Good read, I enjoyed it. Mostly.
I liked the world she constructs. It's interesting, has lots of gritty low-lives, and fits together well. Mostly English with a smattering of novel-specific jargon. You'll figure it out.
No romance here. Main characters are one straight guy and one gay guy. The gay guy gets brutalized. I don't know if that's common in this type of fantasy with gay characters, but it can be tough to read. Gave me scary dreams too.
Loved the characters and looking forward to more in the same world.
This book was a little difficult to "get into", since the author immediately starts throwing unfamiliar terms at you without enough context to figure out what they mean!
With a little patience you can get through the beginning and things will start making sense. Then you find yourself drawn inescapably into a lush, dark fantasy world.
While the main characters do sometimes have love interests, I was delighted to find a fantasy author able to captivate my heart without cheesy romance.
I'd highly recommend this book!
After reading the entire book in one sitting, I found myself so captivated by the characters and the world they lived in that I bought the hardback just so I didn't have to wait for the sequel to come out in paperback. And I've never before done that. (I like all books of a series to match in style and height, which was why I needed this in hardback to match The Virtu in hardback.)
The first half of the book is flawless, but the second half is really a different story altogether, and it's really not quite as good. Still, I'll definitely be following Monette! (Melusine was her first book; she's already published two sequels, which I'm on the lookout for.)
Set in the dark-fantasy city of Melusine, which of course is full of decadence, crime, romance, wealth & glamour and dire poverty - not to mention magic and danger - the main character is Mildmay, a young, scarred, dangerous but decent-at-heart thief. Hired by an out-of-his-league courtesan to steal some jewels that she believes are rightfully hers, Mildmay of course develops a fascination with the beautiful but not-so-streetwise woman.
The first half of the book is a just gorgeous, original tense story that spirals deftly into tragedy... just wonderful.
The second part of the book deals more with Mildmay's encounters with a wizard, Felix, who is the victim of a plot to make him the scapegoat for intrigue at high levels, and is subject to a spell that makes him appear insane. His physical resemblance to Mildmay is remarkable, and leads the two to a connection that their different social classes render unlikely... it's also a good (well-better-than-average) story, but doesn't have the emotional impact of the first part of the book, and when the action leaves Monette's beautifully-realized city, the aesthetics falter a bit, entering a more typical-fantasy realm.
The only really unfortunate thing about this book is the cover (featuring a cheesy, hunky topless tattooed guy) - it's so embarrassingly bad that I took off the dust jacket to read it - and good luck suggesting the novel to a guy!
This book starts out a little bit slow, but do yourself a favor, and KEEP READING!! Like one of the other reviewers, I often give up on books that don't grab me right off the bat. But luckily this time, I stuck it out, and it was worth it!
Melusine doesn't have lots of action, and it's not a 'battle the scary monsters' type of book. This book is made by the characters. Felix and Mildmay are both so flawed, and yet, so intriguing. Partway through the book, they finally meet up, and once that happens, the story really starts to roll.
The second book, The Virtu, is even better!
I have read these a few times now and can't wait to see what happens next.
My favorite thing about the book is MILDMAY! I totally fell in love with him. He talks like a real person and I love how he's always referring to these random things as if you should know what he's talking about. It makes it seem like he's a real character from another world. But you do eventually figure out what he's talking about. There are so many details in this story that are very important and make it more complex and colorful. But definitely it's the strong characters that make the story as wonderful as it is.
If a book doesn't grab my attention by the first couple of pages I don't waste my time trying to read it ~ well it happened with this one. Hopefully others will find this enjoyable.
I'm having a hard time rating this book because I enjoyed the world Monette created and her quirky use of language, but I was unprepared for the graphic scenes of physical and sexual abuse. (Charlaine Harris, the author of the Sookie Stackhouse books, recommended this on the Barnes and Noble website and Bon Temps it's not!). I'm interested enough to seek out book two, but hesitant because the blurb mentions the return of the worst abuser. Once the story reached the quest point I didn't want to put it down, but there was a fair amount of "yuck" to get through in the beginning before I reached that point. Can I be intrigued and ambivalent at the same time?
Took forever for it to get somewhere where it 100% made sense but it was worth it. The development was really great and I loved everything that happened. The points of view were great because you get both sides so you know what both are thinking and you can be torn apart even more by misunderstandings! Hahaha! It's so great. At first, I was gonna give this a four but the ending was just SO LOVELY that it deserved the extra star. I can't wait to continue the series!
I was all ready to give this book 4.5 or 5 stars until the end, when the author wraps things up a little too sentimentally and without answering any of the questions that initiated the plot line. Like another reviewer mentioned, it seems to start out as one book and finish as another. Overall I did like it, though, excepting the ending. I was engaged throughout, and I will probably read the sequel in the future.