Title: The Thorn of Dentonhill
Author: Marshall Ryan Maresca
Information on series: So far no series, but a 2nd book set in the same world is due out soon.
TL;DR: In the city of Maradaine, vigilante Veranix Calbert takes on the drug dealer who destroyed his family.
Veranix Calbert seems to be an ordinary student of magic at the University of Maradaine. Few people know of his tragic history. His father was killed by drug-lord Willem Fenmere, who then forcibly addicted Veranix’s mother to effitte, which destroyed her mind. Veranix will do almost anything to bring down Fenmere’s empire before it destroys more lives.
Fortunately, his early (and convenient) training as an archer and acrobat in the circus comes in handy. His magical abilities help him jump to the tops of buildings in a single bound.
Things get more interesting when Veranix accidentally steals a magical rope and cloak, rather than an effitte shipment. He discovers that wearing the cloak allows him to do much more magic than he normally can, and the rope can be directed magically by his thoughts.
Unfortunately for Veranix, the powerful Blue Hand Circle of mages were the intended recipients of the rope and cloak. Now, they’re out to find the mysterious “Thorn” in Fenmere’s side, too.
While the premise of this book is novel, the execution had problems. The dialogue seemed either clunky or cheesy most of the time, and it kept me from enjoying the flow of the story. The names of the characters felt overly contrived. I also had problems overlooking the Veranix’s clichéd background. All I kept thinking was that it was a weird mash-up of Batman and Robin’s backstories.
The one bright spot in this novel, and the reason that I *might* read another book of Mr. Maresca’s was his portrayal of the Rose Street Princes, one of the street gangs mentioned in the book. I enjoyed the character of Colin, one of the street captains of the Princes, who is also Veranix’s cousin. Colin provided a glimmer of hope that Maresca can create a real character, and not just a caricature.
Author’s Website: http://mrmaresca.com/wp
Read or view alikes:
Any of the “Batman” graphic novels, although especially the ones in which Bruce Wayne remembers his parents.
The TV series “Arrow”, or Netflix series “Daredevil,” for their vigilante themes.
The Iron Druid series by Kevin Hearne for its pacing and adventure.
Reviewed by: Teresa Dahlgren, Waterloo Public Library