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''The Doctrine of Labyrinths'' is a series of four fantasy novels by Creator/SarahMonette, largely featuring the incredibly dysfunctional Lord Felix Harrowgate, a very powerful wizard who nearly managed to put his [[SonOfAWhore baseborn past]] and [[HookerWithAHeartOfGold unsavory history]] behind him, and his equally-dysfunctional younger brother Mildmay, whose personality is [[TheStoic just as]] [[TheQuietOne fractured]] and whose past [[KnifeNut is]] [[HitmanWithaHeart just]] [[SonOfAWhore as]] [[GentlemanThief dismal]].

The character-driven plot is too complex to relate here; there are many sub-plots, minor characters, and dangling plot threads. As a whole, the books mainly focus on the emotional and psychological trauma that accompany Mildmay and Felix (and, occasionally, the guest protagonists of the third and fourth books), and how they heal from said trauma, with a heaping helping of additional trauma, abuse, magic, murder, and emotional regression to keep things interesting.

Felix is generally a vain, self-centered [[JerkAss ass]], and Mildmay generally attempts to protect him and keep him out of trouble, with varying levels of success. Combine their wildly different personalities, two more first-person narrators, more minor characters than you can shake a stick at, an assload of labyrinths, and you've got ''The Doctrine of Labyrinths''.

[[{{Deconstruction}} Among]] [[GenreBusting other]] [[DarkerAndEdgier things]], the series should be noted for its extremely realistic portrayals of post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder[[note]] Which, WordOfGod, Felix has, but lives in a world where diagnosis and treatment do not exist[[/note]], clinical depression and the personality and behavioral consequences of childhood abuse; the characters never really ''get over'' what has happened to them, so much as... [[ThereAreNoTherapists work through it]] to pass for halfway-normal, and slowly, eventually, heal.

Set in a fantasy version of what roughly correlates to the Industrial Revolution-Era France[[note]] though in later books they hit a vaguely Victorian country complete with SteamPunk magic[[/note]], the series goes out of its way to subvert, avert, and deconstruct as many tropes as it possibly can, especially the StandardFantasySetting. Perhaps due to the [[RapeAsDrama subject]] [[HarmfulToMinors matter]] it covers, the series is not very well known, which is a shame. However, it is very well-loved by those who do know it.

The series consists of the books ''Mélusine'', ''The Virtu'', ''The Mirador'', and ''Corambis''. Creator/SarahMonette has also written an additional side story, A Gift of Wings, set in the same universe but involving no interlocking characters. [[note]] A septad is seven of something, usually seven years. A decad is ten days. An indiction is one year. Any other terms the reader is unfamiliar with can probably be found in a larger, more extensive dictionary; they are all historical in nature.[[/note]]

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!!This series provides examples of:

* AbUrbeCondita: Stephen uses the phrase in ''The Mirador''. Presumably he's referring to the founding of Marathat, although given that Rome+Atlantis=Cymellune (and thus Latin likely equals Cymellunar), he may be counting from the founding of Cymellune, in which case the date would probably be in the realm of legend.
* AbominationAccusationAttack: Thaddeus is really into these. The crazy part is that he may actually believe them.
* AbusiveParents: Basically everyone, up to and including orphans... whose parental figures were abusive enough to make up for any ambiguity.
* AccentRelapse: In rare moments of overwhelming emotion--usually fear or rage or both--Felix will lose his posh accent and slip into a Lower City one.
* {{Ahem}}: Shannon demonstrates uncharacteristic good sense when he uses this tactic to stop a public quarrel between Stephen and Thaddeus.
* AllGaysArePromiscuous: Gideon is the sole exception.
* AllGaysLoveTheater: Played straight in ''The Mirador''.
* AllLoveIsUnrequited: A lot of people towards Felix. [[WordOfGod Cardenio towards Mildmay.]]
* AllWomenAreLustful: The only apparent aversion is Emily Teveria, who's [[DeathByOriginStory dead]] by the time ''Mélusine'' begins.
* AloofBigBrother: Subverted. Felix is so obviously not the more stable of the brothers, not that that's saying much.
** Stephen would be a better example, particularly towards rebellious younger brother Shannon.
* AlternativeCalendar: Multiple variants of these make them a little hard to keep track of. Realistically, the characters have the same problem in-universe.
* AmbiguouslyGay:
** Julian adores Cyriack, to the point that Isobel worries about him being "soppish" toward him, but the books never say whether his love is romantic or platonic. He's also notably more flustered than flattered when Corbie flirts with him, but Mildmay thinks that might be an issue of maturity rather than attraction.
** Edgar St. Rose lets Felix flirt with him and they get along better than Felix does with many of his coleagues. Mildmay wonders if they're also sleeping together, but we never find out.
* AmIJustAToyToYou: Gideon asks Felix this in one of ''The Mirador'''s many heartbreaking scenes.
* AmplifierArtifact: Jeweled rings serve as these to Cabaline (and apparently Tibernian) wizards. Of course, they're also proof of [[ConspicuousConsumption wealth and status]], and, well, they [[EverythingsSparklyWithJewelry just look cool]].
* AnimalMotifs: The magic of Felix's insanity causes him to see people with the heads of animals that represent them. Perhaps tellingly, Gideon is just a green blob.
* AnimalThemeNaming: Why hello there Mr. Mildmay ''the Fox''. Likewise, Felix and Mehitabel share their names with famous cats. Corbie's name comes from the Scots word for raven.
* AndTheAdventureContinues: The end of ''Corambis''. The author has said she wanted to make it clear that the story didn't end with the narrative, and she definitely did.
* AndThereWasMuchRejoicing: Over the deaths of a couple of blood wizards. Mildmay observes that Mrs. Fenris had "been praying for indictions for [[spoiler: Vey Coruscant]] to choke on a fishbone and die."
* {{Antihero}}: Felix is the Type IV variety, sometimes skirting type V (for example, when [[spoiler: ordering Mildmay to kill Vey Coruscant or when [[BondageIsBad losing control]] when dominating a sexual partner]]). Mildmay at his best is Type II, but he generally stays at Type III and his past indicates Type IV.
* ArcWords: Arguably, "The doctrine of labyrinths", or "Every maze has a monster at its heart." The continued motif of "the heart and the center of a labyrinth are not the same" also deserves honorable mention.
* ArtifactOfDeath: Any Titan clock.
* ArtisticLicenseEngineering: Titan clocks last centuries if not millenia, despite being made out of things like gold, bone, and [[AWizardDidIt magic]].
* {{Asexuality}}: Asked what he'd like to do with his life, Vincent answers, "Cut off my sex and go into a monastery," and Mehitabel "worried that he wasn't joking". However, given [[SexSlave his]] [[{{Woobie}} miserable]] [[RapeAsBackstory history]], it's hard to know whether this is a trait he was born with, or one he developed over time. We do know that in his youth he imagined that a "young, wealthy lord would see my [[SelfDeprecation sterling qualities behind the hard veneer of prostitution]] and [[RescueRomance take me away]] to his palace on Lighthill. But I was never in that story either."
** Some of the brothers of St. Crellifer's, specifically Brother Orphelin and Brother Lilburn. Felix can see in his madness that celibacy is no trouble for Orphelin because he is much more interest in power and secrets than sex. And Lilburn... doesn't seem to feel anything at all.
** Simon and Rinaldo similarly don't engage in sex, with each other or anybody else (despite rumors that they are lovers) and seem to be the only people in the Mirador to do so. This might be a consequence of the trauma they suffered, but they aren't about to think about that in depth.
* AssInAmbassador: Arsene L'Hiver, junior envoy from Tibernia. He's bigoted over everything from [[HeteronormativeCrusader homosexuality]] to his [[UnequalRites school of magic]], which makes him odious to most people, but a rather amusing target for Felix.
* AttemptedRape: Far less common than actual rape. Discussion continues over whether this is a subversion, making the story [[ThisIsReality more realistic]], or... [[RapeAsDrama not]]. Honestly, a lot of the criticism for the series comes down to how this trope is handled.
* AuraVision: While insane, Felix can see people's emotions in the colors that surround them. Gideon is an exception-- he just looks green.
* BackFromTheDead: Always ends badly. At best you'll wind up with tortured souls making some mediums [[UnhappyMedium very unhappy]]; at worst, you've got yourself the above ''and'' some serious carnage.
* BadLiar: Felix and Mildmay both have moments of this, especially when dealing with each other. Mildmay in general doesn't lie very well.
** Corbie is a ''terrible'' liar, to the point that just staring at her a little bit after one of her obvious tells (she'll talk too fast or lift her chin like she's daring you to contradict her) will make her crumble and tell the truth.
* BadassFingerSnap: Well, finger wave-- Felix takes out a gang of thugs with one.
* BadassGay: Felix (who, most of the time, could burn you to a cinder with his mind) and Kay (longtime warrior and popular general). Malkar also qualifies as a badass bisexual, although he's [[DepravedBisexual hardly]] a positive example.
* BadassInDistress: Mildmay is the resident Badass, but at one point he gets locked in a farmhouse cellar and has to get rescued by Felix who is completely insane at this point and fights like a little girl even at his best. [[spoiler: Not to mention later, when the usually competent Mildmay has to be rescued DamselInDistress style.]]
* BadassMustache: Bernard sports a braided one, saved from utter ridiculousness by the fact that he's actually a badass.
* BadassNormal: Despite the fact that Mildmay is completely magicless, he never gets lost, he's a great street fighter and, according to Mehitabel, the best lover in the world, and he can get into any building.
* BalanceOfPower: Marathat's position between two much greater powers (Tibernia and Kekropia) makes its more astute politicians acutely aware of this trope.
* BanOnMagic: The Cabalines will burn you at the stake for using blood in magic, for contacting the dead, or even performing a magical healing... unless you're a [[BloodMagic blood wizard]] crime boss, in which case it apparently isn't worthwhile. The Corambins purged Caloxa of an entire school of magic, and while they don't explicitly forbid women to study magic, they certainly make it hard for them.
* TheBaroness: Kolkhis. Not only does she raise children to do her bidding as thieves and assassins, she also uses them as her sex slaves. By force if necessary. [[spoiler: Oh, and she's in league with an EvilSorcerer]].
* BarredFromTheAfterlife: Felix encounters a lot of poor souls with this problem: at Nera, in the crypts of the Cordelii, in Hermione, at the burning building in Caloxa, and possibly in St. Crellifer's as well.
* BastardBastard: Played with. People keep expecting Shannon to do something evil on the grounds that he's the possibly-illegitimate son of the late, treasonous consort, Gloria Aestia. [[spoiler: Luther Littleman's ghost essentially confirms that Shannon isn't a Teverius by blood.]] While he's no saint, his real [[PokeThePoodle offenses]] don't amount to much beyond sulking, sniping, and gossiping.
* BastardBoyfriend: Malkar is the Unconflicted Type. We know less about Ivo than we do about Malkar, but from what Vincent says, he's pretty nasty too.
* TheBear: Murtagh is a warrior with scars, [[CarpetOfVirility dense body hair]], and a fondness for [[SafeSaneAndConsensual kinky sex]] with men. Felix finds him quite appealing.
* BeautyEqualsGoodness: Ha ha ha ''no''.
* BeautyIsBad: Beautiful characters are almost shallow, vain, and spiteful, at least before their HiddenDepths are revealed.
* BedlamHouse: St. Crellifer's.
* BerserkButton: Felix has a number of triggers to set him off, namely Malkar, the Sim, Malkar, his Keeper, Malkar, that time when he was crazy, and Malkar. Mildmay's are people pitying him and people not understanding his speech. Shannon's is his mother and Stephen's is Felix. Thaddeus and Gideon's is the Bastion. Basically the people in these books have a lot of issues, mmkay?
** More importantly, Felix and Mildmay are each other's {{Berserk Button}}s. Mess with one, and the other will go batfuck on you.
* BestServedCold: Mavortian has spent years looking for Beaumont Livy, the many who seduced and abandoned Anna Gloria Pietrin. He's willing to resort to kidnapping, cross a continent with crutches, risk [[BurnTheWitch being burned as a witch]], and walk into the lair of an EvilSorcerer in order to get revenge. Unfortunately for Mavortian, [[spoiler: Beaumont Livy is another pseudonym of Brinvillier Strych, and he just gets himself painfully killed for his trouble]].
* BewareTheNiceOnes: Gideon, apparently. Mildmay makes some remark in ''The Mirador'' about this.
* BigBad: Malkar.
* BigLabyrinthineBuilding: The Mirador and the Bastion, which may or may not have once been "on the same plan."
* BigOlEyebrows: Giancarlo is known for his.
* BigScrewedUpFamily: Mehitabel's descriptions would say she comes from one, as among other things she's apparently related to half the actors in Kekropia and she wants to avoid ''all'' of them.
* BilingualBonus: Mainly done with French. Also some Latin and Greek.
