Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Melusine - Sarah Monette

My feels about this book are vigorous. And roller-coasty. The prologue seemed kind of mouthy and droll and I am like, THIS IS GOING TO BE FUN, but the next bit got dark and I wasn't in it enough to care and I almost opted out but by the END,

I wouldn't use this gif all the time if it wasn't always SO APPROPRIATE.

So. It begins very SUDDENLY, which took a bit away from it because you don't even know where you ARE and then Things are happening and you are like, I think this is bad? And looking back later you are like, Oh yes, that was terrible. But at the time you are kind of like, Why is this dude calling Felix a whore, and Felix is just kind of like, That's right, everyone, I used to bone for dollars, and then everyone is like *shun* and suddenly some other dude is violently and unpleasantly sexxing him and I am like, Ok this part is clearly bad but I don't totally know how we got here.

So some guy calls Felix a whore and he is shunned from court and then violently sexxxxd by a past lover as part of a spell in which his magic is co-opted to break this Important Magical Object and I am like, Holy hell, book, why you so mean?

Meanwhile, way over here, Mildmay the Fox steals a bunch of jewels and meets a lovely girl and is cunning and theify and you know what? As far as I'm concerned, the entire first half of the book is backstory and could be dispensed with if it didn't seem to be such a necessary foundation for the second half.

BECAUSE THEN. Felix has been driven mad by the whole magic-rape thing and then he and Mildmay end up in the same company due to Reasons too complicated to get to, and THEN the two of them hie off to see if they can't get Felix un-madded. And the book is split between their POVs and being inside the head of someone who is mad is no picnic (unless it's a picnic attended by people with snake's heads and walking corpses and swirling colors and like such as), so the Felix parts are weird and dark but necessary because they throw the Mildmay parts into relief and then you have layers.

And Mildmay is this street rat who sounds like a mix between a 21st-century teen and a Victorian urchin and I know that sounds TERRIBLE but it's actually endearing and sharp and irreverent and his interactions with Felix are so WEIRDLY COMPASSIONATE and this, this is why The Left Hand of Darkness got me in the end, because I apparently have a Thing for two unlikely companions being forced on a Quest together and surmounting insurmountable odds, PARTICULARLY WHEN THEY DO NOT KISS AT THE END. I mean, there's one moment where Felix is kind of like *leery glance* and I am like, Did Monette forget that they're half-brothers? But maybe madness makes you slightly incesty, I don't know.

I'm doing a bad job of this. I think that at this stage of my life I'm a bit bored by Romantical Problems (Unless They Are 19th Century Ones Or On The BBC OR BOTH THOSE THINGS) and more interested in Friendships In The Face Of Tribulations.

Or mad hugs.

Don't let the Very Unpleasant Beginning put you off, because the latter half is...whatever a less Cleavery version of 'heartwarming' is. I sighed very deeply, I'm telling you.

Eight and a half caterpillars!

(Upon further research, it appears that this is a series. Are the rest any good? Also, can we talk about how bad that cover is? It is very bad. Those tattoos don't look Shopped so much as MS Painted.)


Reading Rambo said...

That cover is hilarious.

Anonymous said...

I read up to book two, and have two more to finish. I literally inhaled Melusine and The Virtu was even better with a lot less whining from Felix. When people speak about the first book, they always cite Felix as the dealbreaker. But I tolerated him because I found this world exciting and dark and addictive. I haven't read the other two yet since the series completed at four books. My favorite character is Mildmay though. --Keishon

Sandy Nawrot said...

I would have stopped dead in my tracks at the sight of that cover. I cannot imagine I shall read this, but is always quite entertaining (as in you make my day) to read your reviews.

Tika Viteri said...

Oh wow, that cover. I think I have an old romance novel from the 80s with that same picture on it - minus the tattoos, obvs., because only punks, sailors, and motorcycle dudes had tattoos in the 80s.

Jenners said...

Is that Fabio on the cover? I can't stand when books start right in the middle of something you have no idea what's going on.

Kayleigh said...

That cover, h'omigoodness. So much, that cover. This book sounds awful and then fun. Quests! Madness! Andre the Giant pic! Can't go wrong. Will you read the other books in the series?

AnimeJune said...

I loved this book! Loved!

But it's definitely a book that's like, "worldbuilding exposition? What's that?" and just tosses you into a world that counts everything, including time, by sevens and just expects you to figure it out.

Which made me feel like I was wearing my big girl pants reading this novel. So glad you liked it!

Memory said...

OMG YES YOU MUST READ THE VIRTU. It has even more FEELS of the latter-half-of-MELUSINE variety, with bonus heart attack-inducing tension.

The covers make me so sad, though. They scream "bad romance novel." In fact, a couple of years back I saw an historical romance that used exactly the same layout and font and everything, only with a picture of a pilgrim (or something) girl on the cover.

mepamelia said...

Loved all these books. I think (IIRC) that the 4th book was my least favorite, but still very interesting.
I put Monette in the same category as Mary Gentle in that they both write sometimes difficult, complex and angsty fantasies that just seem to work for me, but in a very weird way.
I personally loved that stuff in the first half wasn't all explained, but had to be absorbed as if by osmosis. Yay for a book that makes you ponder!

Rebekah Joy Plett said...

I can't believe you even picked this up with a cover like that. Looks like a damned Harlequin Romance fiasco.