There’s a small selection of options for me to choose from when it comes to the letter V. I’ll be honest, it was a bit difficult to decide from among them. In the end, though, I simply had to go with The Virtu by Sarah Monette.
This is the second book in her Doctrine of Labyrinths series, and my favorite of the four (and not just because Mildmay is featured on the cover…I don’t know what you’re talking about). I was actually shocked to find out it existed after reading the first book, Melusine, which I purchased randomly at a Books-a-Million because the title was the same as my sister’s roleplaying handle at the time (as if there could be a more ridiculous reason to buy something). When I looked the book up to do a review, I found The Virtu had just been released in hardcover…and, oh, you know I order it at that very moment.
This series is one of those love it or hate it cases. The fans are incredibly loyal, but the people who couldn’t get past the first book (which is admittedly slow up to a point) or past the proclivities of one of the main characters (he’s not what you would call subtle about his life choices) probably don’t remember it fondly.
Personally, I loved the heck out of these books (I mean, geez, I bought them in hardcover, mass market, and digital). I really like the second book because the two main characters are finally able to fully interact (as one of them was mentally deranged due to magic for most of the first book), and it also includes a role reversal as the character who was damaged in the first book is whole in the second, and vice versa with the second character.
Honestly, there’s a lot in this book that’s really painful where the relationships are concerned. That can be said of most of the series. But it’s oh so good.