, as I can almost see this being one step up from YA in terms of the person who might be the target audience. ( )
  Shrike58 | Oct 29, 2015 |
Full review at Tenacious Reader: http://www.tenaciousreader.com/2015/02/16/review-the-thorn-of-dentonhill-by-mars...

I see so many reviews slamming books for not having “something new” in them. Books like this one make me question why. I mean honestly, if there wasn’t fun in reading certain tropes or types of storylines, we wouldn’t see them so often. I think the more important thing is how it’s executed. This book may not be without its flaws, but it was a fun and exciting read. Yes, it had a magic student with somewhat mysterious and curious background, one that is on a mission of revenge, a kind vigilante in the night, breaking laws to enforce the ones that the constables are not able or willing to do themselves. So much of this sounds familiar, but so much of it is terribly exciting and fun, I just don’t care. Especially since Maresca made it feel fresh through his characters and world.

The book reminded me a bit of the show Arrow (yes, I know it’s based on comics, but having not read them, the show is my reference :) ) The book’s protagonist works in secret to try and take down what is essentially the drug overlord of their city. The drug effite is a nasty thing, overuse can fry people out, leave them as shells of themselves in what is pretty much a vegetative state. Veranix is seeking vengeance for personal tragedy that has hit him and so many others as a result of this drug. Using stealth, a staff, arrows and a bit of magic, he fights and beats the odds many times in some pretty intense action scenes. Complimenting all of this, there is a street gang culture that really adds to the personality of the book.

By day, when Veranix is not traveling by roof tops, trying to make whatever small dents he can into the drug trade, he attends the University of Maradaine where he studies magic. He is evidently quite a talented mage in the making, but is not real keen on the theory behind it. As for the magic system, mages must draw energy from numina, some sort of magical force or material that flows around us. Other than having to draw numina to fuel their spells/magic, I’m not sure I saw much structure to what could or could not be done. I’m sure there’s some deus-a-machine here, but once again, I don’t really care. There were eventually costs to the magic, there were limits and I could understand when he might be able to do more or less magic. Sounds good enough to me!

My main point is, books like this are just fun to read. Finally, while not giving anything away, I will mention that I loved how this book ended. It had a clear ending, but what I really liked about the ending was how it set up relationships and possibilities for the next book (which I definitely plan on reading). ( )
  tenaciousreader | Mar 17, 2015 |
Ryan Marshall Maresca introduces us to the world of Maradaine with his new novel The Thorn of Dentonhill, transporting us to a vibrant and diverse city where powerful mages, university students, assassins and street gangs all call home. Our protagonist is Veranix Calbert, a magic student by day and vigilante by night. When the sun goes down, Veranix ventures out into the streets, disrupting the local drug trade in the hopes of bringing down the notorious crime boss Fenmere, the man who killed Veranix’s father and destroyed his mother’s mind.

One night, Veranix intercepts a delivery in progress, absconding with a major shipment worth forty thousand crowns. But instead of finding the mother lode of drugs in the satchel, he finds…a cloak and a coil of rope?! What’s so special about these mundane objects, and what could Fenmere want with them?

What follows is a highly entertaining tale of mystery and adventure as we learn more about circumstances behind this botched trade. There’s also the intriguing details when it comes to Veranix’s double life. The idea of an average everyman moonlighting as a crime-fighter/vigilante certainly isn’t a new one, but the novel feels unique nonetheless, thanks to the author bringing his own fresh twist to the story. For example, it turns out that Veranix isn’t just your typical mage-in-training, and his tragic history and his family ties to the street gangs make him an irresistible hero.

One of the key strengths here are the characters. At times, even the indomitable Veranix is outshined by the supporting cast, with his friend and roommate Delmin standing out as one of my favorites. Another character who ended up growing on me is Veranix’s cousin Colin, street captain of the Rose Street Princes. This also brings me to how much I loved Maresca’s portrayal of the different street gangs, painting most of them as a lovable bunch of guys rather than just your typical two-bit delinquents. Above all else, the Princes are family and united against the “true” bad guys, who are Fenmere and his buddies at the top. It’s really refreshing to see support within a gang rather than the usual power-struggles.

I also love the world Maresca has created. It’s surprisingly rich, featuring a long and complex history and populated by many cultures. Other than a couple of awkward information dumps near the beginning of the novel, most of the world-building is revealed to us organically over the course of the story. In retrospect, I find it quite impressive that the author was able to work in so much information without overwhelming the reader or distracting from the plot. Maresca brings us the whole package, complete and well-constructed.

If you’re looking for something fun and light for your next fantasy read, look no further than The Thorn of Dentonhill, an incredible start to a new series from an author who is clearly on his way to great things. I liked its balance between drama and action, and was pleasantly surprised at the amount of world building and character development. I’m looking forward to seeing more! ( )
  stefferoo | Feb 10, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0756410266, Mass Market Paperback)

Veranix Calbert leads a double life. By day, he’s a struggling magic student at the University of Maradaine. At night, he spoils the drug trade of Willem Fenmere, crime boss of Dentonhill and murderer of Veranix’s father. He’s determined to shut Fenmere down.
With that goal in mind, Veranix disrupts the delivery of two magical artifacts meant for Fenmere's clients, the mages of the Blue Hand Circle.  Using these power-filled objects in his fight, he quickly becomes a real thorn in Fenmere's side.
So much so that soon not only Fenmere, but powerful mages, assassins, and street gangs all want a piece of “The Thorn.” And with professors and prefects on the verge of discovering his secrets, Veranix’s double life might just fall apart. Unless, of course, Fenmere puts an end to it first.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:33 -0400)

Veranix Calbert leads a double life. By day, he's a struggling magic student at the University of Maradaine. At night, he spoils the drug trade of Willem Fenmere, crime boss of Dentonhill and murderer of Veranix's father.

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