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The Virtu (Melusine) Hardcover – June 27, 2006

4.6 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

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
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Series: Melusine (Book 2)
  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Ace Hardcover; 1st Ed edition (June 27, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0441014046
  • ISBN-13: 978-0441014040
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.4 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,200,472 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
_The Virtu_ is the second half of _Melusine_. If publishers still published large one-volume novels instead of series, the two would have worked perfectly as one book. I recommend buying both books at once and reading them in order without stopping.

The narrative is still a seamless combination of Felix and his half-brother Mildmay. The two voices are done very well. Unlike some multiple-viewpoint novels, the plot is never confusing because one narrator always takes up precisely where the other one left off.

The fantasy world is unusual and interesting, and the two main characters have great depth. Felix and Mildmay have similar pasts, but have evolved in different ways. Their strengths and weaknesses complement each other extremely well as far as their relationship and the plot goes. Both are damaged characters (mentally and physically), but still capable of good acts. Felix is here shown on his sane, or "up" side, which makes him distinctly more likeable than he was in _Melusine_. Granted, he's conceited, quickly angered, and manipulative, but he's also talented, sometimes charming, and highly intelligent and well educated. Frankly, he was too much of a one-note character in _Melusine_--all he did there was cower and whine, and none of his better traits were visible. Mildmay is much the same as in _Melusine_, but he's an interesting portrait of how a harsh background can form a person who is a professional criminal, but still capable of many generous acts. Both Felix and Mildmay evolve throughout the two books, struggling to become better people. They succeed to some extent; but realistically, with very slow progress, backslidings, and unpleasant self-realizations.
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Format: Hardcover
Read this book. I can't recommend it strongly enough.

This novel picks up where _Melusine_leaves off, with Felix newly returned to sanity and Mildmay learning to deal with the injury to his leg. I don't want to give any of the plot away -- everyone should have the joy of watching it unfold at its own pace -- but I will say that every plot twist is satisfying, and appears strangely perfect and inevitable once it happens. Which is not to say that you see any of it coming, because you don't, not with any degree of surety, not until it's already upon you.

Felix is not a particularly likeable guy, a fact acknowledged by everyone, himself included. Mildmay, on the other hand, is one of the most sympathetic and compelling characters in modern fantasy. Watching his relationship with Felix develop, in both healthy and unhealthy ways, is consistently fascinating. You understand why they do what they do, even when their actions make you wince. The desire to find out what happens next may cost you sleep. It did me.

A rare novel, a rare author. I really hope there are more books in this series. You're not going to find better fantasy anywhere.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is the sequel to Melusine, and that's by way of saying they're more like two volumes of a single tale than two standalone books. Melusine gets Felix and Mildmay to where they were going, but once they're there they have to patch themselves up and then get home...and that's only the beginning.

The first book introduced the characters as individuals, and used various adventures during their journey to let you get to know them better. This book is all about the characters interacting--specifically Felix and Mildmay, who remain the two POV characters in this continuing first person narrative.

Felix was psychologically damaged in the first book, requiring Mildmay to protect him. In this book, it's turnabout as Felix recovers and Mildmay quickly finds himself out of his depth. A common thief without any magic, he's looked down upon by the wizards who Felix seems constantly surrounded with, and in some cases he finds himself helpless at their hands. What's more, too much has happened for him to return to his old life, and he's cast adrift to find a new niche for himself. He's in over his head with Felix himself, too: the hapless madman from the first book is gone, replaced by a powerful, confident and charismatic man who's used to getting his way through any means necessary.

But Mildmay is no pushover, and Felix isn't all-powerful, and the two of them quickly discover how much they need each other--a prospect that doesn't comfort either of these men who're used to living their lives in emotional isolation. But it makes for great reading, let me tell you. This book is saturated with the developing relationship between the two brothers, touching scenes and false starts and sometimes lashing out as they increasingly realize they're in this together.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Prior to this book, read the first book in the series, "Melusine", and just ignore the embarrassing artwork that looks like Fabio's red haired cousin. That book, with it's dual first person narration creates unique and distinct character voices and a refreshingly original take on the fantasy wizards n theives genre, will suck you in. The fact that one of the voices is of a character who has been deliberately driven stark raving bonkers just adds to the fascination.

The author never stoops to explain the convoluted magic/nonmagic world of the novels, it is inferred through the character's accounts, and gradually unfolds to gain a separate reality of its own, in the tradition of the excellent fantasy works by McMasters Bujold, Le Guin, McKillip, Kage Baker, Jordan, Herbert, even early McCaffrey (yes I said it).

I did have a little personal difficulty with the fact that one of the main characters is gay, and this is an important part of his character and situation. I got over it however, because this is just one aspect of the story that revolves around two unlikely brothers drawn together in the most difficult of circumstances. It is just one of the things that shows how different the brothers are.

How would you like to finally meet your high-falutin wizard half-brother just when he's been driven out of his mind by a dangerous magical assault and kicked out of the prestigious ruling party as the worst kind of traitor? If you are thief and murderer Mildmay, you will yearn for family you never had, and respond with single minded loyalty, in the face of every kind of dissuasion, difficulty, and disaster--not the least of which is the lack of gratitude from the brother in question. Will they find a cure? Can Mildmay outrun his own past? Will they elude capture?
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