by Sarah Monette
Category: Fiction / Fantasy
432 pages; ISBN: 0441012868
Rating: 9/10 (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner
Ace, Aug 2005, $24.95, 432 pp.
Robert of Hermione exposes esteemed wizard Felix Harrowgate of once being a prostitute. Felix does not respond, but walks away from his so-called surprised friends as his past as a slave has returned ending his career at least inside the walls of Mirador.
In the city proper of Melusine, Geniva Thomson hires cat burglar Mildmay the Fox to steal a clock, a figurine and jewelry from her alleged former lover Lord Otavius. Mildmay easily succeeds, but feels compelled to do more although he knows a wizard, perhaps his client, has enchanted him. This wizard seeks Felix and will use any pawn to achieve the objective. Felix and Mildmay meet on the run and team up as both their lives seem forfeit, but neither was prepared for what they learn about their interwoven past, the threat of foreign strange magic overwhelming Melusine nor how to even survive their trek through bizarre magical realms to confront their common foe.
This fine fantasy rotates first person perspectives between Felix and Mildmay until their paths collide. Thus the audience gets a close look at the motives that drive both protagonists, which brings realism to the Monette fantasy realm where magic flows everywhere. Felix is simply escaping a shameful past not of his making but still humiliating while Mildmay may be caught by a wizard’s spell but also his childhood training as a thief-slave that molded him comes across too. Fans of character driven fantasies starring two distinct likable but flawed heroes on personal quests of salvation will want to read Sarah Monette’s thrilling tale.
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