BOOK & BLOG
January 7, 2006
Book of the Month: Melusine by Sarah Monette
In several months, I havent read a book that excited and entertained me as much as Sarah Monettes MELUSINE. Its an extraordinary debut novel. The Melusine of the title is a city, and two of its inhabitants, Felix Harrowgate and Mildmay the Fox, are on paths destined for collision, though as the book opens nothing seems farther from happening. Felix is a star, a very powerful and handsome wizard who lives at court and is the beloved of a minor royal. Mildmay is disfigured by a scar, uneducated, and has been trained as a cat burglar and assassin. But the two men have more in common than appears at first glance.
Though Felix is not a totally sympathetic character, what happens to him is shocking. A lover from Felixs past makes sure Felixs terrible origins become common knowledge, and Felix is driven to return to this lover, who then uses Felix as the focus for a spell that threatens to bring down the whole city. This begins a witchhunt that threatens everything Mildmay holds dear, and in fact his whole way of life. But magic brings Mildmay to an employer who sees in Mildmay a tool that may become useful.
The alternate world Monette has constructed in MELUSINE is complex, rich, and completely engaging. Her characters are just the same. I enjoyed every minute of this book, and I was really sorry when it was over. I can hardly wait to read the next one. Thats the mark of a really good book.
Setting up the calendar for the next year has gotten to be quite a chore since the Sookie books have done so well. It was a lot easier when no one cared where I went or what I did but me, and in a vague way, my publisher. I went to maybe three or four conventions a year, and those were all mystery conventions, such as Malice Domestic or Bouchercon (both national conventions) and one of the more regional conventions like Left Coast Crime, Mayhem in the Midlands, or Magna Cum Murder. In an hours work, I could get set up for the year, if I so desired. Id let my publisher know where I was going, and my editor would respond to pat me on the back for making an appearance. Or not.
Id never been to a science fiction convention, or a romance convention.
I think its fair to say that my professional life has changed quite a bit in the past three years. Like all drastic changes, its a bit for the better and bit for the worse. Getting invited to conventions is new and delightful, but I am obliged to pick and choose. Im gone from home a lot more, just when I need more writing time than I ever have. Flying has gone from a neutral experience to a bad one, and Im flying all the time. Most airports look the same, and its easy to forget which one youre traversing.
Now, my calendar is set for the next year by October of this year, or even earlier. I know that Ill be touring, and I know approximately when thatll be. My home calendar gets marked up way in advance. This year, Ill be going to two mystery conventions (Malice Domestic and Bouchercon), three science fiction conventions (VisionCon, WorldCon, and World Fantasy) and one romance convention (Romantic Times), as well as a two-week tour in May.
Ill miss a few things my kids do, and Ill miss the companionship of my husband. Ill get tired of catching 4:30 a.m. flights, and constantly being on.
On the plus side, Ill meet some wonderful people, see some interesting places, and get lots of professional feedback. That can make it all worthwhile.
So if I see you along the way, come up and speak, okay?
® 2010 Charlaine Harris