Author: Marshall Ryan Maresca
Series: The Maradaine Constabulary #1
Mass Market Paperback, 352 Pages
Publication: July 7, 2015 by Daw
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.
Last year I had the opportunity to read Maresca’s debut novel The Thorn of Dentonhill and I absolutely loved it. Maresca expands on the world of Maradaine with a companion series, set in new cities, with new characters. Maresca takes readers away from the pristine ground of Maradaine University to the grim, poverty, crime-ridden areas of Maradaine and introduces readers to the Constables that protect the streets. The book is centered on two of Inemar constables, Satrine Rainey and Minox Welling, but the truth of the matter is; only one of them is a constable and the other one a fake. Satrine was a former street rat and now, a stay-at-home mom of two but due a work related accident leaving her husband paralyzed and unable to care for himself, it’s up to Satrine to keep the household going. Concocting a haphazard plan to keep her family afloat, Satrine doctored fake credentials to get her a high paying position as a Third Class Inspector in the Ienmar Constabulary House. Satrine not thinking much of the job but a means to an end found herself plunged head first into a murder case involving dead mages, circle feuds; all while trying to watch her back and not blow her cover.
Now that I’ve read both of Maresca’s series, I have to say that I liked this series a bit more! A Murder of Mages like The Thorn of Dentonhill is exceptionally well written, with a solid and engaging plot and wonderful world building, but I am a sucker for mysteries and police procedural…and A Murder of Mages had both! I was immediately taken with Satrine and Minox, they made the perfect pair and complemented each other wonderfully like Sherlock and Watson! I especially adored Satrine, I found her to be an interesting and multifaceted character. Satrine used to be a scrappy street rat turned uncover spy turned stay at home mom; she was definitely full of surprises having lived and experienced a hard life. Then there’s Minox, a Third Class Inspector who was special in his own peculiar way. He’s what I’d call antisocial, who always worked alone because no one understood his personality and behavior. What made it even more difficult for Minox was being an un-circled mage, something that feared and frowned upon. It also didn’t help that he lives, breathes and consumes work (and a whole lot of food) making him an outcast not only from the other mages but also the constables. Though they couldn’t be more different, I really loved the dynamic between Minox and Satrine. They just brought out the best in each other. And while I don’t mind reading about partners whose relationship goes from work to intimate, I thought it was refreshing to see their relationship as nothing but platonic which was a nice unexpected change.
It’s rare to have an author write two brand new series alongside each other, in the same world and pull it off…it should be somewhat impossible but Maresca does it brilliantly and successfully. A Murder of Mages is a fantastic new series that expands on the world of Maradaine, with a clever murder mystery and realistic and relatable characters that will have readers coming back for more once they turn the last page. If you haven’t read any of Maresca’s books yet, do yourself a favor and put A Murder of Mages on your list ASAP!