Friday, October 02, 2015

Review: A Murder of Mages by Marshall Ryan Maresca

A Murder of Mages
Author:  Marshall Ryan Maresca
Series:  The Maradaine Constabulary 1
Publisher:  DAW, July 7, 2015
Format:  Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 352 pages
List Price:  $7.99 (print); $7.99 (eBook)
ISBNs:  9780756410278 (print); 9780698180109 (eBook)
Review Copy:  Provided by the Publisher

A Murder of Mages marks the debut of Marshall Ryan Maresca’s novels of The Maradaine Constabulary, his second series set amid the bustling streets and crime-ridden districts of the exotic city called Maradaine. A Murder of Mages introduces us to this spellbinding port city as seen through the eyes of the people who strive to maintain law and order, the hardworking men and women of the Maradaine Constabulary.

Satrine Rainey—former street rat, ex-spy, mother of two, and wife to a Constabulary Inspector who lies on the edge of death, injured in the line of duty—has been forced to fake her way into the post of Constabulary Inspector to support her family.

Minox Welling is a brilliant, unorthodox Inspector and an Uncircled mage—almost a crime in itself. Nicknamed “the jinx” because of the misfortunes that seem to befall anyone around him, Minox has been partnered with Satrine because no one else will work with either of them.

Their first case together—the ritual murder of a Circled mage— sends Satrine back to the streets she grew up on and brings Minox face-to-face with mage politics he’s desperate to avoid. As the body count rises, Satrine and Minox must race to catch the killer before their own secrets are exposed and they, too, become targets.

Doreen’s Thoughts

Marshall Ryan Maresca has done it again. After introducing readers to Maradaine through the eyes of criminals in The Thorn of Dentonhill (Maradaine 1), he focuses now on the constabulary, the ones catching the criminals in A Murder of Mages (Maradaine Constabulary 1). After her husband is severely injured, Satrine tricks her way into being named an Inspector to earn a living for herself and her daughters. She is partnered with Minox, who is an untrained mage, unassociated with any controlling circle. The two are charged with solving the murders of several mages within the City.

Satrine is intriguing as a character. While she appears to be a bright and ambitious woman simply trying to provide for her daughters, there are times when Maresca hints at her teenage years, when she worked as a spy. I do think that the scenes with her daughters and her husband (paralyzed and brain damaged during his last case) almost were unnecessary. I would have enjoyed learning more about her experiences during the war as a young spy – perhaps Maresca will return with her story.

Minox, however, remains more of a mystery than Satrine. While he bonds with another Uncircled mage, it really is never explained why he continues to remain Uncircled. That is rather telling since being Uncircled is almost a crime in and of itself.

While the mystery really could never be solved by the reader, it is well thought out. Overall, A Murder of Mages is another rollicking adventure of magic and mayhem.

Also by Marshall Ryan Maresca

The Thorn of Dentonhill
Maradaine 1
DAW, February 3, 2014
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 400 pages
List Price:  $7.99 (print); $7.99 (eBook)
ISBNs:  9780756410261 (print); 9780698180093 (eBook)

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.

See Doreen's review here.


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