The Library Fantastic

Ysabel 4
by Guy Gavriel Kay
Ysabel

A new book from Guy Gavriel Kay is always a treat, and a rare one at that, as there’s always quite a few years between them. Given this, one tends to build up fairly high expectations, which isn’t always fair to the book (or the author) as these expectations often end up being heavily based in one’s own preferences as a reader. First impressions of a book are particularly vulnerable to comparisons between what is and what was expected. No wonder, perhaps, that this review has already been tweaked twice. First I reworked it slightly based on some feedback that led me to conclude that I had not…

Melusine 4
Part 1 of The Doctrine of Labyrinths
by Sarah Monette
Melusine

To begin with, I would advise anyone considering Mélusine to also pick up the sequel, The Virtu, and read the two back-to-back. My understanding is that they were originally intended as one book, and while I enjoyed both of them when reading them a few months apart, I think they would read even better treated as a single book as together they form a distinct story arc where what is now the second volume brings the conclusion of many plot threads opened in the first.

However, in the end that is not how they were published, and with that in mind, this review attempts to focus on Mélusine. In…

The Virtu 4
Part 2 of The Doctrine of Labyrinths
by Sarah Monette
The Virtu

As I noted in the review for Mélusine, The Virtu and it were apparently originally intended as one book rather than two separate volumes. And, as I also noted, this does show. The Virtu picks up pretty might right where Mélusine ended, with Felix’s sanity and his powers restored. Half the journey has been completed, and what remains now for him and Mildmay is to return home to Mélusine so that Felix may attempt to mend the Virtu, broken with his powers but not by him in the first book.

The main problem with The Virtu is that it feels a little too short. I thoroughly enjoyed it, but I would…

Kushiel’s Scion 4
Part 4 of Kushiel's Legacy
by Jacqueline Carey
Kushiel’s Scion

Sometimes, it is difficult to say what is harder to deal with: who you are, or who you aren’t. Imriel nó Montrève de la Courcel, son of Terre d’Ange’s most infamous traitor, the deadly beauty Melisande Shahrizai, and foster-son of its most famous heroine, Phèdre nó Delaunay de Montrève, finds himself in such a situation. He despises his real mother and idolizes his foster-mother and her consort, Joscelin. But he cannot escape Melisande’s legacy, which makes him suspicious in the eyes of some and a worthy heir to the throne in the eyes of others, any more than he can hope to be a great hero,…

Kushiel’s Avatar 4
Part 3 of Kushiel's Legacy
by Jacqueline Carey
Kushiel’s Avatar

Since stopping Melisande’s plot to overthrow Queen Ysandre, Phèdre has had ten years of peace together with Joscelin. However, all that time the shadow of Hyacinthe has still hung above her, and she has never stopped trying to find a way to release him from the task he took upon himself. Other concerns have nagged at her mind too, such as the whereabouts of Melisande’s hidden son, third in line for the throne of Terre d’Ange. These two matters then become inseparably linked as Melisande sends for Phèdre, and reveals to her that Imriel, her son, has gone truly missing. Now she wants Phèdre to…