Tuesday, March 14, 2017

#Tuesday Review - The Holver Alley Crew by @marshallmaresca (Fantasy) @dawbooks

Series: The Streets of Maradine # 1
Format: Paperback, 352 pages
Release Date: March 7, 2017
Publisher: Daw Books
Source: Publisher
Genre: Fantasy

Mixing high fantasy and urban fantasy, The Holver Alley Crew is the first novel of Maresca’s third interconnected series set in the fantasy city of Maradaine-- The Streets of Maradaine
The Rynax brothers had gone legit after Asti Rynax's service in Druth Intelligence had shattered his nerves, and marriage and fatherhood convinced Verci Rynax to leave his life of thievery. They settled back in their old neighborhood in West Maradaine and bought themselves a shop, eager for a simple, honest life. Then the Holver Alley Fire incinerated their plans. With no home, no shop, and no honest income—and saddled with a looming debt—they fall back on their old skills and old friends.
With a crew of other fire victims, Asti and Verci plan a simple carriage heist, but the job spirals out of control as they learn that the fire was no accident. Lives in Holver Alley were destroyed out of a sadistic scheme to buy the land. Smoldering for revenge, burdened with Asti's crumbling sanity, the brothers lead their crew of amateurs and washouts to take down those responsible for the fire, no matter the cost.

The Holver Alley Crew is the first installment in author Marshall Ryan Maresca's The Streets of Maradine series. For those who are new to this author, this is the third series which is set in a place called Maradine. The first series is called Maradine, while the second is  called The Maradine Constabulary. The one constant that pretty much remains the same no matter what series you choose to read, is that the settings are dark, dreary, while the characters are unique, fascinating, and you can definitely follow the struggles of each of the primary characters.

The Holver Alley Crew is no exception. This is a story about two brothers; Asti and Verci Rynax. The story is set in what is considered to be West Maradine. Asti and Rynax have decided to open their own business and sunk every last dime
of their resources to do so. Then, a fire destroys Gadgeterium and surrounding homes and businesses in a place called Holver Alley. After barely escaping with their lives, and with Verci's wife Raychelle and their daughter, the brothers decide it might be time to go back into the business. 

Asti and Verci may be related by blood, but there is things that separate the brothers. Asti, for instance, is a former employee of the Druth Intelligence who was caught spying. Asti isn't the same after spending some time in a very unpleasant place where they broke his mind which has left him a totally different person. Verci is an inventor with a young child & wife to protect. The Rynax brothers were raised by their father in an environment that we shall call the trades. They were really good at it before deciding to go clean. 

Asti and Verci's goal is pretty straightforward. Pick up the best crew they possibly can, and dig into who would have had the resources to burn down people's homes, businesses, and leaving behind a staggering death toll. The crew consists of Mila Kendish, Kennith Rill, Helene, and Julien plus a few others that are more tertiary. After successfully pulling off a remarkably brilliant carriage robbery, the crews next target could be the biggest haul they have ever seen. But, in order to survive, it will mean laying it all on the line. Can Asti keep the red in check? Or, will his demons leave the crew in a bad way?

So, while reading this book, I did for one minute compare the novel to Ocean's Eleven. I did so because the crew takes on a well guarded and nearly impossible place of business that is at the route of finding out who was behind the conspiracy to commit arson and murder. If they are successful, they will walk away with not only a huge score, but solid proof that shenanigans and machinations were behind the Holver Alley fire. Funny story. The crew is nearly as big as Ocean's. 

I adored Helene. She is such a badass with a crossbow, and she almost never misses. She is very protective of her cousin Julien who is a beast of a man, but also tender in his soul. Then there is perky Mila a 16-year old street urchin who becomes part of the Rynax crew after losing her sister. Keeping with previous novels, Maresca adds a bit of diversity with the introduction of Kennith Rill. This story is action packed. It is filled with a bit of mystery as well because you never know who is going to betray whom. 

As an FYI, if you are interested in reading other works from this author, let me give you a guideline to go by:

Other works include THE THORN OF DENTONHILL, A MURDER OF MAGES, THE ALCHEMY OF CHAOS, AN IMPORT OF INTRIGUE. THE IMPOSTERS OF AVENTIL is coming in October 2017. LADY HENTERMAN’S WARDROBE is the sequel to The Holver Alley Crew, and released in 2018.

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