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The Virtu (Doctrine of Labyrinths, #2)
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The Virtu (Doctrine of Labyrinths #2)

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating Details ·  2,553 Ratings  ·  127 Reviews
Felix Harrowgate was a dashing and powerful wizard until his former master wrenched Felix’s magic from him and used it to shatter the Virtu—the orb that is the keystone for the protection and magic of the wizards of the city. Felix has painfully clawed his way back to sanity, and his only chance to reclaim the life he once knew is to repair the seemingly irreparable—to res ...more
Hardcover, 439 pages
Published June 27th 2006 by Ace Hardcover
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Feb 22, 2017 Sheila rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2017
3 stars--I liked it.

Felix is still a prat and Mildmay is still an angel.

There are some pacing issues here (an overly quick resolution to the important ending, but some wandering in the middle) that could have been tightened up, but I greatly enjoy this series. On to book 3!
Emma Sea
Loved it, despite the awfully quick resolution. At 90% I was completely certain that the final denoument was going to be in the next book, but instead it got sandwiched into the next 20 pages, and seemed awfully easy. Perhaps in book 3 I shall discover it wasn't that easy after all: there's always that huaphantike to reconsider.

I'd also like to lodge an offical complaint that the het sex is far more detailed than the gay sex: unacceptable! If I have to read about clits than I want naked cocks to
Jan 20, 2017 Juxian rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
Since it was the second book of the series and I read it right after first, it didn't cause me the same unexpected, breathtaken delight as 'Melusine'. It was - oh, simply - the same good as the first book. And I enjoyed every second of reading it. And I fell even more in love with the characters I already knew - and the new characters were okay, too.
Ah Felix; he was a lot less likeable when he was not mad. Now you see, he's still my love in these books and I don't think it will change - but God,
Jul 31, 2007 Punk rated it really liked it
Shelves: queer, fantasy
Fantasy. This is the sequel to Melusine and I enjoyed it a lot more than the first book, though you absolutely need to have read Melusine -- preferably, like, just the day before -- in order to make sense of this one. I picked this up just two weeks after I finished the first book and even then I couldn't remember who Felix was talking about half the time, and Monette doesn't drop any hints to help clue in the reader, which is kind of mean considering how many characters are crammed into this u ...more
Oct 09, 2007 Wealhtheow rated it liked it
This is the sequel to Melusine. Renegade wizard Felix Harrowgate has regained his sanity but is hated, feared and scoffed at across two continents because of his dark past, madness and most recent betrayal, in which he inadvertantly broke the Virtu, the magical core of the Mirador. With his half-brother Mildmay in tow, Felix treks back to the Mirador, where he intends to fix the Virtu.

Now that Felix is sane again, the reader can get a much better grip on his personality. I find him to be a ver
Dec 18, 2015 Paul rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great fantasy/magic series, and I love epic tales in make believe lands far, far away so I'm loving theses books, especially when they're with a kick ass series to boot.

One thing that makes great series like these rise above the others is that they have to stand by quality over quantity or with an epic, consistent quality. There isn't really a lack of anything wrong that a good editor couldn't fix and it's the only slight exception. I sometimes felt that a good 10-20 pages within some chapters
Jun 15, 2011 LenaLena rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This isn't the most fascinating story line I've ever read, but the voice of the book is just wonderful. Mildmay's voice is superb. Not sure I like his character (he is a bit mopey) as much as I do the way he talks. Felix, not so much the way he talks, but he is my kind of character: flawed and obnoxious and complicated. All in all a very satisfying read.
Mar 14, 2009 _inbetween_ rated it really liked it
Already in the first book (Melusine), it seemed to me that Monette read and liked Pratchett, perhaps not a usual trait in her type of genre. Focussing on labyrinths instead of prophecies and gods was also well done.

Just like both male protagonists are said to nearly look the same, the second novel features a reversal of positions that makes it basically the same story again, featuring a sick one and a strong one.
Mildmay's memories, seeming so pointedly more positive than Felix's though they bot
Robert Beveridge
Sep 10, 2009 Robert Beveridge rated it really liked it
Sarah Monette, The Virtu (Ace, 2006)

Monette returns to the rich, detailed world she created in her first novel, Mélusine, for a sequel. And while it's a bit slow out of the gate, a fine sequel it is indeed. Monette expands on some of the stuff that seemed, in the first book, as if it had been for worldbuilding and color more than anything, giving this a more cohesive feel with its predecessor than many sequels. I like that in a book. Quite a lot, actually.