* BitchAlert: Kolkhis's entrance, at the Stag and Candles in ''The Virtu''.
* BitPartBadguys: St. Crellifer's staffers, Astyanax, the Sunny Pingree band, not to mention a bunch of two-bit criminals scattered all over the story.
* BittersweetEnding: They still have issues, but the main characters are no longer in imminent danger from others or, more surprisingly, themselves.
* BlackAndGrayMorality: Pretty much the only kinds around. For example, one of the protagonists is Mildmay, the thief and former assassin, who justifies his current career by saying it's not "some great moral victory, but at least no one was dying."
* BlackMagic: Noirant magic.
* BlessedWithSuck: Most of the characters with any significant talent, be it magic, larceny or good looks, end up paying for it more than they benefit. If they don't end up losing those skills outright in the most thematically ironic way possible.
** "For all things worthwhile, you must suffer."
* BlondesAreEvil: Appears to be the belief in Mélusine due to the legacy of Gloria Aestia. Her treason was so terrible she was the first annemer to be burned at the stake. Many are afraid that Shannon will be just as bad as his mother if he becomes Lord Protector.
* BloodMagic: Malkar and Vey Coruscant are accomplished practitioners. Also Porphyria Levant, for historical figures. [[spoiler: They have been using this to keep themselves young and vital for who knows how many years. Vey was terrorizing the Lower City when Felix and Mildmay were children, and when Mildmay killed her she didn't look a day over twenty. Judging by how long it's been since Porphyria Levant died, Malkar has been at it for at least two-hundred years.]] And Felix isn't above using a little blood in his own magic, if the situation's dire enough.
* BookDumb: While Mildmay is quite intelligent, he's also functionally illiterate… [[spoiler: until Felix begins to teach him to read in 'Corambis']].
** Corbie is similarly intelligent, and fortunate enough to be literate, but her grandmother pulled her out of school when she was eight. It is one of several factors that make her stand out at the Institution.
** The students Felix was teaching in ''The Mirador''. They have a little education, but they haven't had the kind of opportunity and access that would make them ready to be apprentices. This is implied to be the case with most non-Cabaline wizards in Mélusine.
* BoomerangBigot: Corbie's grandmother, who hated and feared magicians despite being one herself. Corbie herself was a softer version of this until Felix taught her better.
* BoringReturnJourney: Happily averted in ''The Virtu''. The trip back has a [[MagicallyBindingContract dark spell]], a death goddess, a couple of jailbreaks, a mutilation, two scheming sidekicks, straight sex, gay sex, and, at the end, a close call with [[KillItWithFire burning at the stake]].
* BrainsAndBondage: Malkar and Felix practice this, together and separately.
* BrainsAndBrawn: This is what Felix and Mildmay are, respectively, to outside eyes. However, it's really subverted, because while Mildmay never had formal education, he's still more sensible than Felix. Felix, who ''was'' educated, but only pragmatically, and as such has huge holes in his knowledge and habitually makes terrible decisions.
* BrainyBrunette: Mehitabel Parr.
* BrattyTeenageDaughter: Methony's motivation for basically sleeping with everyone in Nephele and then running away to Mélusine.
* BreakTheHaughty: Dished out to Felix throughout ''Mélusine'' and ''Corambis''.
* BrotherSisterIncest: It's hinted that Mad Elinor slept with her brother to produce her heir, Henry Ophidius. The other possibility was [[ParentalIncest her father]]. Either way, Henry was 'a little peculiar'.
** And then there's Felix and Mildmay, and the fact that everyone thought Mildmay was Kolkhis's little brother.
--->'''Mildmay:''' "What was I doing wrong that everybody thought I was committing incest once a decad?"
* BroughtDownToNormal: While there doesn't appear to be any way to remove the magic from a wizard, there are several ways to keep one from accessing his power, and Felix gets hit with several: mental damage and the Curia's interdict in ''Mélusine'', magic shackles in ''The Mirador'', and drugs and later the binding-by-obedience (also called the "choke-binding") in ''Corambis''. By this time, though, it's more a case of BroughtDownToBadass, since he still manages to [[spoiler: save the entire country from the engine under Summerdown]].
* BrownNote: The Titan clocks produce noirance-freighted tolling that drives people to commit suicide.
* {{Buttmonkey}}: Just about every protagonist in the series is this to one degree or another. Most notably every character who gets a POV. And Gideon. And Vincent. And Hallam. And even [[JerkassWoobie Vulpes]]. And...
* CallingYourAttacks: Felix can perform magic without motion or speech, but it's harder. Mildmay relates his knowledge that keeping a wizard from speaking is critical if you're trying to assassinate them.
* CampGay: Felix is very fashion-conscious, refers to other people of both sexes as "darling" (usually when he wants to be mocking; it's something he picked up from Malkar), and also is extremely beautiful.
* CardsOfPower: The Sibylline, used for fortune-telling.
* CarpetOfVirility: Murtagh's is a Type 1.
* CastFromHitPoints: Mending [[spoiler: the Virtu]] leaves Felix unconscious for two days, and he [[BloodMagic slits one of his wrists]] in order to lay the ghost of [[spoiler: Magnus Cordelius]].
* CastFullOfGay: Felix, Kay, Shannon, Gideon, Astyanax, Sherbourne, Angel, Louis Goliath, and Murtagh are all definitely gay or bisexual; Edwin Beckett, Julian Carey, Cyriack Thrale, Edgar St. Rose, and Vincent Demabrien may or may not be gay.
* CastFullOfPrettyBoys: Felix, Shannon, Vincent, Semper, and Angel.
* CatchPhrase: "Fuck me sideways 'til I cry!" "''Darling''." "Acting the swan daughter."
** Also: "Fuck this for the Emperor's snotrag!" and "Fuck this for a half-wit dog."
** Not to mention "bitchkitty" and "Milly-Fox" and "eyes as big as bell wheels." Mildmay has a lot of these.
* CharacterDevelopment: The main arc of the story is centered on how Felix and Mildmay, and to a lesser extent [[spoiler: Mehitabel and Kay]] accomplish this, becoming functioning members of society again, or... ever.
* ChaseScene: Mildmay {{Roofhopping}} to get away from Rindleshin's pack in ''Mélusine''.
* ChekhovsArmy: If you see the name Vincent, Estella Velvet, Faith Cowry, Hugo Chandler, or Edwin Beckett, make a note. They're more important than they seem.
* ChekhovsGun: For parsimony excluding people, there's one in ''Mélusine'', when Gideon [[LegendofChekhov tells]] Felix about the magic-powered machines of Corambis. Felix has trouble believing him, but ''Corambis'' proves Gideon right.
* ChekhovsSkill: In ''The Virtu'', Mehitabel says that she "worked in the Bastion at the time." Guess which citadel later needs infiltrating to rescue [[spoiler: Mildmay]]?
* ChildrenAreInnocent: Averted constantly, as most of them are thieves, assassins, or self-aware sadists. The only straight example of an innocent child is Florian in ''The Virtu''.
* ChildSoldiers: The wizards of the Bastion [[spoiler: (like Gideon)]] are drafted into the military at age 13 or 14, and then [[HarmfulToMinors sexually preyed upon by the older wizards]]. Early military service may also be a Caloxan norm, as Kay went to war at 14.
* ChivalrousPervert: Mildmay.
* TheChurch: While most Mèlusiniens appear to be either henotheists with a vast pantheon or agnostics, the Caloxans and Corambins fall into two camps: Eadian and Caddovian, which seem to be fantastic variants on Catholicism and Anglicanism, complete with the Lady (not called a goddess) at the center) and "coralines" (strings of prayer beads) as accessories.
* CitadelCity: Damaging Mélusine's massive, 700-year-old walls qualifies as treason, which is odd, since they don't seem to serve much purpose beyond looking cool. Assaults are much likelier to come through magic than a physical invasion.
* CityGuards: The city watch if you're upper class. The Dogs if you're from the Lower City.
* TheCityNarrows: Most of the Lower City is rough, but Simside, Queensdock, and the Arcane are even wretcheder than the rest of this WretchedHive.
* ClassicVillain: Malkar, inverted/invoked/Lampshaded when [[spoiler: Mildmay points out he was, "just like them evil wizards in stories," to which Felix notes, "he would have loved the comparison," implying Malkar was playing up a trope on ''purpose'']].
* ClassyCravat: Standard accessory for Marathat's male elite.
* ClearTheirName: Mehitabel tries desperately to do this for Felix and Mildmay in ''The Mirador''.
* ClingyMacGuffin: Malkar's rubies. Sarah Monette has even [[http://truepenny.livejournal.com/tag/q%26a compared the rubies to the real world's radioactive waste]], since there's no safe way for Felix to dispose of them and they [[spoiler: may contaminate places, magic, and even people]].
* ClockPunk: An ancient (probably Cymellunar, but possibly Troian) was kind enough to leave behind magic-powered clocks that induce people to kill themselves.
* ClockTower: Felix has an unfortunate encounter with one of these in ''Corambis''.
* ClusterFBomb: Corbie drops one in ''Corambis''.
---> "What the fuck? What the fucking fuck?"
* CobwebOfDisuse: Found in the lower levels of the Mirador. ''Mélusine'' arguably subverts this trope, as the ''lack'' of cobwebs in an abandoned tower spooks out Mildmay, who thinks that means something worse is keeping the spiders out.
* ComeToGawk: Felix is paraded through Mélusine after he was framed for breaking the Virtu.
** Kay is put on display in public after he's blinded and forced to surrender his army.
* {{Confessional}}: Part of Corambin/Caloxan religion.
* ConspicuousConsumption: Rich colors, sumptuous fabrics, and even gold and silver brocade are everyday wear at the Marathine court.
* ConspicuouslyPublicAssassination: Brinvillier Strych used magic to burn the Lady Protector to death in the Hall of the Chimeras.
* ConsummateLiar: Mavortian, according to Mildmay.
* ContemptibleCover: Horrendous for the [[http://www.amazon.com/Mélusine-Sarah-Monette/dp/0441014178/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1265693314&sr=8-1 first book]], got a bit better for the second and third, and then dipped to a new low just in time for the [[http://www.amazon.com/Corambis-Sarah-Monette/dp/B002IKLO2I/ref=pd_sim_b_2 finale]].
* ConvenientlyCommonKink: Felix's experiences in ''Mélusine'' and ''The Mirador'' suggest that finding a willing bottom for violent gay sex in Mélusine is about as hard as finding a stalk of corn in Iowa in July.
* ConvictedByPublicOpinion
** The Duke of Glimmering was hoping this would happen with Kay, but the people of Bernatha feel pity rather than contempt and the duke just comes off looking spiteful.
* CoolBigSis: Corbie slips herself into this role with Julian.
** Mehitabel acts this way towards Felix and Mildmay, even though she later starts sleeping with Mildmay. She later takes Semper under her wing.
* CoolOldGuy: Iosephinus Pompey. Felix thinks he'd quit caring about heresy, enabling him to teach Felix a modicum of control over his mind and powers.
* TheCorruptible: Felix.
* CostumePorn: For a non-visual medium, there's a lot of this. We hear about everything from [[GracefulLadiesLikePurple Kolkhis]]'s bustle to the lumpy socks that [[LimitedWardrobe Mildmay]] wears on his return to Mélusine. Now and then we get bits of this with [[SimpleYetOpulent Mehitabel]], but [[UnlimitedWardrobe Felix]] probably gets the most clothing-related ink.
* CountryMouse: Ginevra Thomson.
* CreepyBasement: The lower levels of the Mirador. They're cobwebby, populated by [[spoiler: ghosts and ghouls]], and the final resting place of lots of really bad people. Even Shannon, who's lived his whole life in the Mirador, would get "nervous and unhappy" if Felix spent too much time down there.
* CreepyBlueEyes: Felix, whose right eye is most definitely a Creepy Blue Eye as it's a strangely pale, cloudy blue. In the Lower City with its superstitions, this is blended with OccultBlueEyes. Given his left eye is yellow, it creates an overall eerie effect that even Mildmay refers to as "spooky eyes."
* CreepyCemetery: The Boneprince. It has the ghosts of murdered children and everything.
* CruelAndUnusualDeath: Inflicted on [[spoiler: Mavortian]] by Malkar.
* CrushKillDestroy: The Automaton of Corybant goes crazy and does this.
* {{Cult}}:
** Methony was in one when Mildmay was born, thus the ridiculous name she gave him. Weird cults "come and go like mayflies" in the Lower City.
** Gideon worships the rather spooky White-Eyed Lady, in a cult that dates back thousands of years (although the rituals have become somewhat tamer).
** Edwin Beckett's fervor for starting the Clock of the Eclipses through having lots of kinky sex borders on religious, and his followers act as though they've been brainwashed. [[spoiler: Felix refers to the way they used him as "sacrifice."]]
* CulturedBadass: Felix, Malkar, and Kolkhis.
