prospero’s children by jan siegel

Posted on December 28, 2009


Zohran was as evil as Alison was broken, but only one was real to me.

For almost 8 years, Prospero’s Children languished on my shelves. Too old for a fantasy for young adults,  too young to give it up altogether, I let it gather dust, until a few months ago, when my inner fantastic flared up again, a case of psychic hives probably from all the angst of an adult trying to live up to a professional world.

Now I wonder, how much more affected I would have been had I read it when I was younger, when I was more in love with my inner worlds than I was with wordly promises. The author’s prose was wonderful, but so rich that I was at risk several times of hyperventilating from all the beauty, and the story vast and terrifying, singing of magic and lost love.

“There was no sound but the waves breaking and behind that, like a distant harmony too complex, or too simple, for the ear to comprehend, came the rumor of an immeasurable universe: the murmuring of infinite waters and the susurration of a billion icy fires. It seemed to her that even the air smelled of stars…”

The story began in Atlantis, or it returns to Atlantis. Fernanda, 16 years old and sensible, together with younger brother Will, a mysterious hermit, and protective wolf, finds the key to go back in time. The past holds the secret to a power that even gods covet. But this power could destroy the universe, so even glimpses of lost Atlantis are forbidden. Not even the most powerful or most innocent can succeed—but what if evil and goodness somehow become allies?

The first half of the book is set in present-day England and the other over 10000 years ago, at the height of Atlantis’s madness. A broken-hearted witch for our time, and a mad queen for Atlantis. Even if all roads lead to Atlantis, the magic for me was far more powerful with the flawed characters that converged in Fern’s Yorkshire home. When I finally reached Atlantis with Fern, I found the city and inhabitants to be less than legends make them out to be. I wished that I remained in the here and now.

Nevertheless, I am glad that I am a third into exorcising a series that has haunted me for years. The next books are The Dragon Charmer and The Witch Queen (aka Witch’s Honour), which follow Fern years after the events of Prospero’s Children. I’ll probably let months pass before I continue with the series as I need time to recover from such unforgettable fancies.

Posted in: fantastic