This is a review of the book “The Thorn of Dentonhill: A Novel of Maradaine” by Marshall Ryan Maresca.
Veranix Calbert leads a double life. By day he’s a struggling student at the University, by night he’s a vigilante destroying the drug trade of Fenmere – the crime boss of Dentonhill. When Veranix disrupts the delivery of two magical artifacts and uses these two items in his fight he soon 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”. Add to this the professors and prefects at the University on the verge of discovering his secrets, and Veranix’s life is about to get even more difficult than before.
It is a vast city-world that wer are introduced to. The streets and the different districts of the city have been imagined excellently by the author. It is obvious that he took his time with that and the world around the city from what little is mentioned throughout the story. The same with the life in the city even if most of it is focused on the street gangs and what Veranix does or sees.
The characters are varied and many. The students of the university, the prefects, the many members of the various street gangs, the doxies, Fenmere himself, the mages of the Blue Hand Circle, Veranix’s cousin and friends and dorm-mates. There are a lot of them even if they are very much on the periphery of everything. Sometimes a bit too peripheral. There were several people that I wanted to knowmore about.
There are a couple of things that pull this book down, however, one big and one small.
It is rather difficult to actually get to like the main character. His cockiness and hypocricy, his rash actions and apparent lack of things or people to lose despite the very opposite, and the mystery surrounding him all conspire against him. Veranix isn’t a bad character, he just lacks the little extra to make him truly likable. In fact, the secondary characters are more likable than him because they accept and show that they have things to lose.
None of this is helped by the second failing of the book: failing to attain a certain gravitas. Despite being light romps of adventure other books have managed to gain the little extra that makes the reader invested, but this book doesn’t. Especially not when it comes to the main character’s life.
To tell the truth, I couldn’t finish the book. I stopped 100 pages from the end, but it isn’t a bad book. It is a quick read and doesn’t demand much from the reader. It has a workable plot. It was just that the main character annoyed me too much to actually finish the book.
It is an okay book, and I suppose that I do recommend it.