From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. At the start of Monette's wonderful follow-up to her extraordinary fantasy debut, Mélusine (2005), wizard Felix Harrowgate and his gutter-rat brother, Mildmay the Fox, assassin and cat burglar, are making their way through hostile territory to the city of Mélusine. Felix believes, in a burst of bravado or sheer stubborn foolishness, that he can fix the Virtu, a magical crystal that has kept Mélusine safe for centuries, and regain the good graces of the city. Since Felix's former master used Felix's magic to break the Virtu, Felix feels a personal responsibility. Mildmay, the cautious, practical half of the duo, isn't as complacent about the task. Before long, a young governess joins the party as well as two wizards, whom they rescue from being burned at the stake. Together the strangely cohesive group follows a winding path back to Mélusine, the Virtu and their destiny. This sequel is every bit as original and satisfying as its predecessor. (July)
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Wizard Felix Harrogate's master has stripped Felix of his magic in a sadistic ritual that destroyed the Virtu, which protects the city of Melusine, and had him declared a heretic outcast. Felix, maddened by this disaster, and his brother, cat burglar-assassin Mildmay the Fox, permanently injured by a magical curse gone awry, have spent considerable time recovering, and now Felix wants his former life, status, and power back. He determines to do the impossible: return to Melusine and repair and reactivate the Virtu. He doesn't, however, count on encountering his former master, Malker Gennadion, face-to-face. In another fine, compelling volume, Monette tidies up the loose ends and unresolved issues of Melusine (2005). Often-insufferable Felix and street-savvy Mildmay are nicely developed further, and a new central character, Mehitabel Parr, adds color and balance to their cadre. As before, no one is exactly who or what he or she seems, which only increases the fun. The magic is delightfully inventive, and the world Monette creates includes some truly intriguing aspects. Nor could one find a more deliciously sadistic villain than Malker. Perhaps best of all is Monette's authorial voice, abundantly blessed with originality, sophistication, and artistry. Paula Luedtke
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