Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Sarah Monette has had quite a prolific year, with releases of her third book in her The Doctrine of Labyrinths series, The Mirador, a collaborative effort with Elizabeth Bear (A Companion to Wolves) and a short-story collection of ghost stories/mysteries (The Bone Key) all being released since August. While I enjoyed all three, I felt that The Mirador was the strongest of the three and most deserving of some consideration on my Best of 2007 Countdown list.
While I reviewed The Mirador back in August, I just want to reiterate here (mind you, these Countdown posts are just recapitulations in shorter form of earlier reviews in most cases) that Monette has taken some interesting risks here in this third installment. Whereas before in Mélusine and The Virtu the story was told via the sometimes-conflicting dual first-person narratives of the disgraced wizard Felix Harrowgate and his thief/assassin half-brother, Mildmay the Fox, Monette has added a third voice, that of a certain lady-friend/actress who first appeared in The Virtu, Mehitabel, to the mix. For the most part, her wry comments on both brothers serves as a prism by which their characters can be broken up and their component parts seen with more clarity.
As I said in my original review, the "action" takes place mostly through character conflicts, both external (Felix and Mildmay, Mildmay and Mehitabel, Felix and Gideon, etc.) and internal (Mildmay dealing with issues of guilt being the prime one). Some might find this boring, but I found it to be a welcome deepening of the plot dynamics and a promising hint of things to come in the final volume in the series, Corambis, which ought to be released sometime in 2009. Since I'm one who favors dynamic characters over big-bang battles, explosions, duels, etc., it ought to be little surprise to those who know my tastes that The Mirador made the Countdown.