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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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This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: The Thorn of Dentonhill
Series: Maradaine #1
Author: Marshall Maresca
Rating: 2 of 5 Stars
Genre: YA/Fantasy
Pages: 400
Format: Digital Edition


Veranix Calbert is the son of a former gang leader. His father fled the city but when it was discovered that “Veranix” had magical talent, the family returned for just a couple of days to drop the boy off at an academy under his now assumed name. Another gang leader, Willem Fenmere, used those days to kill the father and brain burn the mother with an illegal drug.

Now a young mage, Veranix spends his nights taking out two bit hoods who sell the drug and giving any of their money to local charities. By day he has to be a student full time. In the process of spoiling what he thinks is a huge drug deal, Veranix comes into possession of a magical cape and rope. Using these items, his war against Fenmere escalates, to the point where Fenmere hires professional assassins to kill The Thorn.

It leads to his professor and a young woman who has been helping him all along being kidnapped by some mages who hired Fenmere to import the cape and rope. With the help of his friend and a cousin in a gang and some just plain dumb luck, Veranix rescues everybody, keeps his identity a secret and prevents one of the bad mages from gaining some super serious magic stuff.

Then its back to school and business as usual.

My Thoughts:

I went into this book, and series, with a really bad attitude towards the author. He's currently writing 3!!!!! Maradaine related series, which wasn't real bad, but I'd prefer he writes one series then the next. But what crossed the line was when he intersected two of the series, making it imperative to have read book 1 and 2 of one series and book 1 or 2 of the second series to understand the 3rd book in series one. That pissed me off. So that was my starting point.

I had heard lots of good things though, so I figured I needed to give this guy a chance.

Right off the bat, it's Young Adult. Then the main character Veranix acts like every stupid teenage male you could imagine. He's going after dealers and stealing their take each week? While completely ignoring going after Fenmere? Then, from a student perspective, he's talented, very talented and coasts on that and is one lazy son of a gun instead of working hard. Then when he does go out at night, he does NO planning, no tactics, no strategies, just shoot, hit and run and kind of counts on his natural abilities and acrobat training to get him through. He's a phracking idiot is what he is.

There were 4 distinct places where I almost DNF'd this. I hate stupid characters and Veranix was deliberately written as an angry, rash, stupid young man. Everybody else covers for him and instead of growing up and learning and becoming better, he's just clueless about their sacrifices on his behalf. I became an angry middle aged man reading about this chowderhead!

The story was good though and that is why this got even 2 stars. It is also the reason I'm giving Maresca one more book to turn things around. But if the characters in the next book act just as stupidly, I'll be coming down like a ton of bricks on that and abandon this author like a pile of donkey diarhea.

★★☆☆☆ , ( )
1 vote BookstoogeLT | Jan 21, 2018 |
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 |
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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. 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.… (more)

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