A Murder of Mages by Marshall Ryan Maresca
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.
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.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
This one was great, actually. It did remind me of a mix between the X-Files and Sherlock Holmes, but it was very good and original. I enjoyed the dynamic of Satrine and Minox. I think I enjoyed it more because she was married so there was no chance of an unnecessary romance between the two of them.
One of the things I didn't like was the lag between the action sequences. I think it was an attempt at character development, but these scenes were not needed. There were some that I did find useful and enjoyable -- and I think they will come into play if there is more to the series. But mostly, they were not necessary.
The whole circled vs. uncircled mage thing was a tad confusing to me because there wasn't much explanation or back story around magic or mages except that no one really liked them and they did not trust anyone but their own.
I quite enjoyed Satrine. She was a badass and did what she had to in order to survive and provide for her family. Which is an admirable quality. I would love to have more of her back story including her time as an undercover spy during the war. I am looking forward to seeing more of her quick wit in action because she was a treat to read about.
Minox was also quite the character. He was an uncircled mage which means he has magic but no real control over it. He was good at deducing things that didn't seem obvious to everyone else and followed his head and his logic when trying to solve cases. He was probably the most expanded on character in the novel and was my favourite character.
The minor characters were all present and some of them had some redeeming qualities, but I would like to see more of them before passing any real judgement on them.
In terms of plot, it was your typical layout of a mystery novel, but it was really good. There was a logical flow and an interesting enough premise. I would like to know more about the inner workings of the Constabulary and how they determine when cases are solved compared to what Minox believes solved cases are, but otherwise there was enough explanation and world building to get through this one without many questions.
Overall: 4/5. I quite enjoyed this one! I hope there is more for Satrine and Minox.