We open not long after the conclusion of
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 19, 2012 Meg rated it really liked it
The Continuing Saga of Felix Trying Not To Be A Dick And Failing At It
Subtitle: Why Can't I Stop Liking Felix He Is Such A Dick But I Still Like Him, The Prick

Sometimes, picking up a sequel is risky. Certainly Virtu had that risked since it promised a certain fundamental change from the first book, Melusine. We barely got to know Felix in the first book before he promptly went completely batshit crazy. And liking crazy Felix and even the Felix at the end of the book doesn't mean we will l
Mar 08, 2013 Zserilyn rated it it was amazing
I liked this better than the first book because it made me just explode with love for Felix. I already liked Felix and his crazy self, and now I liked him even more. I wouldn't like him in real life, but he's the most compelling character of a book since Severus Snape in Harry Potter, and that's saying a hell of a lot, as anyone who knows Severus Snape is pretty keen on.

I can't even begin to start. I'm so used to this book being the breath of me that just sitting away from it to think about it
Jamie Collins
Mar 17, 2012 Jamie Collins rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This is a lot like the first book, except that Felix is less crazy and a lot meaner, and Mildmay has become a complete doormat. The dynamic between them has gotten weird, without the excuse of one of them being insane. The author often uses a technique that I associate with romance novels: she gives the reader two points of view of the same scene, where both parties are misinterpreting the other’s actions or intentions.

Now that I think back on the first book, I guess Mildmay has always had a sub
Feb 13, 2010 Diane rated it liked it
Shelves: mature-reads
This continuance of the story of Felix Harrowgate and his brother Mildmay lost the drive and fascination of the first book, and left us with a character who was far more interesting and likable when mad, and his brother who has become one-dimensional and is used as a doormat all the way through. The magic and inspiration of the first book is gone. Isolated encounters linger for a few chapters and then are gone, and don't tie into the overall plot. What is humorous is that the author has her char ...more
Jun 18, 2007 geekturnedvamp rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I don't think it would work well as a standalone, but I enjoyed this sequel. There was more satisfying plot resolution at the end than in the first book, but at the same time it's clear that this is still a middle volume in a series. The pacing was also a little better, because even if you hate Felix--which I don't--I think the fact that he is no longer completely insane, as he was for almost the entire previous book, really helps. Of course, sanity does not equal healthy boundaries for Felix, e ...more
Jan 02, 2011 Hilary rated it really liked it
A top-notch follow-up to Melusine.

Spoilers are impossible to avoid in any discussion of the plot, so I'll say:

1. I stayed up most of the night reading it.
2. It's just as gut-wrenching and dark as Melusine; you've been warned.
3. It introduces some great new characters, and fleshing out of older ones.
4. The labyrinth storyline was more beautifully rendered than I could have hoped.
5. The world-building, especially explanations of different magical theories and practices, is as outstanding as ever.
Aug 18, 2013 Desinka rated it really liked it
A solid 4.5 stars. I loved this installment of the series even more than Melusine. The Felix/Mildmay relationship was even more intriguing than in the first book and I loved the new addition to the team. I loved both brother's POVs, and I laughed at Mildmay's sarcasm more than once (though I'm sure he has no idea what the word means).

I'm going on with The Mirador.
Meh, LAME.

*sigh. Just can't compare with mad-Felix, you know?
The rest of just all seemed...too easy...
except for what I really wanted to happen. That was excruciating and in the end never did come to pass, those jerks.

Ah, well. Can't have everything, ne?

Might I also mention I dislike GR's perchance to switch editions on you? Argh.
Aug 24, 2015 Ascian rated it really liked it

This is actually the first book of the series that I got to read (Melusine, The Mirador, and Corambis came to me later). You can tell how much I liked it by the fact that I bought all 3 other books as soon as I could.

Feb 06, 2016 Ana rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
"You could've dyed all the laundry in Lyonesse black with the mood I was in":((
Jun 04, 2017 Brian rated it really liked it
This series just about blew me away. Most of the fantasy series I've found in the last couple years fall under the "Grimdark" genre, and it was enlightening to find this. (There is commentary from the author that claims these books are as dark and grim as they come, but there is entirely too little bloodshed, the characters are too sympathetic and relatable, and the overall world is too vivid and realistic with the possibility of being nice, for me to consider this grimdark.)
The books are writte
Mar 09, 2017 Siina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Virtu is the second part of the Doctrine of Labyrinths series and makes us dive deeper into the world of Mélusine along with our half brothers Felix and Mildmay. It's hard to depict the plot, since the book is like a long road trip in a sense moving towards the end. Felix is now cured of his madness and he feels the need to repair the Virtu that he broke and mostly because it's the core of magic. He begins this with Mildmay only to learn that Malkar is actually alive and kicking and suddenly ...more
Evan Pickett
Mar 19, 2017 Evan Pickett rated it really liked it
A solid sequel and an entertaining fantasy adventure. I really love the pace of these books, where action scenes are not dragged out. The language barrier felt smaller in this book, with most of the new vocabulary being described as they were introduced. However, I still really struggle with some of the language. It's really hard to pick their accents, with Mildmay mixing 19th Century English words (e.g. molly) with modern-day American (y'all and 'an herb'). This needs to be more consistent, as ...more
Oct 10, 2015 Susan rated it it was amazing

