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The Mirador by Sarah Monette
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The Mirador (edition 2007)

by Sarah Monette

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4781921,584 (4.08)47
Member:sidhevicious
Title:The Mirador
Authors:Sarah Monette
Info:Ace Hardcover (2007), Hardcover, 432 pages
Collections:Your library, To read
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The Mirador by Sarah Monette

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Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
Oh, the beautiful brokenness just keeps on coming. The tone and feel remain consistent while continuing on from the completed story - no mean feat. If you liked the first two, read this one. ( )
  GinnyTea | Mar 31, 2013 |
With The Mirador, Monette has finally hit her stride. The third narrator allows more narrative tension, and is a charming perspective besides. All of the seemingly extraneous worldbuilding detail in Melusine becomes sharply necessary, and while it's never super-clear what the plot of the book is, the tensions between the various characters and factions are so interesting that it doesn't matter. (And I usually have zero patience for plotless books.)

There is still, to some extent, the impression that Monette really wanted to be writing at least three other books in addition to this one - not all the threads totally resolve and there's just a ton of detail that she clearly couldn't just leave alone. But this is definitely the best yet. ( )
  JeremyPreacher | Mar 30, 2013 |
Melusine and the books following are The Doctrine of Labyrinth series, which refers to the labyrinths that play an important part of the magic in her universe as well as important roles in each of the four books in the series. For me, they really are one long book broken into four volumes.

In Melusine, the characters of Felix Harrowgate, a Cabaline wizard, and Mildmay the Fox, a cat burglar, were introduced. Felix was used by his evil mentor, Malkar, a blood wizard, to destroy the Virtu, the globe that channeled the magic powers and spells of the Mirador’s wizards, an act which drove Felix insame. It isn’t giving much away to say that Felix turns out to be the half-brother of Mildmay, a development that even I, an inexperienced fantasy reader, figured out early on.

The Mirador jumps two years past the end of The Virtu, and focuses on political intrigue and on actress Mehitabel Farr who is forced into being an unwilling spy on the Mirador’s doings for one of Melusine’s enemies. Meanwhile, Mildmay uncovers a plot against the Mirador that stretches into his own past.

Upon finishing this, I jumped immediately to the fourth and final book of the series. To do justice to these books without giving much away or without going into details that might spoil the joy of reading these books is darn near impossible. The characters are what makes this series.

Felix and Mildmay, both sold to thief keepers by their prostitute mother, grew up in Melusine’s Lower City, but the paths their lives took were very different. After being a thief, Felix ends up working in a brothel, where he’s found by Malkar and taught how to pass for an aristocrat, which led him to become a wizard of the Mirador.

Mildmay also began as a kept-thief at an early age, but by the time he was 14, had been trained as an assassin, finally breaking away from his keeper and earning a living as a cat burglar and cardsharp. Where Felix is arrogant and vain, the taciturn Mildmay is humble to a fault, living on the edge and old beyond his years. Where Felix is educated, Mildmay is barely able to read. Where Felix has magic, Mildmay has his fists and his tenacity. Their strengths and weaknesses are both complementary and cause for conflict, with each causing the other pain, both intended and not. Entwined in their adventures is the slow progress of their relationship over time as they learn to trust each other and their own feelings. Throw in various forms of magic and magic theory, and the books have a strong foundation.

Told in alternating first person povs, the narratives have distinct voices that will get into your head and stay with you a long time. Because I have a lot of books still waiting to be read, I’ll resist the urge to reread these now. But I doubt I’ll be able to hold out for long. ( )
  ShellyS | Mar 10, 2011 |
The Mirador brings in a third viewpoint character, the actress Mehitabel Parr, who joined Felix and Mildmay in The Virtu. We learn early on that Mehitabel is an unwilling spy for the Kekropian Empire, and court intrigue unfolds while Felix studies ghosts in the depths of the Mirador. The character development gets pretty grueling in this one; Monette is definitely the sort to put her characters in the crucible. The worldbuilding continues to be excellent, right down to Mehitabel’s narrative style referencing stage plays that are famous in her world. ( )
  slothman | Nov 28, 2010 |
Wow.

