Kim's Reviews > Melusine

Melusine by Sarah Monette
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Jul 28, 08

bookshelves: fantasy
Recommended for: fans of Ellen Kushner or Jacqueline Carey,
Read in January, 2005

This book is one part terrific novel, and one part huh? I definitely recommend you have the sequel, The Virtu on hand when you read it, because this is one of those books that feels like it was arbitrarily split in half. Although, honestly, there are ends left hanging even when you read both books, and now that I'm reading the third one, I'm still not certain they will be tied off. I found the world of Melusine to be gorgeously conceived and complex to the point of utter confusion---the calendrical system, which is helpfully outlined on Monette's website, was partly to blame, but I think I was really more confused about how the magic worked. Plus, and this may say more about my personality than Monette's writing, I kept trying to insert the geography of her fictional world into our (more or less) factual one, since she used names that sounded variously French, Latin, and Greek.
There are two main characters inMelusine: Felix Harrowgate, a notorious beauty, aristocrat, and wizard, with a shady past, and Mildmay the Fox, a burglar and assassin. I loved Mildmay, who speaks in a unique vernacular all his own, and felt sorry for Felix, who was cruelly abused at the beginning and spends a great deal of the novel insane. Notice that I did not say I liked Felix, who is terribly damaged, whiny, and passive aggressive, but I appreciate the consistency of this portrayal (well, except when he's mad, but that's to be expected). Overall, I found this to be an imaginative and original work, strong on character development and world-building, weaker on the plot ( which improves in the next book, I think).
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