It's been so long since I've found a series that I've gotten heart-wrenchingly emotionally invested in. Bless Sarah Monette. It's definitely not the best written book, but it's getting five stars from me just because I loved it so very much.

The characters are wonderful. All of them. Felix and Mildmay are the exact type of deeply fucked up, deeply flawed but very likable characters that I love reading about. I was so galled at Felix's existence at some points in the book lmfa
May 26, 2015 robyn rated it liked it
Shelves: magic
This is the second in the Labyrinths series, and my least favorite, being the continuing adventures of Felix and Mildmay, in which Mildmay’s health and fortunes just seem to go down, down, down and Felix’s fortunes, conversely, go up, up, up. Felix actually seems to have ended up in a better place than he was prior to the events of Melusine, and Mildmay, who’s permanently crippled, has lost his former vocation and by the time they arrive back in the Mirador, has no purpose at all aside from foll ...more
Nov 13, 2014 Benjamin rated it it was amazing
Picking up where we left Felix Harrowgate and Mildmay in the previous novel Melusine, we find the two brothers recuperating in the care of their mother’s people in the Garden of Nephele. But whereas Felix is regarded as an honoured guest, Mildmay is treated more like a prisoner, mistakenly considered the vicious monster responsible for Felix’s extensive and long term injuries.
Once more or less recovered, they eventually decide to make their return to Melusine, facing more dangers, picking up mor
Mar 24, 2016 Jane rated it it was amazing
The Virtu picks up the story of Felix and Mildmay exactly where Mélusine ends. I hated Felix at the end of Mélusine, and hated him even more by the time we got to the end of The Virtu. And that is the talent of Sarah Monette. Felix is a sustained portrait of the victim turned persecutor, the complete egocentric who thinks that saying sorry excuses the most awful, hurtful actions, whose pride will not let him be wrong, and who takes without giving as though it is his due. Anyone who has read Mélu ...more
Oct 16, 2015 Kaion rated it really liked it
Shelves: series, reviewed
A number of reviewers have aptly noted that how you feel about The Virtu is dependent on how you feel about sane!Felix. Quite honestly, I found sane Felix a little insufferable. He spends much of book being douchey, reckless, and self-important, which I suppose makes him fit in the Curia perfectly. It doesn't help that I have no interest in politics of the Mirador, and whether or not they'll be able to retain their rule over the city. To Monette's credit she lets other characters call Felix on h ...more
Sep 11, 2012 Rusty rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
Felix Harrowgate is a wizard whose former master, Malker who is a blood wizard, used his magic to break the Virtu, keystone for protection and the magics of Melusine. A consequence of that action, Felix goes mad. Now he and his half brother, Mildmay, hope to restore the Virtu. Even before they begin their travel their lives are fraught with peril and danger.

The upcoming journey becomes complicated when the two search and rescue a boy in a wealthy family. The governess, Mehitabel Parr, who helps
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My pseudonym is Katherine Addison. Katherine reviews nonfiction. Sarah reviews fiction. Fair warning: I read very little fiction these days.

I was born and raised in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, one of the secret cities of the Manhattan Project. I studied English and Classics in college, and have gone on to get my M.A. and Ph.D. in English Literature. My first four novels were published by Ace Books. I h
More about Sarah Monette...

Other Books in the Series

Doctrine of Labyrinths (4 books)
  • Mélusine (Doctrine of Labyrinths, #1)
  • The Mirador (Doctrine of Labyrinths, #3)
  • Corambis (Doctrine of Labyrinths, #4)

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“I gave up on cussing - I'd run out of words filthy enough - and just started praying.” 16 likes
“I catch a flash of red-gold beneath the surface of the water, and realize that there are koi in the pond, massive, serene, and I wonder: are they dreams of fish, or fish who dream?” 11 likes
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