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

4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  1,885 ratings  ·  104 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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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,817)
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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
...more
Punk
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
Wealhtheow
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
...more
LenaLena
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.
Robert Beveridge
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
...more
Schnaucl
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Meg
Virtu
Or
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
...more
Jamie
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
...more
_inbetween_
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
...more
Diane
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
geekturnedvamp
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
Hilary
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.
...more
Desinka
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.
Benjamin
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
...more
Ayanna
Meh, LAME.

*sigh. Just can't compare with mad-Felix, you know?
The rest of it...it 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.

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

Might I also mention I dislike GR's perchance to switch editions on you? Argh.
Zserilyn Finney
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
...more
Jennifer Harper
I haven't read a magic-based fantasy novel that gripped me quite the way this one has in a long time. Sarah Monette has a fabulous, unique voice. I still love the character of Mildmay the most. Both of her main characters, the brothers Felix and Mildmay, are flawed, realistic people, sometimes goods, sometimes bad, and not always on their best behaviour. Their inescapable link to one another through blood and spell makes for good reading and leaves the reader wondering--is the evil villain reall ...more
Dabs
Okay, this one was better than the first one, Melusine, and both Felix and Mildmay are fleshed out a bit more. However, they're both still poor, traaaaaagic, tortured woobies, and most of the plot revolves around seeing how much they can be damaged (by circumstances, the people around them, and in Mildmay's case, by Felix). It's not interesting, exciting, or even particularly original. Now, if they were to react in ways that weren't typical for this sort of character-whumping, I'd actually care ...more
Kate
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rusty
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
...more
Jaya
SlashReaders: I enjoyed these first two books despite the fact that I really cannot decide if I like or completely hate Felix. I start to think I just might like him and then he pisses me off again and yet I can't wait to find out what happens to him. I think that says something about the author in that she can make me at least care about her characters even if I'm not sure I like all of them.

This book took some interesting turns, I'm not going to give things away for people who haven't read the
...more
Irene Soldatos
I finished this last night, and since then I've been in fierce debate with myself whether I would give it 4 or 5 stars. It was a dilemma that wasn't solvable, since in fact what I want to give it is 4.5 stars. It's a bloody fantastic book. Erudite and beauuuuutifully written. The reason I want to knock off half a point is only relative to the first in the series, Melusine, and again, only because in Melusine Sarah Monette accomplished something incredibly difficult with consummate skill: the 1st ...more
Juushika
A year ago, Felix's magic was used to destroy Mélusine's magical focus the Virtu, and left him mad. Now Felix has been cured, but has no memory of the past year; Mildmay has been left crippled, and the Virtu still stands in ruins--except that Felix intends to repair it. The Virtu is a direct sequel to Mélusine, benefiting from that book's preexisting worldbuilding--still a densely original setting, now less heavyhanded and overwhelming--and building a better-balanced and utterly successful story ...more
Natlyn
The Virtu concludes Mélusine. I'm not sure how I feel overall about these two books. While I enjoyed the relationship between Mildmay and Felix, and I think it was the point of the books, the plot was not well integrated into the relationship story. In fact the plot largely stops dead about two-thirds through Mélusine and doesn't pick up again until about one-third into The Virtu.

Monette has an excellent command of character voice. It was easy to tell from a sentence or two whether Felix or Mild
...more
Margaret
Felix and Mildmay return to Mélusine and the Mirador, so that Felix can try to fix the Virtu, the magical crystal he was forced to break in Mélusine. Along the way, they pick up a new companion (and a marvelous one, whom I hope to see more of) and rejoin some old ones.

I particularly loved the development of the relationship between Felix and Mildmay, and was impressed that although Felix is not very likable in many ways, it's impossible (for me, at least), not to sympathize with him. (Though I
...more
Jeremy Preacher
I totally failed to love Melusine, but The Virtu was leaps and bounds better. The characters aren't so unrelentingly unlikeable, the situations aren't quite so unbearably awful, and the book ends on a definite up note.

That being said, this is a book with some very strange pacing issues. The travel is richly detailed and occupies the first half of the book - other than the daring prison rescue, which takes up about ten pages. The second half is all careful relationship-building - very well done,
...more
Eviltwinjen
Aug 23, 2007 Eviltwinjen rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fantasy fans, slash fans, tortured protagonist fans
Shelves: fantasy
Sequel to Melusine. Monette sends her protagonists back to their home city to try and repair the havoc created in book 1. While outwardly things go about as well as can be expected, relationships grow steadily more complicated. What is Felix to do with the feelings he's developing for the man he recently discovered to be his half-brother? If you're freaked out by the mere hint of incest, this may not be the book for you, but I can get past it because a) Mildmay is totally freaked out by the ide ...more
Kim
Jul 28, 2008 Kim rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of Ellen Kushner or Jacqueline Carey,
This was the book that convinced me I actually liked this series. Like I said in my review of Melusine, the two books really feel like they should have been one, and this installment does tie up many of the loose threads from the previous volume. It also adds a few of its own, including one character whose reason for being I really couldn't tell. Felix is newly restored to sanity, and he and Mildmay journey from the Gardens of Nephele (love that name!) back to Melusine, hopefully to repair the V ...more
K.
After marathon-ing my way through the first book in a couple of days, I happily picked up The Virtu looking forward to the resolution of some of the plot elements of the first book.

Happily I was not disappointed. Our original narrators are back from the first story - Felix and Mildmay. They are joined later in the plot by one of the narrators from the third story. This one was intense.

One of my few criticisms of these books is the prevalent and intense amount of dream-symbolism used. Because o
...more
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128570
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 novels are published by Ace Books; I also have a collaboration with Elizabeth Bear, A Companion to Wolves, from Tor. My short stories have appeared in lots of different places, including Lady ...more
More about Sarah Monette...
Melusine (Doctrine of Labyrinths, #1) A Companion to Wolves (Iskryne World, #1) The Mirador (Doctrine of Labyrinths, #3) Corambis (Doctrine of Labyrinths, #4) The Bone Key: The Necromantic Mysteries of Kyle Murchison Booth

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“I gave up on cussing - I'd run out of words filthy enough - and just started praying.” 12 likes
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