* CuriousQualmsOfConscience: Despite being raised as an assassin, Mildmay turns into someone who "has very high moral standards" (Felix, ''Corambis''.) Well, relative to Felix, anyway.
* CynicismCatalyst: Joline is this for Felix. After she died, he never really trusted anyone until Mildmay.
* DangerousForbiddenTechnique: Using blood for magic or ritual purposes, or drawing on someone else's energy. Felix does them both when the situation requires, but the latter leaves him unconscious for two days and Mildmay not much better.
* DarkIsNotEvil: Felix is described as a noirant (black magic) wizard and a natural necromancer. Did I mention he's the protagonist?
** Noirant magic in general is not evil, either. Coeurterrene wizards believe that it must be kept in balance with clairant (white) magic, not shunned or eliminated.
* DarkSkinnedRedhead: The inhabitants of Caloxa and Corambis are naturally dark skinned and red-headed or [[DarkSkinnedBlond blond]].
* DarkerAndEdgier: ''The Mirador''. It's like peering into a pitch-black cave.
* DatingWhatDaddyHates: Shannon makes it a point to take as his lover the one wizard his older brother can't stand.
* DeadPersonConversation: Felix has them with Magnus Cordelius, the fantôme in the tower, Grendille Moran, and the fantôme in the burning building; Mildmay observes one between Augusta Fenris and Luther Littleman.
* DeadlyDecadentCourt: The court of the Mirador. And it's implied that Tibernia has this too.
* DealWithTheDevil: When a wizard summons a fantôme, the spirit offers the wizard incredible powers in exchange for basically getting to eat the wizard's soul sooner or later.
** [[spoiler: Felix accepts a fantôme at the end of ''Corambis'' before tricking it into becoming the final offering to the engine below Summerdown.]]
* DeathByOriginStory: Methony, Joline, Iosephinus Pompey, Zephyr Wolsey, and the list goes on...
* {{Deconstruction}}: The series is a massive, excruciatingly realistic deconstruction of the fantasy genre in general and the over-the-top traumatic pasts most (suspiciously well-adjusted) fiction characters have in particular. In general, it relies on invoking the tropes in question (traumatic pasts especially) and then playing them as realistically as possible, showing it's not so glamorous to have been raised as a beautiful prostitute, a deadly assassin, a skilled spy, or a noble warrior.
* DeliberateValuesDissonance: Mildmay "won't be a pimp," but he has no problems patronizing prostitutes, who are, in this particular CrapsackWorld, frequently slaves. Stephen's search for a wife involves searching for appropriate families with more or less eligible women, whose consent, based on the actions of their relatives, may not be free and willing. Shannon [[LampshadeHanging lampshades]] this by calling his brother's methods "barbaric," but no one seems to view it as criminal. Further, everyone knows that bear-baiting is a common sport; the POV characters tend to look down on it, but don't feel any apparent compunction to outlaw it.
** In-universe, Felix struggles to understand and adapt to the local culture in Corambis, which is significantly more sexist and homophobic than that of Marathat. Even in Marathat, people disagree bitterly over the acceptance of homosexuality ("The Lord Protector was known particularly to not like molls," even though his younger brother is out and proud), torture of criminals, and what qualifies as heresy.
* DepravedBisexual:
** Malkar. He kept a teenage boy as a sex slave, seduced and betrayed a lady of the Mirador, rapes a man, and kidnaps and tortures another man. Oh, and then there are the [[spoiler: burning a woman alive, [[DrivenToSuicide driving another to suicide]], and attempting to bring down an entire country that was pretty much minding its own business]]. The two-bit gangster Sunny Pingree is another example--although he apparently pays women for consensual sex more or less regularly, he also tries to shake down an (assumed) male prostitute for sex.
** Simon averts this trope: according to Mehitabel, he's "janus." He's also kind, understanding, and [[HiddenDepths surprisingly]] brave in ''The Mirador''.
* DisappearedDad: Neither of the brothers knows who their father was. Felix's could be anyone in the Gardens of Nephele and Mildmay's could be... well, anyone in Mélusine. Possibly with green eyes.
* DiscOneFinalBoss: [[spoiler: Vey Coruscant]] is certainly formidable enough in her own right, but defeating her isn't the endgame.
* TheDogBitesBack: Felix to Malkar in ''The Virtu''; Mildmay to Kolkhis in ''The Mirador''.
* TheDon: Kolkhis and Vey Coruscant. Unusual in that both are female
* DontCallMeSir: During a fight with his lover, Lord Shannon, over the [[TheReveal revelation]] that Felix used to work as a prostitute (and lied to Shannon about it for more than four years), Felix calls him "my lord." Given their longstanding relationship, Shannon snaps back, "Don't call me that!"
* DontGoInTheWoods: The Forest of Nauleverer is a pretty creepy place.
* DontYouDarePityMe: Tends to be subverted, more often than not, with many a character noting that they would have fended off attempts at help... if they weren't really, really in need of it.
* DoomsdayDevice: The machine under Summerdown.
* {{Doorstopper}}: Each (paperback) book is at least 400+ pages of really small font.
* DoubleStandardRapeFemaleOnMale: Averted, as Mildmay has nightmares about how Kolkhis used him, both sexually and as an assassin.
** Averted in Corambis with the violent orgy to restart the Clock of the Eclipses.
* DoubleStandardRapeMaleOnMale: Averted in ''Mélusine'', as much of the plot hangs on Felix's trauma resulting from both physical and [[MindRape mental]] [[RapeAsDrama rape]].
* DownerEnding: All of the books have quite somber endings, but ''The Mirador'' takes the cake in the 'depressing ending' department.
* DramaticIrony: Used very well; unsurprisingly, Monette has a Ph.D in English Literature. For example, in ''The Mirador'', Felix doesn't want Mildmay to go to the St. Dismas Baths in the Arcane, and uses the [[spoiler: obligation d’âme]] to enforce his wishes. Mildmay thinks he's being a dick (which he is), but that's not the only reason. [[spoiler: The St. Dismas Baths are where Felix goes to clean himself off after he gets done having extremely violent S&M sex with random men and getting spattered with their blood.]]
* TheDreaded: Any given [[BloodMagic blood wizard]] inspires terror in even the most Badass heroes, partly due to the fact that their techniques enhance their power beyond its normal limits and partly because they thrive on other people's pain and suffering (and, of course, [[CaptainObvious blood]]).
* DreamLand: There is an implied wide dreamworld out there, though Felix mostly sticks to the Khloidanikos.
* DreamWalker: Many magicians are capable of this. Its forms can range from a benign sort of long-distance communication to outright MindRape; the latter is known as a "sending," and Gideon regards it as a particularly heinous act.
* DreamingOfThingsToCome[=/=]DreamingOfTimesGoneBy: Explained as a kind of magic, oneiromancy. Felix is particularly prone to these tropes, [[BadDreams which]] [[NightmareSequence often]] [[FlashbackNightmare proves]] [[YourWorstNightmare unpleasant]].
* DrivenToSuicide: One of the side-effects of mikkary, Titan Clocks, and a certain thaumaturgic engine.
** Stephen and Victoria's mother, Lady Dulcinea, committed suicide when Stephen was eight. [[spoiler: Later revealed to have been the handiwork of Vey Coruscant.]]
** [[spoiler: Isaac Garamond commits suicide in ''Corambis'']]
* DysfunctionJunction: Powers and saints, where to start? Fucking ''everyone'' in this series is screwed-up beyond repair. But Felix and Mildmay, due to their horribly miserable childhoods, really take the cake, with the other two POV characters, Mehitabel and Kay, as close runner-ups. Thaddeus and Mavortian get honorable mention: [[spoiler: we never quite find out what happened to them, but it's implied to be ''bad'', or at least soul-crushingly depressing.]]
** Felix can only correlate love with sex, is mean and hateful to even those he loves (even when he recognizes it and knows he should stop), is a sadist when it comes to sex, is manipulative and controlling, and has a GuiltComplex the size of a horse's small intestine.
** Mildmay has horrible self-esteem and huge trust issues, is self-degrading, only wants to be loved in a non-sexual way, and still hangs around Felix even after Felix does and says seriously horrible things to and about him. While he was Kolkhis's assassin, he was clinically depressed. He falls back into that after [[spoiler: Ginevra dies, pulls himself out of it when he meets Felix, and then falls right back into it again after Felix sends him, using the obligation d’âme, to murder Vey Coruscant, which he does. Malkar catches him and tortures him for around a month]].
** Gideon joined a death cult at fifteen because of a longing for suicide, fell in love with a horny wizard but finds sex degrading, and spends a year and a half being openly, humiliatingly [[spoiler: [[YourCheatingHeart cheated on]] by Felix]] before he develops a backbone. And even then, he's so in love with Felix that he [[spoiler: walks into Vulpes's trap]].
** Shannon and his siblings do not get along-- to the extent that he fears Stephen will have him burned at the stake for treason, even in the absence of any incriminating evidence.
* DysfunctionalFamily: Well, let's see...
** Methony hated her father so much that she ran away and lived out her life [[spoiler: on another continent]], at least if you believe Diokletian's explanation. She later sold her sons into slavery, and they spend years dealing with and dishing out incest, physical abuse, and MindRape... frequently between each other.
** The Teverii are so dysfunctional that Shannon fears Stephen will have him burned at the stake on a false charge of treason. Not to mention that the family rose to power when Michael slaughtered every single Cordelius, including a cousin and the cousin's infant son.
** Mehitabel's parents ignored her, her uncle molested her, and the only thing she regrets about running away at 15 is leaving behind her siblings to deal with the situation.
** Kay's mother "had little interest in [him]," and his father turned him into a ruthless soldier when he was 14, though not before leaving him with a good deal of internalized homophobia.
** After the death of Vincent's father, his older brothers abandoned him and his mother sold him into prostitution. He apparently has no idea what happened to any of them afterward.
* EarnYourHappyEnding: Done very well in the ending of ''Corambis''. [[spoiler: Felix and Mildmay are technically being banished ''again'', this time out to the back of beyond, but they've both (mostly) come to terms with themselves and each other, and promise to try to be happy with each other.]]
* EatingTheEyeCandy: Despite Mildmay's supposedly hideous scar, plenty of people seem to like ogling him-- notably [[spoiler: Felix]], Mehitabel ("Well, I certainly like what I see"), the Fawn daughters, and various people at the baths (although he attributes this to his red body hair).
* EldritchAbomination: Ghouls and fantômes.
* EldritchLocation: The Mirador and Bastion.
* EmbarrassingFirstName: For Mr. Mild-may-your-suffering-be-at-the-hands-of-the-wicked.
** And for Gartrett Corbie.
* EmbarrassingNickname: People call Shannon (although probably not to his face) the Golden Whelp, as his [[EvilMatriarch scheming mother]] was known as the Golden Bitch.
* EmpathicEnvironment
** Played straight in ''Mélusine''. Meeting a [[BloodMagic blood witch]] in a graveyard? Surrounded by millenia-year-old tormented ghosts? You're about to get drenched.
** Possibly played with in ''The Mirador'': Although [[spoiler: getting exiled from the Mirador for gross heresy]] certainly makes for a turbulent experience, Mildmay doesn't mind the accompanying rain becaues he's just happy to be leaving.
* EqualOpportunityEvil: Kolkhis is perfectly happy to use or serve men, women, and heretics, provided that they do good work or pay her on time.
* EssentialThirdActTwists: The Mirador's falls under the heading of "Necromancer Solves Case."
* EvenEvilHasStandards: Kolkhis doesn't do much for free (and isn't above sex with thirteen-year-olds or assassination for hire), but if the Cabalines are persecuting you, her heads-up comes gratis.
* EverybodyHasLotsOfSex: True with regard to the POV characters-- Felix will "fuck anything in trousers," Mildmay sleeps with Ginevra, Mehitabel, Corbie, the prostitute Anna Sylvia, and, it's suggested, random chambermaids; Mehitabel is "an actress of known immorality"; and Kay makes no secret of enjoying the men of the Clowder Palace, in addition to a fling with Angel Vyell.
* EveryoneLovesBlondes: Corbie is exceedingly popular with the boys at the Institution and seems to have them wrapped around her little finger before Felix or Mildmay even set foot on campus.
** Felix makes constant references to how beautiful Shannon is and he seems to get a lot of attention from the guys.
* EverythingsBetterWithPrincesses: Averted and subverted with Arakhne.
** "She's mostly there expressly in order for Felix to reject getting embroiled in That Kind of Fantasy Novel." [[WordOfGod Says the author herself.]]
* EvilMatriarch: Kolkhis. She claims to love her children, Mildmay especially, but she seems to love making them suffer for her amusement more.
** Blood wizard Vey Coruscant heads up organized crime in Dassament, and even Mildmay notes that he's always "gone pretty far out of my way to make sure me and the lady never met."
