I ordered this book in a bulk buy here at Amazon, desperate to find something decent to read. I enjoyed it so much that I immediately ordered its sequel and forgot about everything else, including a certain young wizard called Harry.
Told from the perspective of two very different characters, the narrative reflecting (often humorously) their opposing circumstances, it is not a typical fantasy fiction. First of all, neither character is thrust at the reader as immediately likeable or vice versa; they're both flawed enough to remain interesting and entertaining. The world isn't introduced in bombardments of politics and history - you're flung in at the deep end, which though confusing initially is quick to make an impression and means that Monette doesn't have to toil through page after page of tedious explanation later on. We're nicely spoon-fed bits and pieces as we need it so that the plot development doesn't suffer.
It's the relationship between the two main characters, Felix and Mildmay that keeps the book so fresh though. Far from conventional but a pleasure nonetheless.