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Review: The Virtu, Sarah Monette

I must have read Melusine, and liked it enough to want to order its sequel from the library, but although I have a copy on my bookshelf that has obviously been opened and read, I don't really remember it except vaguely.

The Virtu is much better, so much so that it makes me want to reread the first one to see what I might have missed last time out. It retains the one element I DO remember clearly from its predecessor, the alternating points of view between Mildmay the "Fox" and Felix the wizard or hocus. The voices are distinctive and clearly delineated, and, while I still like Mildmay better than Felix, both are well-drawn, complex characters. In fact, Felix is potentially the most interesting, and he becomes more sympathetic as the relationship between him and Mildmay becomes closer. This, too, is the source of one of the main pleasures of the novel: the very complicated and difficult relationship between the two very different yet mutually dependent men.

The plot is more tightly focussed this time round, and, while the world-building is thorough and detailed, we are not overwhelmed with a huge tapestry of characters and varied settings as we were in the first novel. I think one of the reasons I don't remember much is that so much happened, and so many characters were introduced. I was pleased that the major story arc is completed in this novel - there are no cliffhangers. However, I will be looking forward to revisiting these characters and this complex world in the next novel (must order it from library!)

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