** Gloria Aestia, although she's long dead by the start of the series. She plotted to restore monarchy in Marathat with her son Shannon when he was fourteen or so, so she would have several years to consolidate power and make Shannon into a puppet king. Years after her execution, Shannon still flips out when people so much as mention her.
* EvilSorcerer: Malkar Gennadion, Vey Coruscant, Beaumont Livy, Brinvillier Strych, Porphyria Levant, and Edmund Beckett. Although [[spoiler: a couple of those actually turn out to be Malkar under another name]].
* ExpositoryHairstyleChange: Once for Felix in the beginning of ''Mélusine'', and once again at the end of ''Corambis''. Once for Mildmay, when Mavortian pays him to take the dye out of his hair.
* FaceYourFears: Felix is utterly terrified of Malkar. So who does he have to fight [[spoiler: to the death]] in ''The Virtu'''s climax? Guess.
* TheFagin: Margot is the more sympathetic type; most thief-keepers, including Kolkhis and the unnamed one who raised Felix, are considerably [[BlackAndGrayMorality nastier]].
* FakeOutMakeOut: Mildmay and Mehitabel pull this one in ''The Virtu''. Apparently, it's funner than they expected.
* FamedInStory: All the narrators are this by the end of the series.
* {{Familiar}}: Felix reflects that Mildmay fills this role for him.
* FamouslyMundaneFictionallyMagical: Coming from relatively low-tech Mélusine, Felix is fascinated by Corambis's {{Magitek}} trains and robot. Clocks also occasionally fall into this category.
* FanDisservice: Half... okay, nearly all the scenes involving sex.
* FantasticDrug: Phoenix, spiderweb, and roseblood. It isn't clear what they're made of, but normal drugs like laudanum do exist in this universe, so magic seems like a real possibility.
* FantasticRacism: People in Marathat really freak out over Felix's odd coloring (white skin, complete heterochromia with one eye being gold, and deep red hair) and unusual build (tall and very slender). His Keeper evn used to beat him for being bad luck. Over in Corambis, people mistreat "aethereals," or psychics, and female magicians.
* FantasyCounterpartCulture: More or less, the Troians = Ancient Greek, the Marathines = Anglo-French with a dash of Renaissance Europe, and the Kekropians = Modern Greek/Roman. Norvenans are obviously German, and the Merrows are obviously Russian. What little there is hints that Ygres is Spanish. Midlanders may be Italian? Mind, this is mostly in terms of naming, architecture and language, instead of actual culture... with the exception of Cymellume and Lucere, which seem to be the spiritual ancestors of Ancient Rome and Byzantium. Clear as mud? Cool!
* AFateWorseThanDeath:
** In ''Mélusine'', Mildmay subverts this, noting that, despite his misfortunes (being sold into slavery, raped, and trained as an assassin without ever getting the money for it, plus now having no viable options better than life as an on-the-run thief), his life "beats the fuck out of dying." Felix plays the trope straight: after Malkar uses him to break the Virtu, he hopes Malkar will choose to end his misery by killing him.
* FictionalCurrency: Often named for mythical creatures. Marathat uses centimes, gorgons, septagorgons, and decagorgons, while Bernatha uses such denominations as banshees and angels. Apparently unlike the former nations/regions, Corambis uses paper money.
* FieryRedhead: Methony and her sons.
* TheFirstCutIsTheDeepest: Felix once [[LoverAndBeloved loved]] [[DepravedBisexual Malkar]], while Mildmay's first love was [[EvilMatriarch Kolkhis]]. Unsurprisingly, they're both terrible at developing healthy relationships as adults.
* FirstPersonSmartass: Mildmay is the absolute king of this trope. Felix, Mehitabel, and Kay all have moments of this as well, but Mildmay's narration is constant smartassery.
* FishOutOfWater: Mildmay [[spoiler: accompanying Felix to the Mirador]]. Definitely not played for laughs.
** Also Corbie at the Institution due to their general attitude towards women practitioners.
* FluorescentFootprints: Cyriack casts a spell that enables magicians and aethereals to follow a person's glowing pink footprints (''Corambis'').
* ForgetsToEat: Mildmay, especially when Felix is being mean to him. Also hates having people watch him eat, presumably because of his scar.
* ForTheEvulz: Malkar's motivation for everything we see him do.
* {{Frameup}}: Felix is wrongfully jailed for treason in ''Mélusine'', and for treason murder in ''The Mirador''.
* FrequentlyBrokenUnbreakableVow: The sevenfold oath of the Cabalines. Robert breaks it by attempting to steal Felix's magic (''Mélusine''), nearly the entire Cabal breaks it to seal Felix's magic (''Mélusine''), and Felix himself breaks it at least four times in ''The Mirador''. This, despite the fact that Mildmay describes the Cabalines' oath as "put[ting] their soul in hock to the Mirador''.
* FriendsWithBenefits: Mildmay and Mehitabel. Sort of. It's complicated.
** Felix and.... a whole bunch of people.
* FrozenFace: Mildmay's, due to damage from a long-ago knife fight.
* FunctionalMagic: In several different flavors.
* GaggingOnYourWords: Felix--a lot.
** When admitting to his history as a prostitute, he feels the words sticking in his throat "like a fishbone."
** Largely for magical reasons, he struggles to tell the truth about his relationship with Malkar and the physical aspects of his MindRape.
** He's almost incapable of expressing gratitude or apologies under any circumstances.
* GambitPileup: ''The Mirador''.
* GangBangers: Most, if not all, of the Mèlusinien packs fall under this description. While a few of the smartest and most ruthless members, such as Kolkhis, may wind up living a more comfortable existence, the gangs mostly are hungry, badly-dressed, and on the verge of killing each other.
* {{Gayngst}}: Gideon feels this for enjoying sex with Felix.
** Kay feels no conflict over enjoying sex with men, but falling in love with men is about the worst thing he can think of.
* {{Geas}} After you cast the obligation de sang or the obligation d’âme on someone, you can essentially cast as many gaesa as you want on them.
* GenreBusting: At first glance the series seems to be fantasy, then a horror trip into a crazy guy's head, then a book about people trying (and failing) to overcome the incredible traumas in their lives. Then it throws in some murder-mystery-conspiracy-politics and a whole assload of psychology, and then it ambles on over to {{Steampunk}} territory.
* GenreBlindness: Suffered by most of the authority figures.
** Except for Felix, the ''entire government'' is genre-blind, most dangerously with regard to the fantôme in the tower at Hermione.
** Even when they find out that [[spoiler: the Mirador was built on a necromantic foundation]], and even though Stephen knows that crypts of the Mirador are full of ghouls, the Cabalines continue to regard even acknowledging the existence of ghosts as heresy. Likewise, Ivo Polydorius [[spoiler: who has been in league with a blood-wizard for at least fourteen years]] can't believe that Vincent actually sees ghosts and considers him insane.
** For some reason, the Caloxan brass actually thinks the ritual (involving blood and a mysterious, ages-old machine of destruction) that takes place in the beginning of ''Corambis'' is a good idea.
* GenreSavvy: Mildmay, mostly acquired through his extremely rough-and-tumble life.
** In order for Malkar to embrace his self-titled "evil wizard for a story" persona, he'd have to be this.
* GentlemanSnarker: Felix especially, but in general it doesn't seem as if the wizards of the Mirador do much more than bicker and gossip amongst themselves and attend parties.
* GentlemanWizard: Nearly all wizards. Having proper magical training is often--though not always--shorthand for class.
* GeometricMagic: An evil pentagram, a protective circle, spirits travelling a maze-- it's all here.
* GetItOverWith: Mildmay, suffering from the Mirador's curse, and not expecting much salvation from the wizards around him.
* GhostCity: Nera and Corybant.
* GlamourFailure: Eusebian wizards such as Lieutenant Vulpes can disguise themselves with magic, but his glamour fails at a soiree, leading to TheReveal that [[spoiler: he's actually Isaac Garamond]].
* GlowingGem: The aquamarines in Felix's rings glow red this during his magic/literal rape by Malkar. Justified by the fact that wizards do, in fact, use gems in magic.
* GoMadFromTheRevelation: Felix in ''Mélusine''.http://summerglauwiki.com/blog/river_bar_gun/2013-06-12-824
* GoodPeopleHaveGoodSex: If you want this trope, you're in the wrong book series.
* GoodScarsEvilScars: The greatest distinguishing characteristic of Mildmay is the large scar that distorts his upper lip and stretches up the entire left side of his face (just missing his eye), which has left that side of his face nearly dead. He also has minor scars on his hands and acquires another serious one on his right leg. Felix's back is a mess of ugly scars, though they're easily hidden under clothing.
* GraveRobbing: "Resurrectionists" have their own [[WeirdTradeUnion guild]] in Mélusine.
* HarmfulToMinors: Pretty much everything that happened to Felix and Mildmay from age three until adulthood.
** [[spoiler: Mehitabel's]] pervy uncle, too.
** Really it's harder to think of something in this series that ''doesn't''.
* HauntedHeadquarters: The Mirador.
* HeadInTheSandManagement: The Cabalines ''will not'' do anything about the [[BloodMagic blood wizards]] who [[TheDon runs]] a district of their own city.
* HeartbrokenBadass: Killing the people that Mildmay and Felix love is a really bad idea.
* HedgeMaze: Part of the religious pageantry associated with the Trials of Heth-Eskaladen, although Felix and Gideon walk one for fun (or at least lack of anything better to do) in Hermione.
* TheHermit: Anchorites.
* HeroOfAnotherStory: Cardenio and Arakhne.
* HeroHarassesHelpers: Felix does this almost to Mildmay throughout ''The Virtu'' and ''The Mirador''.
* HeroicBSOD: Felix when Malkar rapes him and uses his magic to break the Virtu, and again throughout the course of ''Mélusine'' as he bobs in and out of insanity, then ''again'' in ''The Mirador'' when [[spoiler: Gideon]] is killed. Mildmay suffers one in ''The Virtu'' when [[spoiler: Malkar tortures him]], and then again in ''The Mirador'' as he remembers all, exactly, [[spoiler: what was done to him]]. And Kay's arc in ''Corambis'' is basically one BSOD.
* HeterosexualLifePartners: Side characters Simon and Rinaldo.
* HiddenDepths: [[spoiler: Shannon]], and many other characters prominently featured in ''The Mirador''.
* HighClassCallGirl:
** Ginevra would ''never'' use such a vulgar word as "whore" for herself, but she definitely sleeps with men for money.
** Felix becomes the male variant in ''Corambis''.
** Mildmay instantly recognizes Vincent as "a high-class hooker."
* HitmanWithAHeart: Mildmay, who in his teens was arguably the most feared and notorious assassin in the city. Yes, you read that right. He's given it up by the start of the series (he's all of 20), though it keeps coming back to haunt him...
* HoneyTrap: Vulpes, for Felix.
* HonorBeforeReason: Stephen hates people causing trouble in his court. Robert of Hermione pretty much only exists to cause trouble (everything from malicious gossip to heresy); he's a bully and an idiot. But Stephen never so much as reprimands him because he vowed to his late wife, Robert's sister, that he would protect Robert.
* HookerWithAHeartOfGold: Corbie. And, after [[spoiler: Mildmay gets sick and Felix has to prostitute himself to get money for a doctor in ''Corambis'',]] Felix himself. ''Again''. Also Vincent Demabrien, in ''The Mirador''. Averted with Methony (who sold her children into slavery) and young!Felix.
* HugeGuyTinyGirl: Felix and Corbie. Felix is explicitly stated as standing 6'2", taller than anyone in Corambis. Corbie, even in comparison to the slightly shorter (than Marathines) Corambins, is exceptionally small judging by Mildmay calling her a "little tiny gal."
* HypercompetentSidekick: Mildmay becomes this to Felix after [[spoiler: Felix casts the obligation d’âme on him]]. Mehitabel becomes this to both brothers in ''The Virtu'', since she can switch between languages and accents with ease, is familiar with the Grasslands culture, and even knows the layout of the Bastion.
* IControlMyMinionsThrough: Blood wizards and Eusebians rely on a mixture of MindControl and simple fear. [[spoiler: In ''The Virtu'', Felix casts the obligation d’âme on Mildmay, making the latter his slave through MindControl.]] Kolkhis relies on MoreThanMindControl on Mildmay and Septimus, and Malkar uses ''all'' the aforementioned techniques on Felix.
* IDidntMeanToTurnYouOn: When Mildmay fishes Felix out of a river in ''The Virtu'' and a dripping wet Felix clings to him in terror.... well, Felix's lust for Mildmay makes itself known in an, uh, very awkward way.
* IGaveMyWord: Felix is incensed when Mildmay suggests that they break [[spoiler: the conditions of Felix's commuted sentence]] by not going to Corambis.
* IHaveYourWife: The way that Vulpes coerces Mehitabel back into spying for the Bastion.
* IKnowYourTrueName: In ''Mélusine'', Mildmay warns Ginevra not to use her real name when they go to meet Vey Coruscant. At one point she says his name out loud, but at the time she only knew him by an alias.
