Series: The Maradaine Constabulary
Published by DAW on July 07, 2015
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Sexual Content: References to rape and sex
Reviewed by: James
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.
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.
A MURDER OF MAGES is a book that should’ve been right up my alley. A murder mystery, taking place in a victorian era alternate world with magic. Though A MURDER OF MAGES starts really strong, introducing Satrine and her forged papers, and then throwing her and her new partner directly into a case. The story quickly stalled out until the action picked up again in the middle of the book. So I would rate the first half of the book two bats, and the second half four.
When I read a murder mystery I expect to be fed just enough clues that everything clicks into place when the murderer is discovered. I don’t want to figure out who the murderer is before the characters, but I want to feel like I have a fighting chance. With A MURDER OF MAGES I never felt like either I or the characters really knew that much about the murderer. They just kept stumbling along until the very end, and the murderer reveal was a bit of a let down.
The best part of A MURDER OF MAGES is easily the characters. There were a couple of points where I put the book down because I was bored, but what always drew me back the next day was my desire to see the characters again. Maresca did an excellent job creating really fleshed out characters that interacted together perfectly.
Despite the negative things I have to say about A MURDER OF MAGES, I am currently planning on reading the sequel when it comes out. I just hope that the second book in The Maradaine Constabulary series flows a little better and moves quite a bit faster.
- A Murder of Mages