Felix Harrowgate enjoys life at the top of the food chain.
Handsome and charismatic, he's the favored lover of the
Lord Protector's brother and a powerful court wizard. And
yet, Felix hides his past from his friends, his colleagues
and his lover. Secrets so shameful that it embarrasses him
to remember them, much less speak them out loud. When
Felix's sordid past is publicly and cruelly revealed, he
leaves court humiliated. Disgraced and desperate, Felix
turns to opiates to ease his pain and thus falls under the
spell of a powerful wizard. This wizard, through the use of
dark magic, harnesses Felix's power to do great harm to the
city of Melusine. Driven mad by the violation of his body
and mind and branded a traitor by the Lord Protector and
his court, Felix is now truly alone.
Raised on the streets and never far from the gutter,
Mildmay the Fox knows how to take care of himself. A cat
burglar and sometime killer for hire, Mildmay keeps his
head low and avoids trouble when he can. All that changes
when he meets a woman. Against his better judgment, Mildmay
settled a score for her and has been on the run ever since.
Mildmay breaks into a hotel room set on committing petty
larceny and ends up ensnared by a calling spell sent out by
a wizard intent on capturing Felix Harrowgate. The wizard
hires Mildmay to find Felix for him and unknowingly sends
him to the one person who not only shares a common past,
but may also hold the key to both of their futures. If only
they can stay alive long enough to claim a future.
Through fate and happenstance, Felix and Mildmay end up
traveling together. Their companions dead or captured, the
two make their way across a continent and finally cross an
ocean to confront their hopes, dreams and deepest fears.
Mildmay is exasperated with Felix, even though he knows
Felix's madness is not his fault. He follows Felix on his
dream quest not only because they share a blood bond, but
he comes to trust and love the crazy hocus (wizard). Felix
tries to make sense of the world, but is so severely
damaged that he sees everything from a skewed point of
view. Although sometimes more alert than at other times, he
always backslides into madness.
MÃ‰LUSINE is told in first-person from the perspectives of
Felix and Mildmay, whose voices alternate throughout the
narrative of the book. The characters themselves are very
well-done. By the end of the book, you've spent a lot of
time inside their heads, and it's interesting to see the
story told by first one perspective and then the other.
However, the story does meander. There are a number of
large plot holes and there's no strong story arc. Threads
start and then end abruptly, which left me not only
frustrated but a little bewildered. The secondary
characters are interesting, however they disappear from the
book one after the other and are never mentioned again.
This is Monette's first novel, however she's written
several excellent short stories, which include the award
winning "Three Letters from the Queen of Elfland" available
in a magazine called Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet. I
wanted to like MÃ‰LUSINE more. I really did. But the whole
book ended up being rather unsatisfying for me.