* ISeeDeadPeople: Felix, when mad. [[spoiler:Vincent Demabrien, and Julian Carey]].
* ImpliedDeathThreat: Felix delivers one to Robert. In the middle of a crowded room, no less.
* ImprobableAge: Mildmay was Mélusine's top assassin in his mid-teens.
* InnocentInnuendo:
** Vincent tells Mildmay that a ghost has requested Felix's help: "He needs to be laid." Mildmay's thought: ''I know Felix will fuck anything in trousers, but even he's gonna have some trouble with that.''
* IncompatibleOrientation: Felix for Mildmay, and that's just besides the whole brother thing. Kay for Gerrard. [[spoiler: Corbie]] for Felix, as hinted at by
** Arakhne towards Felix - poor Felix; gets chased after by women despite being gay and the one guy he does want isn't gay.
* ImpaledWithExtremePrejudice: The emperor of Nera.
* InformedAttractiveness: Mehitabel calls Susan "extremely beautiful" and Shannon "disconcertingly beautiful"; she also compares Felix with Mildmay: "Felix might be breath-stealingly gorgeous, but Mildmay had his own beauty..." Felix describes Vida Eoline as "tall, beautiful, and imperturbably soignee" and desires Shannon's "fragile gold and alabaster beauty." Vincent claims to have been, among the Demabrien brothers, "the youngest and most beautiful of the three." Mildmay calls Kolkhis "gorgeous" and Ginevra "so beautiful it hurt to look at her." As for Gloria Aestia, AKA the Golden Bitch, she nearly pulled off a coup d'etat based largely on her seductive beauty.
* InnocentBlueEyes:
** Shannon. While he can be a nasty person, he is also ''extremely'' sheltered and naive.
** Ginevra. Poor girl never had any sense of how much danger she was in.
* InsistentTerminology: Thaumaturgical architecture is not architectural thaumaturgy! The heart of a labyrinth isn't the same as the center of one!
* IntelligibleUnintelligible: Only people who have known Mildmay for a long time can understand his speech, thanks to the combination of his Lower City accent and mouth-twisting facial scar.
* IronicName: "Felix" means happy. He isn't.
** Mildmay's full name, Mild-may-your-suffering-be-at-the-hands-of-the-wicked. Mildmay arguably suffers more at the hands of the wicked, including his own brother, than any other character. Lampshaded by Mildmay himself who can't figure out if it was a prayer for his own or other people's protection, but either way he doesn't think it worked.
* ItGetsEasier: Subverted, as time goes on, it gets more and more difficult for Mildmay to murder, until he [[spoiler: refuses to do it at all, for any reason. Like most of the things in the books, this reaps terrible consequences]].
* ItsWhatIDo: Felix's explanation to Mildmay on why he consistently treats Mildmay like total crap. See JerkJustifications.
* {{Jerkass}}: Felix, to some degree, though it could be argued to be a JerkassFacade, or at least a JerkWithAHeartOfGold.
* JerkassGods: The White-Eyed Lady (even one of her followers admits that "she is not a kind lover") and the God of the Obscured Sun (naturally; with a name like that, how could he be anything ''but'' a jerkass?) The suspicion that a friend worships Cade-Cholera, a death goddess, scares Mildmay, although he may be less concerned about the goddess herself and more concerned about what [[HumanSacrifice rites]] her followers might perform.
* JerkassHasAPoint: So Glimmering--whose brother Kay killed--is the world's least impartial judge, and he comes across as a manipulative, sexist bigot even when dealing with Vanessa. That doesn't mean ''no one'' should punish Kay for the mass slaughter of prisoners of war, a point that even Kay concedes internally.
* JerkJustifications: Of the third type. To quote Felix, talking to Mildmay about why he isn't able to treat Mildmay any better:
--->'''Felix:''' "It's what I do. It's not ''you''. It's... how I've always been. And it's not going to change. I'd tell you that I'd treat you better, but that'd be a lie."
* JigsawPuzzlePlot: Done in ''The Mirador'', and set-up for in the previous two books.
* JustEatGilligan: Seriously, what does anybody want with a Titan clock? They don't seem to do anything except keep time, which other clocks could do, drive people to suicide and, in one case, [[spoiler: kill a bunch of sheep, keep trains from functioning, and nearly destroy the country where a clock is located]], most of which don't really sound like pluses. The Marathines wised up and destroyed theirs centuries ago, but the Kekropians are hanging on to theirs for some reason. (It proves very useful to Mildmay and Felix, but not in a way the Kekropians wanted.) Edwin Beckett also thinks restarting the Bernathan clock is a good idea, but at least his compatriots have their doubts after it starts killing people.
* JustInTime: Felix, Mildmay, and Corbie's arrival to [[spoiler: Summerdown]].
* KarmaHoudini: Edwin Beckett. Despite abusing a prostitute/wizard to restart a clock that drives people to suicide, then having the nerve to ask said prostitute/wizard to help him keep the clock going, he doesn't suffer anything worse than getting chased out of a town he visits.
* KickTheDog: Nearly everything Malkar ever does falls under this trope, but most other characters get a turn, and Felix gets several.
* KillerRobot: The Automaton and Titan Clocks, [[spoiler: including the extra-big one under Summerdown]].
* KnifeNut: Mildmay is an expert knife-fighter, specifically with [[ButterflyKnife butterfly knives]]. He flips them absentmindedly when upset or annoyed or just ''thinking''.
* KnowledgeBroker: Mildmay's former Keeper, Kolkhis. Elvire, the madame of the Goosegirl's Palace, too.
* KudzuPlot: Done very well in ''The Mirador''. The other books, while still complicated, aren't quite so complex.
* LampshadeHanging: Mildmay frequently mocks many conventional fantasy tropes and cliches: "Duels are just fancy knife-fights and just as fucking stupid." "I didn't know there were rooms like this outside of stories about evil wizards."
** Mehitabel also gets in on the action, telling Felix his life is "like something out of a roman".
* LastFertileRegion: Bercromius Park.
* LastNameBasis: No one uses Corbie's first name. Probably because it leads to being kicked in the shin.
* LeakingCanOfEvil: Felix can feel the noirance coming off Porphyria Levant's impounded rings.
* LeanAndMean: Kolkhis, as described by Mildmay.
* LeaningOnTheFourthWall: In ''The Virtu'' when Mavortian is teaching Felix how to read the Sibylline, the Knight of Swords (Mildmay) and the Sibyl of Swords (Felix) keep reappearing. Mavortian's comment? "You and he are at the heart of the matter, as you have been all along." The Sibylline knows and is telling them who the main characters of the story are. But it's a fairly natural conversation, because Mildmay's observed for a long time now that Mavortian is convinced that he's the protagonist of a great and terrible romance.
* LegitimateBusinessmensSocialClub: Byron Rosemary's bar. Sure it's the place to discuss heresy, smuggling, and possibly assassination, but they keep the floor polished.
* LeyLine: Mentioned by a Tibernian wizard, with regard to the tower in Hermione, in ''The Mirador''.
* LieBackAndThinkOfEngland: Played straight with Mehitabel and Stephen: he's rather boring in bed, and she's only doing it [[spoiler: to gain intel for Kekropia]]: "I spread myself on the bed and tried not to think of [[SexGod Mildmay]]." However, he eventually recognizes his ineptitude and asks her to teach him how to please a lover.
* LighterAndSofter: ''Corambis'', while still very dark, is a freaking carnival ride compared to the other books in the series.
* LimitedWardrobe: Mildmay never had really high-class clothes, but after he returns to Mélusine, he dresses all in black except for a white shirt [[spoiler: to match his role as Felix's esclavin]].
* LivingLabyrinth: The Mirador may have spontaneously changed its architecture, and certainly it produces spooky, improbable meetings in its hallways.
* LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters: There are at least 50 characters who play a significant part in the plot and that's just from the first two books. Confusing is an understatement.
* LockedInTheDungeon: Felix and Mildmay. A lot.
* LongDeadBadass: Porphyria Levant and Loel Fairweather have all been dead for over a century, but they still scare the stuffing out of people.
* LongLostSibling: Invoked when Mildmay and Felix meet and realize that they share the same mother.
* TheLostWoods: The Forest of Nauleverer.
* LoverAndBeloved: Deconstructed with Malkar and Felix. The UnfortunateImplications are really all explicit in Felix's world, so much so that he has a paranoia regarding the sexual abuse of apprentices.
* LysistrataGambit: A group of prostitutes save Felix from a gang beating by reminding the thugs that they will raise their prices if they find out potential customers are being brutalized on their turf. It works.
* MageTower: There are a lot of these, notably the Mirador, the Bastion, and the tower in Hermione.
* AMagicContractComesWithAKiss: When Felix puts the binding-by-forms on Mildmay, it's sealed with a kiss—which he doesn't warn Mildmay about first. When Mildmay reacts with shock, Felix just tells him he would probably prefer it to the [[IsThatWhatTheyreCallingItNow alternative]].
* MagicIsAMonsterMagnet: Pretty much every ghost, semi-ghost, evil wizard, or death god on the continent is obsessed with Felix.
* TheMagocracy: Marathat's government is comprised largely of the Cabal, a group of wizards who receive the titles of "Lord" and "Lady" upon initiation.
* MaliciousSlander: Shannon drops hints that Felix and Mildmay are engaging in incest-- a rumor that Felix finds "all the worse" because Felix [[spoiler: actually wishes it were true]].
* MamasBabyPapasMaybe: It's entirely possible that Shannon isn't biologically a Teverius, but he's legally one and the family's sticking to that. [[spoiler: Augusta Fenris's conversation with Luther Littleman seems to confirm that Shannon is ''not'' of "the blood of the Teverii.]]
** Also, while Felix and Mildmay are certain that they have the same mother, Mildmay firmly states that there's no possible way they share a father. Justified since Methony was a whore and they were born six years apart [[spoiler: on different continents]].
* AManIsNotAVirgin: Strongly implied to be averted with Thamuris and Julian. Otherwise played straight by most of the cast.
* ManipulativeBastard: Malkar and Kolkhis both. And Felix counts, too. And Mehitabel. And Mavortian. And Lorenzo, probably. And Shannon. And...
* MarkOfShame: Felix's scarred back reminds him of his time as a kept-thief, and the scar in his eyebrow is a reminder of his experience being ShamedByAMob. He finds both intensely humiliating.
* MartialPacifist: Mildmay.
* MasterApprenticeChain: Corbie's will stretch back to Porphyria Levant. On another branch it goes back to one Rosindy Clark who taught Iosephinus Pompey. The former is what provides conflict and drama. The latter is what makes teaching her seem possible.
* MasterOfDisguise: Mehitabel, justified since she grew up in an acting troupe and later worked as a spy.
* MauveShirt: Gerrard Hume.
* MeaningfulName: Cressida is a suiting codename for Mehitabel...
* MechanicalMonster: The Automaton of Corybant.
* MeltingPotNomenclature: Marathine nomenclature includes English, French, Italian, and Latin.
* MentalWorld: Felix's construct Mélusine, and the Khloidanikos.
* MentorOccupationalHazard: How different would this story have been if Iosephinus Pompey hadn't [[DeathByOriginStory died before it began]]? We'll never know, but it's a fair guess that the (anti)heroes might have been a lot less miserable.
* MindRape: Though there's some actual rape involved, too. Sometimes at the same time. Welcome to ''The Doctrine of Labyrinths''.
* MindScrew: Many of Felix' and Mildmay's dreams.
* MiseryBuildsCharacter: Played with. In general, the horrible things that happen to our leads only make them paranoid, isolated, and/or vindictive. However, when they go through horrible things ''together'', the demonstration of loyalty may make them closer.
* MistakenForProstitute: Happens to Felix in ''Corambis'', due to the fact that respectable locals don't wear bright clothes. An odd case in that Felix actually ''does'' have a long history as a prostitute, but isn't one at the time.
* ModestRoyalty: Stephen and Victoria, who detest pomp in all its forms. Shannon doesn't share this trait.
* TheMole: There are a few. First, Felix turns out to be Malkar's mole in the Mirador, although it's unusual in that Felix didn't actually know he was a mole. Later, Vulpes appears, and not only becomes a mole himself but also [[IHaveYourWife coerces]] Mehitabel into becoming one too. Thaddeus thinks Gideon is a mole, too, but he's probably wrong.
* MoreThanMindControl: worked on Felix by the BigBad Malkar and on Mildmay by Kolkhis, they spend most of the series trying to escape it and rebuild themselves, even after the people who'd been controlling them weren't a regular fixture in their lives (outside of their own constant thoughts, memories and nightmares).
* MuggingTheMonster: The dim-witted crooks who attack Mildmay and Septimus.
* MundaneMadeAwesome: Mildmay's absolutely epic line about helping the cook on the ''Morskaiakrov'': "When it comes to scrubbing potatoes, I don't fuck around."
