Wizard Felix Harrowgate is back and much less crazy than he was during 90% of Sarah Monette’s Melusine. So is thief Mildmay the Fox, who’s a bit less mobile, crippled by a curse that caught up to him in the previous book. Their goal: To travel back across the world, return to Melusine (the city) and restore the magical crystal called the Virtu.
If the plot sounds a little thin…well, that might be because it is. It’s padded with events, ones not necessarily pointless exactly, but not entirely relevant, either. Some of it is really interesting, including a trip into a creepy underground maze and the introduction of a new character, Mehitabel Parr, who muscles her way in on the trip to Melusine.
I suppose that’s the whole thing. The Virtu offers much of the same; the same things I loved about Melusine and the same things that bothered me are present here. I believe it’s the strength of Monette’s characters, particularly Mildmay, that gets me so deeply involved with the book that end up enjoying it a lot. Even Felix, who I dislike, still produces emotion from me, rather than the complete apathy that I too often feel when reading. I’m curious enough about the characters, about what will happen to them next, that I’m even excited to read the next book, though The Virtu wraps up the plot that was begun in Melusine.
If you didn’t care for Melusine, then The Virtu isn’t going to float your boat either. But if you enjoyed the first book, the second will likely make you feel the same.