No, seriously. Wow.

I've got to admit, the first time I read this I considered it the least of the series. It was still awesome, but it wasn't quite on the same level as the others. I gave it 4 stars, opposed to the 4.5 I handed the other two.

I had to ramp it straight up to 5 after my second reading. It was bloody brilliant. I loved it to bits.

This is a rich, complex, detailed book. I wish everything I read were this good. The characterization, the worldbuilding, the tangents that turn out to be anything but.... I love it all.

But I can still see why I didn't initially enjoy this quite so much as the others. The characters are still front and centre, but the book feels much more plot-based than the previous two. There's a ton of political stuff going down, and the characters are basically just along for the ride. They still have a stake in things, but it's not quite as personal as it was in the first two books.

Mehitabel also threw me off a bit. I liked her, I really did, but I had far more invested in Mildmay and Felix. I didn't know how I felt about her as a narrator.

None of that mattered this time around. No, that's not quite true; it mattered, but it wasn't a negative. I loved all the plot stuff. I found it fascinating. THE MIRADOR is rife with historical mysteries, twisty dealings and dark secrets. The subplots have subplots. I found myself grinning with delight on more than one occasion. Even when things take a turn for the worse--and you just know they're gonna--Monette pulls it off so well that you can't help but revel in the way everything comes together. It's gorgeous as all hell, and it serves as the perfect vehicle for these characters. They may not have an obvious personal stake in what's going down, but they're still involved. They're still forced to change and grow as the story barrels along. They've all got a hell of a lot of baggage, and the plot stuff helps them come to terms with it. Some of them come further than others, of course--if you've read the first two books, three guesses who backslides big time--but there's progress all around.

I also discovered that I did like Mehitabel as a narrator. I liked her very, very much. She does a great deal to further the all-important plot, and I loved her voice. And you'd better believe that her theatrical career delighted the hell out of me. I am unabashedly biased towards anything that so much as mentions the theatre. You give me a book with scads of theatrical talk and I'm there. I really have no idea why the theatrical stuff didn't do it for me last time.

I just plain loved it, from the first word to the last. I enjoyed it so much that I almost didn't want to continue on to CORAMBIS (though I quickly got over that). I could have drowned in this book, and I'd've died happy. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

(A slightly different version of this review originally appeared on my blog, Stella Matutina). ( )
1 vote xicanti | Nov 27, 2009 |
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Sarah Monetteprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
York, JudyCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Sarah Wishnevsky
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So to begin with, General Mercator was dead.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 044101500X, Hardcover)

The dashing wizard Felix Harrowgate has reclaimed his sanity, magic, and position in society. But even as he returns to his former place in the Mirador-the citadel of power and wizardry-there are many who desire his end. Mildmay the Fox is an ex-assassin, a cat-burglar, and Felix's half-brother. Tied to Felix by blood and magic, Mildmay goes where Felix goes-even into the Mirador. There, Mildmay finds himself drawn to an alluring spy of the Bastion, a rival school of wizards.

The Bastion desires above all else to bring down the Mirador, and Felix is the key to its destruction. But Mildmay cannot let Felix stand alone, and will fight to save both his brother and his city from certain ruin.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:59:40 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

"After losing everything at the hands of his sadistic former master, the dashing wizard Felix Harrowgate has finally managed to reclaim his sanity, his magic, and his position in society. But even as he returns to his former place in the Mirador - Melusine's citadel of power and Cabaline wizardry - there are many eager to see him fall once more." "Mildmay the Fox is an ex-assassin, a cat-burglar, and Felix's half-brother. Tied to Felix by blood and magic, Mildmay goes where Felix goes - even into the Mirador, where only his link to Felix can protect him from his notorious past. There, Mildmay finds himself drawn to the alluring Mehitabel Parr, an actress who is hiding a dangerous secret. As an unwilling spy for the Bastion, a school of rival wizards who despise the Mirador and all it stands for, she has been forced to gather information from her friends and acquaintances." "The Bastion desires above all else to bring down the Mirador, and they have learned that Felix is the key to its destruction. But Mildmay cannot let Felix stand alone, and will fight to save both his brother and his city from certain ruin."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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