* MyGodWhatHaveIDone:
** Felix could be the poster boy for this trope. He experiences self-loathing horror after he finds himself contemplating sex with a young prostitute, after he returns to Malkar, and on many, many other occasions. In particular, he struggles with the knowledge that he [[spoiler: forced Mildmay to kill again, and sent him straight into Malkar's tortuous clutches]]. He says it himself: "What I did to him could not possibly be described as anything other than rape." Interestingly enough, though, he still [[spoiler: orders Mildmay to kill ''again'']] later. Oh, ''Felix''. Of course, it doesn't end there--he's also haunted by his negligent role in [[spoiler: Gideon's death]] and his deliberate choice to [[spoiler: drive Isaac to suicidal insanity]].
** This is how Mildmay reacts to killing anybody, deserving or not.
* MyNameIsInigoMontoya: Malkar's [[TheReveal startling]] introduction to Mildmay.
* MysteriousNote: Felix gets one from Vey Coruscant in ''The Mirador''.
* MysteriousPast: We never told what, exactly, happened to many characters that made them so traumatized and/or evil.
* MysticalPlague: Caused by [[spoiler: the machine under Summerdown]] in ''Corambis''.
* NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast: Malkar again, and any other names he's going by.
** And Kolkhis and Vey Coruscant.
** Louis Goliath, the spymaster of the Bastion.
** And General Mercator.
** And the White-Eyed Lady.
** Within the Lower City, Mildmay the Fox. Yes, even after he's been [[spoiler: crippled and bound to a wizard of the Mirador]].
* {{Necromancer}}: Augusta Fenris. Felix also dabbles in the art, although he usually just does it to put some poor soul to rest.
** While this flavor of magic is forbidden in Mélusine, Mildmay notes that there is a furtive but thriving group of necromancers in the Scaffelgreen district.
* NoAntagonist: [[spoiler: Unlike the previous three books, ''Corambis'' doesn't have a BigBad. The big threat of the book the engine under Summerdown that Gerrard partially awoke, which is only trying to do what it was made to do and get enough energy to fire.]]
* NoTellMotel: The good folks of ''The Doctrine of Labyrinths'' spend a ''lot'' of time in these. Mildmay calls the Spinning Goblin "about halfway between a hotel and a whorehouse," and even specifically notes that the clerk won't ask what you're doing there.
* NoodleIncident: Played for drama. Gideon has some kind of leverage over Thaddeus, but he never tells anybody what it is.
* NotSoDifferent: Felix becomes convinced that this is the case with him and Malkar, particularly in regards to how he treats Mildmay.
* NotSoOmniscientCouncilOfBickering: While some Cabalines, such as Giancarlo of Novalucrezia, take their responsibilities [[ReasonableAuthorityFigure seriously]] enough, most are too bogged down in personal disputes, persecuting heretics, and enhancing their own power to care about taking down the city's [[TheDon crime lords]] or reforming discredited laws.
* ObliviouslyEvil: The Cabalines, when hunting heretics.
* OccultBlueEyes:
** Mavortian von Heber, fitting his training in divination.
** The tattoos worn by all Cabaline wizards include OccultBlueEyes on the palms.
* OhCrap: Happens to often to recount all the instances, but a few stand out:
** Felix has this reaction on realizing that Malkar plans not just to rape him, but to use him to destroy the Virtu.
** Mildmay, when he realizes that Felix is actually going to [[spoiler: force him to murder Vey Coruscant]] and again when he finds himself captured by [[spoiler: Brinvillier Strych]].
** Mehitabel, when Vulpes reveals that he knows her code name.
* OhMyGods: Powers! Kethe! God and the thirteen crimson devils!
* OldMaster: Iosephinus Pompey. Despite being "terrifically old," he took Felix as an apprentice after the latter broke away from Malkar and imparted crucial knowledge about forbidden magic.
* TheOphelia: A definite gender inversion in Felix in ''Mélusine''. The trope gets played with in Vincent (''The Mirador'')-- people ''think Vincent'' is crazy, what with all that getting distracted by ghosts, but he isn't. Interestingly, both characters have delicate physical builds and are very pretty despite being male.
* OurGhostsAreDifferent
* OurGhoulsAreCreepier
* OurMermaidsAreDifferent: The Kalliphorne.
* OverlyLongName: Once again, Mild-may-your-sufferings-be-at-the-hands-of-the-wicked. No wonder his Keeper insisted on shortening it.
** Also, the prostitute in Pharaohlight that Mildmay mentions in passing: Fly-from-fornication-and-blasphemy.
--->"She went by Butterfly, which went down a whole lot better with her tricks.
* ParentalAbandonment: Felix and Mildmay's mother, Methony, sold them at the ages of four and three, respectively, to their incredibly sadistic Keepers. They never find out who their fathers even were. Not that they care.
* ParentalIncest: [[spoiler: Diokletian]] lusts after Felix because Felix reminds him of the woman he loved, who happens to have been Felix's mother. Which means there's a definite chance of [[spoiler: Diokletian]] being Felix's father. Oddly, this bothers [[spoiler: Diokletian]] a lot more than it bothers Felix, who doesn't seem to have an issue with incest.
** Kolkhis and Mildmay, though they are not blood related, considering that Kolkhis raised him from the time he was three, and began sleeping with him when he was fourteen.
* ParentalNeglect: Kay had a much less traumatic childhood. His mother simply wasn't interested in actually being a mother.
* PartingWordsRegret: The last thing Felix said to his friend Sherbourne Foss was, "But if you want the truth, you bore me, darling." He never got to apologize.
** Felix and [[spoiler: Gideon]]'s final conversation was a quarrel, much to Felix's regret.
* ThePenance: Inflicted on Kay by Glimmering (although Kay had confessed to a priest), early in ''Corambis''.
* PeopleOfHairColor: Red hair is common among Troians and Merrows, present among Corambins, but so freakish as to risk a BurnTheWitch incident in Mélusine.
* PermaShave: Troians do not grow beards. Due to their Troian ancestry, neither do Mildmay and Felix.
* PerpetualPoverty: ''The Mirador'' is the only book of the series where Felix and Mildmay don't have to worry about money at all.
* PersonaNonGrata: Mildmay and Felix, not only in ''Mélusine'', but also at the end of ''The Mirador'' and in ''Corambis''.
* PetTheDog: One of few indications we get that Kolkhis isn't a ''complete'' monster is that after the Fire she made flower crowns for all of her surviving kept-thieves.
* PlaceWorseThanDeath: Felix apparently regards St. Crellifer's as worse than prison, at least, and [[spoiler: Isaac]] throws himself out of its third-story window.
* ThePlan: The plot to put [[spoiler: Shannon Teverius on the throne]], as formulated by [[spoiler: Vey Coruscant, Kolkhis, and a spattering of the Polydorii]].
* PlatonicProstitution: When they first meet, Felix pays Corbie a considerable amount of money to learn about Bernatha. Corbie is stunned.
* ThePlotReaper: Claims heavy casualties, including [[spoiler: Sherbourne Foss, Gideon Thraxios, and Gerrard Hume]].
* PoliceBrutality: When the Dogs receive a tip that [[spoiler: Mildmay is staying with Margot's pack]], they use it as an excuse to clean out (read: haul off or outright murder) a group of social undesirables, including small children.
* PostRapeTaunt: Malkar calls Felix "a cheap whore."
* PowerGlows: The Virtu.
* PowerNullifier: Big surprise: it's called the "Nullity." It makes Felix a little uneasy, but eventually he finds a use for it.
* ThePowerOfBlood: Blood itself is very powerful, and blood wizardry is one of the ways for a wizard to cast a spell that requires more power than he or she can muster alone.
* PowerTattoo: Cabaline wizards are tattooed from elbow to knuckle to show they have magic and status.
* PragmaticVillainy: Louis Goliath [[MindRape mind-rapes]] minions for information, [[QuestionableConsent sexually exploited]] at least one underling, and [[AndIMustScream locked]] a would-be runaway in an oubliette with his thumbs [[ColdBloodedTorture cut off]]. However, he always keeps his eye on the goal and "never does anything out of spite." His sheer pragmatism intimidates Mehitabel.
* PredecessorVillain: Porphyria Levant and Brinvillier Strych. [[spoiler: Strych is actually a case of HijackedByGanon-- he's also Malkar Gennadion.]]
* PresentTenseNarrative: Most of the story is told in past tense, but there are notable shifts into the present to signify a shift in reality. All dreams are told in present tense. If it's not a dream though, something is horribly wrong.
** Felix is insane through most of Mélusine, but even before getting into details, the reader can tell when he's "topside" because he's using past tense vs. "down the well" because he's using present tense. [[spoiler: After he is raped in ''Corambis'' there is a brief switch to present tense to show just how badly the events are hurting him.]]
** [[spoiler: When Mildmay is tortured nearly to insanity in ''The Virtu'', he too narrates in present tense.]]
* PrideBeforeAFall: The very first chapter of ''Mélusine'' sees Felix, supposedly the gentleman son of an exiled noblewoman, revealed as a lowborn ex-prostitute. Overlaps with BreakTheHaughty, since Felix's [[HumiliationConga]] long string of misfortunes continues throughout all four books.
* ThePrimaDonna: Susan Dravanya, lead actress of the Empyrean and Mehitabel's "personal bete noire".
* ProfessionalKiller: Mildmay is a deconstruction of this. He's neither well-dressed, nor educated, and all the money he got for his jobs never touched his hands. He ''was'' the most terrifying and capable assassin in the city, though, and he takes excruciating pains to keep that fact under wraps, because he's ashamed, and because it's dangerous to let that information float around in the breeze.
* ProperlyParanoid: A variant. Mildmay refuses to allow strangers to walk behind him for fear of being stabbed in the back, gets jumpy when he can't see everyone around him, surveys each room he enters for escapes and weapons, and has to keep himself from attacking people who sneak up on him. Felix ''hates'' it when people walk on the side of him that has his blind eye.
* TheProphecy: Thamuris delivers it early in ''The Virtu'':
--->"Love and betrayal, the gorgon and the wheel. The dead tree will not shelter you, and the dead will not stay dead. Though you do not seek revenge, it will find you all the same."
* TheProudElite: Most of the inhabitants of the Mirador.
* ProudMerchantRace: Bernathans. Felix notes that bragging about their MerchantCity seems to be a kind of disease.
* PsychicDreamsForEveryone
* PsychicLink: Caused by the obligation de sang or the obligation d’âme.
* PubertySuperpower: Magic tends to develop at some point during adolescence, sometimes as late as nineteen. Felix was fourteen when his power came in.
* TheQuest: Mainly averted in ''Mélusine'', as the major goals are to survive and stay or become sane; in ''The Virtu'', repairing, well, ''The Virtu''; in ''The Mirador'', overcoming a [[spoiler: coup to overthrow Lord Stephen]]; in ''Corambis'', stopping [[spoiler: the machine under Summerdown]]. While most of the books feature a quest that would be the ultimate plot in typical fantasy, the series is somewhat unusual in its degree of focus on the characters outside of just questing.
* QuestionableConsent: A recurring trope in this series. Is the first-chapter sex between Malkar and Felix (who deliberately drinks drugged wine beforehand) rape or just kinky? Does Felix rape Vulpes by having sex with him after discovering that the Bastion has coerced him into his role as a honey trap (which Felix isn't supposed to know)? How meaningful is a prostitute's consent to Mildmay, given that she's likely indentured to the madam?
* TheQuietOne: Mildmay. In fact, whenever he says more than around two sentences in a row, there's a 50-50 chance that the character he's speaking to is going to make a (usually snide) comment about his sudden loquaciousness.
* RaisedByGrandparents: Corbie was raised by her grandmother, who is implied to have died at some point before she meets Felix and Mildmay. Her parents remain shrouded in mystery as she [[MissingMom never gives any information about her mother]], and all she knows about her father is that [[DisappearedDad he was probably a Ygressine sailor]] because she looks almost exactly like the Ygressine people about town.
* RapeAsBackstory: Felix, Mildmay, and Mehitabel, in different ways.
* RapeAsDrama: There is at least one rape or implied rape every book. Most of the criticism for the series comes down to how this trope is handled.
* RapeLeadsToInsanity: Subverted. Felix goes mad after suffering a combination of MindRape and, well, the other kind in ''Mélusine'', leading Mildmay to worry about a relapse following Felix's gang rape by [[spoiler: Edwin Beckett's followers]] in ''Corambis''. Since mind rape wasn't involved this time, Felix is able to assure him he won't go crazy again.
* [[ViewersAreGeniuses Readers Are Geniuses]]
* ReallyGetsAround:
** Felix. Gideon comments (accurately) that Felix doesn't even know the names of all the men he's slept with in the past two months.
