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Has The Thorn met his match?

The Alchemy of Chaos: A Novel of the Maradaine

by Marshall Ryan Maresca

Berkley/ DAW

Sci Fi & Fantasy

Pub Date: February 2, 2016


The Alchemy of Chaos differs greatly from Marshall Ryan Maresca’s A Murder of Mages. While the latter is a fantasy/police procedural, The Alchemy of Chaos is a fantasy adventure set in the same world. Both are excellent novels, but The Alchemy of Chaos is likely to appeal to a broader audience, particular younger fantasy fans.

Veranix (the Thorn) is a blend of Harry Potter and Zorro - a student of magic by day, and a vigilante mage by night. Armed with a whip and a quip, Veranix’s alterego The Thorn targets Fenmere and the dealers of the drug that destroyed his mother and threaten all of Aventil. Like Harry, Vernix has allies amongst his fellow students. While undoubtedly the majority of physical efforts are his, Colin, Kaiana, Delmin and his other friends provide invaluable assistance.

In The Alchemy of Chaos, Veranix faces his most difficult challenge. The Red Rabbits appear to be entering the drug trade and Fenmere has has hired the Deadly Birds, a team of assassins, to publicly humiliate and kill The Thorn. At the same time, a skilled alchemist is targeting the University of Maradaine - each attack more vicious than the last.

The Alchemy of Chaos is lighter fare than A Murder of Mages, but nonetheless it is a fantastic novel filled with action and adventure. Maresca’s writing will definitely appeal to a wide range of fantasy readers of all ages. If you like Brandon Sanderson or J.K. Rowling, you will definitely enjoy Maresca’s Maradaine novels, particularly The Alchemy of Chaos.


I received a copy of The Alchemy of Chaos from the publisher and in exchange for an honest review.



Veranix Calbert is The Thorn—the street vigilante-turned-legend—and a danger to Willem Fenmere, the drug kingpin of Dentonhill. Veranix is determined to stop Fenmere and the effitte drug trade, especially when he discovers that Fenmere is planning on using the Red Rabbits gang in his neighborhood. But Veranix is also a magic student at the University of Maradaine, and it's exam week. With his academic career riding on his performance, there's no time to go after Fenmere or the Red Rabbits. But when a series of pranks on campus grow deadly, it's clear that someone has a vendetta against the university, and Veranix may be the only one who can stop them...


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