What a great start to a new fantasy series! This story is full of action, mystery, fascinating characters and a multilayered conflict that extends beyond one young man’s almost quixotic attempt to bring down a drug trade on his own. There are multiple threads that interconnect the various players and necessarily a lot of backstory to establish the motives and inciting causes for some of the conflict, but the story is fun to read and the battles are exciting and imaginative. The lead character is a bit overly impulsive and occasionally too obtuse to be the star student he is purported to be, but he is still an engaging, although frenetic personality. The glimpse into the hierarchy of gangs and the threat that they pose adds richness to the story, which occasionally gets a little bogged down in its attempt to explain the motives behind several events. There are multiple threads that are left somewhat unresolved and a few of the occurrences seem a little contradictory to the expectations I had about certain individuals, but overall, I think this is an excellent start to the series and I definitely look forward to the next exciting set of adventures involving the “Thorn”.
“The Thorn of Dentonhill” by Marshall Ryan Maresca is an exciting fantasy novel that is the first of the ‘Maradaine’ series and introduces third year magic student Veranix Calbert, who is not only studying numina but is also on a quest to destroy the effitte drug trade that ruined his family, determined to be a ‘thorn’ in the side of those who deal the horrific drug. Unfortunately, he is wreaking havoc with the finely balanced arrangements of the street gangs that have divided up the city, much to the dismay of the one man who knows his true identity. Veranix inadvertently stumbles on a plot that involves a different aspect of magic than he is familiar with and discovers that he needs help from unexpected quarters if he is going to survive long enough to even think about making a difference in Maradaine.
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.