** Mehitabel also qualifies. Aside from [[spoiler: Lord Stephen]], who she sleeps with out of necessity, her list of lovers also includes [[spoiler: Mildmay, Hallam Bellamy, Jeremias Tantony, Drin Baillie, Lionel Verlalius, Barnabas and Harcourt Malanius, Arthur Lelius, Rudolph Novadius, Antony Lemerius, Ashley Demellius, and Peter Jessamyn]]. That we know of.
* ReasonableAuthorityFigure: Few and far between, but Mildmay thinks Giancarlo of Novalucrezia, the head of the Curia, is "as fair as a hocus can be," and Virtuer John Ashmead's decisions all seem basically sensible.
* TheReasonYouSuckSpeech: Mildmay, somewhat [[StoicWoobie uncharacteristially]], delivers it to Felix after a miserable party in ''The Mirador''.
* {{Red Headed Hero}}es: Felix and Mildmay.
* RedLightDistrict: Pharaohlight.
* ReligionIsMagic: Popular perception separates them (Mélusine's poor are okay with some priests but hate wizards), but the rituals performed by Felix at Nera and in the crypt of the Cordelii indicate they are, at least, closely related. Nonetheless, he remains unattached to any particular religion throughout the series.
* RetiredOutlaw: Mildmay. It keeps creeping up on him despite his best efforts, though.
* TheReveal: [[spoiler: Hugo Chandler!]]
** [[spoiler: Malkar is Brinvillier Strych. ]]
* RingOfPower: Cabalines wear an expensive ring on each finger, and use the rings to focus their magic. Long use of potent magic can infuse them with its essence, leading to a serious MineralMacGuffin issue for Felix in ''The Mirador'' and ''Corambis''.
* RRatedOpening: The one-and-a-half page drops an F-bomb and mentions [[YourCheatingHeart adultery]], [[RapeAsDrama rape]], MindRape, and [[DrivenToSuicide suicide]].
* SacrificialLion: [[spoiler: Gideon, who was a major figure in ''Mélusine'', ''The Virtu'', and ''The Mirador''. His death continues to haunt Felix well into ''Corambis''.]]
* SadisticChoice: If Felix is "very good" to Malkar, Malkar may not force him to watch [[spoiler: as he tortures Mildmay to death]]. On the other hand, if Felix ''is'' very good to him, it'll likely result in the destruction of an entire country.
* SafeSaneAndConsensual: Ideally, this is the sex that's supposed to happen between tarquins and martyrs (or, in Corambis, flames and shadows). Unfortunately, Felix has a hard time adhering to the rules. Some people, such as Malkar and [[spoiler: Edwin Beckett]], don't even bother trying.
* {{Safecracking}}: Mildmay can do it, but suggests that he's not one of Mélusine's fastest safecrackers.
* SarcasmBlind: Vulpes. Mehitabel enjoys this quality in him.
* ScarSurvey: Prior to the series, Felix has gotten one from Shannon; in ''Mélusine'', he gets it from Mildmay.
* ScarpiaUltimatum: Malkar delivers one to Felix.
* SceneryPorn: Well, WorldBuilding Porn. Each city and country that Mildmay and Felix visit is very different and lovingly detailed.
* ScrewTheRulesIHaveConnections: Robert of Hermione. Of course, [[spoiler: this would have worked better if he hadn't plotted to ''kill'' his main connection]].
* ScrewTheRulesIHaveMoney: Or magic. Works either way, more or less, especially when considering that only rich wizards can afford good training.
* ScrewTheRulesImDoingWhatsRight: Felix does this several times, breaking from law and orthodoxy by [[spoiler: saving a repentant assassin from the Mirador's curse, putting the ghouls in the Mirador's lower levels to rest, and using blood to lay a ghost]].
* SecretCircleOfSecrets: The cult of the White-Eyed Lady. Initiates don't even want to ''guess'' who their fellow initiates are. However, this subverts some expectations of such secret circles-- [[spoiler: Gideon]] belongs to it, and isn't evil. While blood rites were probably a part of the cult in the past, the rituals are now symbolic.
* SensitiveGuyAndManlyMan: Again, one could categorize Felix and Mildmay into these roles, being a genius bookworm aristocrat and a street-smart ex-assassin respectively, but on a closer look Mildmay is more sensitive and kind-hearted as opposed to Felix's ruthless cruelty.
* SesquipedalianLoquaciousness: Felix. Dear God, Feeeeliiiiiiix. And most other wizards, to an extent. Every pages, Felix would use some new, incredibly obscure word.
* SexEqualsLove: Averted. It's rare for there to be any loving sex in the series. Interestingly, though, Felix seems to believe that people have to have sex with him in order to love him, which Mildmay calls him on.
--->Mildmay: "I ain't stupid enough to think sex has to mean something, and most of the time, it don't."
* SexIsEvilAndIAmHorny: A massive problem for Gideon, and to some extent for Felix as well: at an S&M sex club, he observes that "in some sense we were all predators. As we were all prey."
* SexIsViolence: Felix and Mildmay have serious run into serious problems with this trope.
* SexSlave: Definitely young!Felix and Vincent; young!Mildmay is a borderline case, since sex wasn't his initial (or perhaps primary) use for Kolkhis, but he certainly didn't have much say in the matter. By implication, the Kekropian army treats young draftees this way as well.
* SexyShirtSwitch: Felix wears [[spoiler: Isaac]]'s nightshirt when Mehitabel surprises them during an intimate moment.
* ShamedByAMob: Felix, a couple of times, in Mélusine. ComeToGawk is also an issue for him.
* ShamefulStrip: Felix faces this at the hands of Malkar and, later, Brother Orphelin.
* ShelteredAristocrat: Sheltered, rich, royal Shannon.
* ShoutOut: The author seems to love referencing literary works for geographical names (and occasionally characters). This can be ''extremely'' disorienting for some people wondering when the significance of places called [[TheFaerieQueene Britomart]] and [[Literature/TheEpicOfGilgamesh Gilgamesh]] will kick in. (Hint: Never.)
** The beginning line of ''The Mirador'' is a shout-out to Charles Dickens.
* SiblingYinYang: Felix is beautiful, arrogant, well-educated, and useless at anything that's not academia. Mildmay is scarred, has serious confidence issues, looks and talks like a thug, and academically stunted but terribly world-wise and clever.
** Stephen Teverius and Vicky Teveria are cold, ruthless, and savvy in the ways of the court, while their younger half-brother Shannon is spoilt, naive and hotheaded.
** Mavortian and Bernard. The former is an aristocratic wizard with crippled, nearly useless, legs. The latter is his (strongly implied to be) lowborn half-brother and hired muscle.
* SignificantGreenEyedRedhead: Mildmay. He is in fact the only person in the story with this coloring.
* SilentBob: Mildmay.
* SilentPartner: Gideon.
* SimpleYetOpulent: Mehitabel's preferred style of dress.
* SingleIssuePsychology: Painfully, painfully averted. Life in general would be so much easier for Mildmay and Felix if all their defense mechanisms and dysfunctions could be traced back to one thing, but they can't.
* SirSwearsALot: Mildmay.
* SkepticismFailure: The Cabalines experience this at Hermione, barely in time to avoid getting [[TooDumbToLive killed]]. Of course, then they act as if it'd never happened.
* SlidingScaleofIdealismVsCynicism: The series falls pretty evenly down the middle of the scale; despite the horrific abuses that happen to the characters, it still seems to believe that people can heal, and do good things if they put their mind to it.
* SlutShaming:
** A rare male example--people seem to enjoy humiliating Felix by talking about his past as a prostitute. Malkar and [[spoiler: one of his rapists at the Clock of the Eclipses]] even call him a "slut"... either right before or right after having sex with him.
** Mehitabel gets fired from her job as a governess for fornication and later observes that gentlewomen view actresses as "little better than prostitutes." Even [[HoneyTrap Vulpes]] sneers at her "wide "acquaintance among the court" before telling her to "[g]o trawling."
* SmallTownBoredom: According to the Duke of Murtagh, Vanessa's tastes are far too cosmopolitan for Grimglass, and she would rather spend her time in Esmer.
* SmartPeopleKnowLatin: Philosophers and wizards use Latin words a lot, although the language is never mentioned; given the apparent similarities between [[FantasyCounterpartCulture Cymellune]] and the Roman Empire, it seems likely that our {{Verse}}'s Latin is this series' Cymellunar.
* SmarterThanYouLook: Mildmay is a shining example of this. People tend to think that because his speech is slurred, his mind is slow. In fact he's a better judge of character than just about everybody and is usually well aware of what people are trying to do when they think they're being clever.
* SmugSnake: Robert of Hermione. Even other [[AristocratsAreEvil self-centered nobles]] find his combination of arrogance, ambition, and sheer incompetence repulsive.
* SnarkToSnarkCombat: Between Felix and Mehitabel and Felix and Shannon.
* SoiledCityOnAHill: At some point in the past, a general of the Bastion decided Lamia was too sinful to exist, so he had it torn to the ground. Of course, the sinners came back, only now they live in tents.
* SpellBook: De Charon's ''Principia Caeli'' and Ynge's ''Influence of the Moon''.
* SpotOfTea: The Corambins, in keeping with the fourth book's {{Steampunk}} feel.
* SquishyWizard: Pretty much every wizard in the story, in keeping with the image of magic as something akin to a scholarly field. Felix's physical awkwardness is often mentioned-- he's a useless fighter without magic-- but he's actually less clumsy than some of his colleagues, who ride horses "with all the grace of so many sacks of potatoes." Mehitabel even notes that he's "a surprisingly good dancer, as long as you avoided the critical error of mentioning it."
* StarScraper: The Mirador and the Bastion.
* STDImmunity: All the narrators have apparently unprotected sex with [[ReallyGetsAround more people]] than they could probably count, and nobody mentions the possibility of catching diseases this way.
* StepfordSmiler: Felix, Mildmay, and Mehitabel all ''seem'' good enough to get by on when viewed from the outside. Inside is a
* StraightGay: Kay. Murtagh. Heck, most of the gay characters besides Felix and Shannon.
* StudentTeacherRomance: Mildmay believes Corbie has a huge crush on Felix[[spoiler: and the reason Corbie sleeps with him is because Felix is gay and thus off limits.]] Felix both loves and hates Malkar, a relationship that ends badly for everyone involved.
* StuffBlowingUp: At the climaxes of ''The Virtu'' and ''Corambis''.
* StupidSexyFlanders: Briefly experienced by Mildmay when a man gives him a surprise kiss in ''The Virtu''.
* SunkenCity: Cymellune of the Waters.
* SupernaturalGoldEyes: People in Mélusine associate Felix with the legendary Sunlings because of his red hair and yellow left eye. And, guess what: Wizard. Freakishly powerful wizard.
* SurrealSymbolicHeads: While insane, Felix sees Malkar's as a dog's, Stephen's as a bear's, Thaddeus's as a raven's, and Mildmay's as a fox's. Interestingly enough, Felix considers both Malkar and Mildmay to be "dogs" in the symbolism of the Sibylline.
* TheSvengali: Malkar, to Felix.
* SwampsAreEvil: It's full of poisonous plants, alligators, and dumped bodies, but all those pale in comparison to the ghouls that inhabit St. Grandin's Swamp and will try to kill you ForTheEvulz.
* SympatheticMurderer: Mildmay, who took up the career under the direction of his creepy mother/lover figure when he was fourteen years old.
* TalkAboutTheWeather: Felix does this with a boatman in Bernatha (''Corambis''), but less for small talk than because he genuinely wonders if the weather in Bernatha is often this miserable. As it turns out, it's usually worse.
* TalkingInYourDreams: Felix meets with Thamuris and Diokletian in his dreams through magic-- oneiromancy. Sendings, meanwhile, are a related but more malevolent version of this.
* ATasteOfTheLash: Felix has permanent scars as a result of being whipped as a child; he also gets off on flogging sexual partners to the point of bleeding. Mildmay is covered in whip-weals when [[spoiler: Malkar Sends an image of him as a captive to Felix]].
* {{Tearjerker}}: Let's see, shall we? Basically anything involving Felix or Mildmay's childhoods, but especially Joline and Zephyr (who, as Mildmay says, "never did anything to hurt nobody"), and [[spoiler: Gideon's]] death and Felix's reaction. Also [[spoiler: everything with Mehitabel and Hallam]], and the implication that [[spoiler: Gerrard never loved Kay and may have mocked him with his wife]].
* TechnicallyASmile: You really, really don't want Mildmay to smile.
* TechnicalPacifist: Mildmay. [[spoiler: As of the ending of ''The Mirador'', Mildmay has decided not to kill anymore, but that sure as hell won't stop him from kicking your ass six ways to Dimanche, especially if you even think about harming Felix.]] But no killing!
* TermsOfEndangerment: Malkar taunts Felix with such nicknames as "my darling child", and Felix likes to call people who annoy him "darling." Usually before insulting them or even threatening them with ghastly death.
