The Imposters of Aventil by Marshall Ryan Maresca – Review

Cover- The Imposters of Aventil

Published: October 3, 2017

Publisher: DAW Books

Genre: Fantasy

Series: Maradaine #3

Pages: 383 (Mass Market)

My Rating: 4.5/5.0

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Summer and the Grand Tournament of High Colleges have come to the University of Maradaine. If the heat and the crowds weren’t enough to bring the campus and the neighborhood of Aventil to a boiling point, rumors that The Thorn is on the warpath—killing the last of the Red Rabbits—is enough to tip all of Maradaine into the fire.

Except Veranix Calbert, magic student at the University, is The Thorn, and he’s not the one viciously hunting the Red Rabbits. Veranix has his hands full with his share of responsibilities for the Tournament, and as The Thorn he’s been trying to find the source of the mind-destroying effitte being sold on campus. He’s as confused as anyone about the rumors.

When The Thorn imposter publicly attacks the local Aventil constables, the Constabulary bring in their own special investigators: Inspectors Minox Welling and Satrine Rainey from the Maradaine Grand Inspectors Unit. Can Veranix find out who the imposter is and stop him before Welling and Rainey arrest him for the imposter’s crimes?

Well here it is – the first official Maradaine cross-over novel! This was set up to happen perfectly – An Import of Intrigue resulted in the development of the Grand Inspector’s Unit which allowed Inspectors Welling and Rainey to go outside their usual jurisdiction when a Thorn imposter perpetrated an attack on several Aventil officers. The cross-over was well executed, with Veranix and his crew taking center stage as they should and our favorite Inspector duo playing a delightful supporting role. It was so great to finally have characters from both books meet and interact! *fangirling excessively* It also didn’t feel cheesy like all the crossovers in the DC tv universe do…

One of my favorite parts about The Imposters of Aventil is that the whole fiasco is occurring during the biggest collegiate sporting event ever. It’s basically the university Olympics – students and fans from all over have come to participate and the atmosphere is one of a ceaseless drunken revel. It sounds like it would be such a fun event! Veranix of course ends up involved in everything– he performs during the opening ceremony, coaches the U of M tetchball team, AND tries to keep up with his alternate life. Poor guy is stretched so thin you can practically see through him.

There’s really a ton of stuff going on in this book when you look past the main plot. There’s turmoil amongst the gangs since the Red Rabbits were demolished, Colin is on the bad side of the bosses of the Rose Street Princes, a new drug has made its way onto campus, and the Aventil Constabulary has its own heap of nonsense and lackadaisical attitude. There’s always several significant subplots going on in MRM’s books, but I think this is the first time it’s really stood out to me as I read it. I get really into stories and zoom through them without a great deal of thought and things like this don’t usually stand out to me until I reflect upon it afterwards. I didn’t feel overwhelmed by the details either, which is a credit to the author’s writing skills.

Every single one of the Maradaine books have been adventurous, fun reads that leave me with a sunnier disposition by the end. I honestly wish I knew more people (in person) that read fantasy because I would foist these books at them in a heartbeat! I would recommend reading them in publication order so you can get the max effect and avoid any potential spoilers, however minor they may be, but it’s not required or anything. I think these would be particularly appealing to those younger readers who are beginning to venture out of the YA genre and into “adult” fantasy because they do have a fast paced, action packed storyline, relatable characters, and even a smidgen of love interest in the Maradaine series. I realize I always end up talking about the all the series together, but The Imposters of Aventil in particular was a great story and made more exceptional by how well the character cross-over was handled. Can’t wait for the next one!

11 thoughts on “The Imposters of Aventil by Marshall Ryan Maresca – Review

Add yours

  1. As someone who’s looking in from the outside, I wish he’d clearly label his series names and numbers and stick to one until it is finished. From what I can tell from various reviews, he’s got 3!!!! Maradaine series going all at once?

    Between your reviews and Mogsy’s at Bibliosanctum, I’ll probably give these a go next year. You both seem to really enjoy them.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sadly this is the series I had to break away from, simply because he’s got too many going at the same time to keep up with them all! I prioritized the Constabulary series and now the new Streets of Maradaine series, but I’m glad to hear you’re having a blast with the Thorn!


    1. I’ve read all of them and they’re all really great. Excellent characters, pretty unique neighborhoods, but all focused around crime of one sort or another.


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