Clio Ardalides, the Muse of History and Virtue, is an extrovert who enjoys being the centre of attention. Being on TV should suit her but her show’s ratings are plummeting. In order to save her job, she accepts to merge with Kit Kalloway’s show, even though the two women are complete opposites. Clio’s show is about showing the good in life, with games and light, fun interviews of gods, whereas Kit’s is all about the gritty truth.
Vision of Virtue is the second book in the Memory’s Muses series, itself a spinoff of the Afterlife series (which I haven’t read yet). While I loved the first book, Song of Serenity, this one didn’t work as well for me. I usually like the Sunshine/Grumpy and opposites attract tropes but everything felt heavy-handed. I had the feeling what happened to the book is what the author writes about in the book: the search for balance between light and heavy, between striving for joy and being aware of reality. The merge of the two TV shows is a perfect example: Clio’s show is all about entertainment (the description reminded me of a show I used to watch as a child, Intervilles), Kit’s one hundred per cent information, mixing them together results in infotainment. When it works, it can be excellent. When it doesn’t, it can feel like it’s trying too hard to cram too many things in one session. Even so, Brey Willows’ snappy writing made Vision of Virtue an easy read.
As in book one, I enjoyed the getting-to-know-each-other between immortals and humans now that they all live together and that the author includes all sorts of gods, from all cultures and religions. Some I’ll be looking up to learn more about. I liked Clio and felt for her. Three thousand years of witnessing and recording all the ways humans hurt one another could drive anyone to burn out, even a muse. I admired Kit’s dogged pursuit of the truth even as her pertinacity in seeing the world as black or white made her extremely frustrating.
I didn’t love this book as much as I hoped I would but I’m looking forward to the next one in the series, Lines of Love, which will be released in December.
Vision of Virtue @ Bookshop.org / Kobo / amazon
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