* ThereAreNoTherapists: Justified in that the story takes place in societies with roughly Renaissance/Industrial Revolution-era technology and societal mores; therapists just plain don't exist. And it's not like our boys open up to anyone anyway; it's nearly a miracle they can admit their plethora of issues to ''themselves''.
* ThereIsOnlyOneBed: First, Felix and Thaddeus have to bed down together in ''Mélusine''; later, Felix and Mildmay spend much of ''The Virtu'' and ''Corambis'' dealing with this trope.
* ThievesGuild: Subverted and averted directly by Mildmay telling Simon, "There ain't no assassin's guild. Never has been."
** Averted also with the kept thief system, which is not at all organized. There are people you don't want to piss off, but it's not because there's a hierarchy.
* ThisIsReality: Mildmay comments on how some people, like Mavortian, constantly seem to "think they are in a story" when in reality, nothing ever works like it does in the stories.
* ThrownDownAWell: Felix in the Verpine; Hallam in whatever impregnable jail Louis Goliath threw him in in the Bastion.
* TinyGuyHugeGirl: Kay is an exceptionally short man, taking after his Usaran mother. The newspapers even describe him as "dwarfish." Vanessa is a few inches taller than Mildmay, making her very tall for a Corambin woman.
* TitleDrop: The title of the series is the (translated) title of a book ''in'' the books.
* TokenMinority[=/=]TokenWhite: Played with. Most people in Marathat and the surrounding countries are brown-skinned, dark-eyed and dark-haired, meaning Felix and Mildmay with their pale complexions and red hair look exceedingly odd and out of place. Shannon being blue-eyed and blond also stands out.
* TookALevelInKindness: Shannon in ''The Mirador'', Felix in ''Corambis''.
* TrappedInVillainy: Pretty much anybody who's ever worked for the Bastion. As Mehitabel says, "Once you give your soul to the Bastion, you never get it back."
* TraumaCongaLine: The whole series is basically a trauma conga line for most of its characters. Felix, Mildmay, Mehitabel, Kay, Gideon, and Vincent all run afoul of this trope.
* TrialOfTheMysticalJury: Felix faces this twice.
* TroublingUnchildlikeBehavior: The kept-thieves exemplify this, being directly modeled after Fagin's whole setup in ''Literature/OliverTwist''. Pack kids don't tend to do much better.
* TruceZone: Even gangsters don't fight in Mélusine's baths because, as Mildmay said, "you [...] don't want someone getting knifed in the water with you and your soap." The entire "free city" of Bernatha perceives itself as beyond the petty (and bad-for-business) wars of Corambis, Caloxa, and Ygres.
* TryingNotToCry: Mildmay after [[spoiler: breaking up with Mehitabel]] and Mehitabel after [[spoiler: Felix and Mildmay]] get exiled.
* TwoFaced: Apart from his scar, Mildmay's face strongly resembles beautiful Felix's. Of course, the scar down the left side of Mildmay's face is serious enough to keep him from properly moving his face to eat, speak, or smile.
* TykeBomb: Mildmay's skills as a cat burglar were trained into him starting around the age of three when his Keeper bought him from his mother. His training as an assassin started when he was fourteen, and as an older teenager Mildmay the Fox was known through the lower city as one of the most skilled and dangerous killers around (two different and powerful wizards, three men in three different districts in three different ways in one night) and he was still entirely subservient to his keeper, Kolkhis, until he ran away at seventeen.
* UnEqualRites: There are different schools of magic in each country, so a lot of the rivalry is tied up with politics. Most wizards don't study other schools of magic for this reason, even though they would probably be capable of more than one type of spells. Also, wizards visiting another country have to be very careful what they do—for example, in Mélusine it's considered heresy to cast a spell of any kind on a person.
* UncannyFamilyResemblance:
** Felix and Mildmay look shockingly like each other and Methony, and shockingly unlike everyone else.
** Shannon looks exactly like a male version of his mother, which causes no small amount of awkwardness.
** Played with in the case of Mildmay and Kolkhis-- as long as Mildmay dyed his hair, people assumed they were related because of their striking resemblance, but they presumably aren't. [[note]] We don't know the identity of either character's father, but Mélusine is a big enough city to make such a coincidence unlikely [[/note]] The incestuous implications unnerve him.
* UnderCity: The Arcane.
* UndignifiedDeath: Mildmay had no trouble strangling Bartimus Cawley to death because he was "fat and stupid."
* UnnecessarilyLargeInterior: The Hall of the Chimeras has a 70-foot vault.
* UnreliableNarrator: Mildmay and Felix both tell the truth as they see it, but that doesn't mean their truths are the same. This phenomenon is actually lampshaded in ''Corambis''.
** For example, in the first book, Mildmay doesn't comment on what he thinks about their other [[WhatHappenedToTheMouse travelling companions' disappearance/possible death]] at all. He doesn't like talking about situations of loss and mourning, as can also be seen with [[spoiler:Ginevra]].
** [[spoiler: However, this comes up most notably with Shannon: note how Shannon is a terrible prick in Felix and Mildmay's narration... but a self-aware, kind and remorseful guy in Mehitabel's.]]
** In ''Corambis'', Felix claims that "every man who had ever touched me" trained him for a degrading sexual situation. But there's plenty of evidence that he had enthusiastic, enjoyable sex with Shannon, Gideon, and a lot of other random people throughout his adult life. He also claims to have lost his virginity [[SexSlave at auction]] when he was eleven, and doesn't appear to consciously be lying, but internal narrative in ''The Virtu'' claims that he was [[HarmfulToMinors even younger]] (depending on how you [[TechnicalVirgin define]] virginity).
** The age at which Felix arrived at the Mirador changes from 17 to 16, depending on which book you're reading. This may have to do with the fact that he invented his birthday and is changing his estimate, or it may be a continuity error (Shannon's age, which should be known by everyone in Marathat, doesn't match up in the accounts of Felix, Stephen, Mildmay, Augusta Fenris, and the author, who admits her grasp of the characters' ages is a little sketchy.)
* UnscrupulousHero: Felix. He risks life, limb, and sanity to save Mildmay from a horrible death... only to [[spoiler: mind-rape Mildmay into a situation that leads to his being tortured to the edge of sanity]]. He leads a pack of ''human-eating ghouls'' through a maze so their spirits can rest... and coldly manipulates a friend's unwanted ability to [[ISeeDeadPeople talk to the dead]] for the benefit of his own curiosity. He swears apparently terrifying oaths so that he can help repair the Virtu... but casually breaks his oaths when he feels like it.
* UnusualEuphemism: "Flats," "flash," "fish," and "jezebel."
* UnwittingPawn: At the beginning of ''Mélusine'', Felix thinks he's been free of Malkar for six years. As it turns out, Malkar still has enough of a [[MagicallyBindingContract tie]] to him to steal his magic for the destruction of the Virtu and much of the city.
* UpperClassTwit: Early!Shannon fits this trope to a tee.
* UrbanSegregation: There's the poor, run-down and dangerous Lower City, which is separated from the fairly well-to-do rest of the city, which is separated again from the towering and imposing Mirador where the Cabaline wizards and aristocracy live/visit.
* VestigialEmpire: Cymellune and Troia.
* VillainTeamUp: Vey Coruscant and Malkar Gennadion in ''The Virtu''. [[spoiler: We also find out in ''The Mirador'' that Vey had been working with Kolkhis for years.]]
* VolleyingInsults: A couple of scenes between Felix and Shannon qualify.
* WaistcoatOfStyle: De rigeur for upper-class men.
* WarIsHell: The aftermath, anyway, for Kay: nearly all his friends have died, he's permanently blindied, and, as punishment for his sins, he [[spoiler: winds up chained to his late beloved's coffin on [[ComeToGawk public display]]]].
* WasItAllALie: Shannon to Felix, after Robert drops the bombshell that Felix isn't any of the things he claims to be.
---> "How do I know that any of it was even real?"
* WeaselWords: Mavortian von Heber does this constantly, to the point where Mildmay actually calls him out on it, literally telling him, "them's weasel words." Inverted when, just afterward, Mildmay notes that kind of talk 'sounds great in stories', but in real life you have to watch the guy who's doing it very carefully regardless of what you said, or you'll get fucked over.
* WelcomeToTheBigCity: Ginevra is really, really clueless about how to survive in Mélusine. Averted with Mehitabel, who's equally in awe of the cultural amenities, but has no problem handling the locals.
* WhamEpisode: The last 100-or-so pages of ''The Mirador''.
* WhamLine: "Otherwise and formerly [[spoiler: known as Brinvillier Strych]]".
* WhatTheHellHero: Mehitabel calls out Felix a lot for his atrocious treatment of Mildmay. Felix just... keeps on keeping on.
** Gideon also gives Felix down the road a few times: for pretending not to suffer from amnesia, for not looking after Mildmay after a traumatic incident, and for [[spoiler: constantly cheating on Gideon]].
** Mildmay does this when Felix torments him with questions about his past in ''The Mirador'', and again in ''Corambis'' after Felix tells Mildmay to leave him to drown in a river.
* {{Whatevermancy}}: We've got necromancy, hydromancy, geomancy, oneiromancy, and who knows what other -mancies to worry about.
* WhenSheSmiles: Corbie is a pretty enough girl, but Felix says she's absolutely lovely when she smiles.
** The same can be said about Mildmay's 'not-smile' (he avoids smiling because it does weird things to his scar), which is said to light up his face. The first instance of this is the first time Felix finds him beautiful and thus begins the awkward incestuous crush.
** Mildmay describes Mehitabel's smile as being like "a handful of diamonds in the sun," although she's a very ordinary-looking woman in other regards.
** Vincent is getting over the hill, but, quoth Mildmay, "The hooker smiled, and for a moment he looked way younger."
* WickedCultured: Malkar, although Felix approaches this at his worst (most closely in ''The Mirador'').
* WillTheyOrWontThey: Kind-of, due to Felix's lust for Mildmay. [[spoiler: They don't.]] Also with Mildmay and Mehitabel... [[spoiler: They do.]] But are they in ''love''? Uh...[[note]](it should also be noted that in early drafts of the books, Mehitabel and Mildmay get ''married'')[[/note]]. And then again with Mildmay and Kay [[spoiler: they don't]], and then with Kay and Felix [[spoiler: they don't.]][[note]]But, again, in earlier drafts of the books? They totally do.[[/note]]
* WindowsOfTheSoul: Felix spends a lot of time bolstering his emotional courage with the kindness in Mildmay's eyes. Mehitabel spends a lot of time watching Felix's eyes, so much so that she's developed the fancy that each controls different emotions.
* WiseBeyondTheirYears: Everyone with a traumatic past. Which is ''all'' of the POV characters. None of which are over thirty.
* WizardDuel: Vey Coruscant tries to blackmail Felix into one in ''The Virtu''.
* WizardingSchool: The Gardens of Nephele in Troia and the Grevillian Institute in Corambis. All other references to schools of magic in the series--Cabalines, Eusebians, etc.--have to do with schools of thought, not the actual training of wizards.
* TheWorfEffect: Bernard suffers from this a couple of times in ''The Virtu''.
* WouldntHitAGirl: Averted. Mildmay comments to Mehitabel that he wouldn't have any problem with hitting a woman who "deserves it". However, he ''does'' instantly apologize for saying it. Felix also mentions, several times, wanting to strike some woman or other for being flip. (Of course, Felix wants to strike ''everyone'' from time to time, so...)
* WretchedHive: Mélusine's Lower City, as well as its Kekropian counterpart, Lamia. The Upper City is kind of the same, but with better clothes.
* WrongSideOfTheTracks: The Lower City in Mélusine, industrial slum variant.
* XMeetsY: Described [[WordOfGod by the author]]: "It's ''Literature/JaneEyre'' meets ''HuckleberryFinn''... with magic!"
* YouAllMeetInAnInn: The Chimera among the Roses, in Hermione.
* YouAreNotAlone: Felix is terrified to stand in the Sim as part of a spell, but finds comfort in Mildmay's assurance that he's there to keep him from drowning.
* YouCantFightFate: The huphantike Thamuris seals when he does pythian casting with Mildmay.
* YouImaginedIt: Gideon's initial reaction to Felix's claim that the tower in Hermione is haunted.
* YouKillItYouBoughtIt: After killing [[spoiler: Malkar]], Felix for some reason takes his gems, which unsurprisingly turn out to be "saturated with noirance."
* YouTaughtMeThat: Played with, in a confrontation between Felix and his ex-lover, Shannon.
--->Felix: "[Malkar] is responsible for most of my bad habits."
--->Shannon: "You give yourself too little credit."
--->Felix: "I was forgetting your excellent tutelage, my lord."
* YoungerThanTheyLook: Due to his scar and his emotionless expression, Mildmay is consistently taken for being much older than he is. By the time ''Mélusine'' starts, he's a little over 19; when they meet, Felix thinks he's much older than that. And throughout the series, Felix often makes comments to himself about how young Mildmay actually is.