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Prospero's Children Mass Market Paperback – May 29, 2001

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey; Reprint edition (May 29, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345441435
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345441430
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 4.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,260,877 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

Fern and Will, the children of a feckless art dealer, find themselves sharing the remote farmhouse he has inherited with his current, and sinister, mistress. Something snuffles outside; a stone in the garden, which bears an odd resemblance to a passing tramp, moves in the night; a wolfish dog befriends them. Dreams and sleepwalking and the most remarkable videotape ever watched provide 16-year-old Fern with evidence that the world is not the controllable, rational place she thought it was--and that her own future is to be altogether more remarkable, and full of pain and wisdom, than she has expected.

Jan Siegel has taken the material of a hundred good children's fantasies and woven a story which hovers, like her heroine, on the brink of being fully adult, with the visionary power that often comes from inhabiting the threshold between states. Her handling of shopworn questions--the paradoxes of time, the price of souls and the sinking of Atlantis--is as fresh and remarkable as fantasy gets; this impressive first novel is a classic in the making, and, it is to be hoped, the debut of a brilliant career. --Roz Kaveney, --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Proving that a breath of imagination can rekindle the embers of a spent theme, Siegel enlivens this schematically familiar fantasy with a new twist on the old legend of Atlantis. The sunken island is the former homeland of the mystically minded kind that 16-year-old Fern Capel and her younger brother, Will, encounter when they move to an inherited family house in the Yorkshire countryside. Left to themselves by their loving but oblivious dad, they soon discover that their home is a magnet for sorceresses, shapeshifters, unicorns and god-possessed vessels, all of whom survived the island's cataclysmic collapse into the sea eons before and are drawn by a potent Atlantean talisman--a magic key that unlocks the door between life and death--kept hidden on the premises. When a scheming opportunist misuses the key and accidentally ruptures the barrier separating past and present, feisty Fern, whose maturation draws her own latent magic powers forth, must retrieve it from the antediluvian past it has disappeared into--just as the island is starting to crumble. Much of the novel is struck from the rigid template for modern teenage quest fantasies, but Siegel distinguishes her story once she shifts bearings to the island setting. Though it recapitulates much of the tale already told, this Atlantean interlude is captivating for its vivid depiction of an ancient civilization where exotic beauty, decadent corruption and magical good and evil all commingle. "Our story is over--for a while," says one of the fey folk in the epilogue, and this serviceable debut will have readers anticipating the sequel it portends. (May)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

I did not like the second half of the book.
W. Boyd
I recommended this book to a fantasy loving friend, and she loved it very much.
It has great detail and beautiful descriptions.
Brandon Witt--redbirdboy

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Robert T. Nicholson on April 29, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I enjoy books that portray magic in a modern setting, so I was intrigued by the promise of this book. The author does a good job of stage-setting, weaving strange happenings and an increasing sense of magic and mystery into the otherwise mundane setting of the English countryside. Unfortunately, just as the magic begins to manifest, the main character is sent off to ancient Atlantis, on yet another variant of the "teenager is the chosen one who must save the world." The book never really recovers from the change of setting, and any sense of reality or character development is lost. The are other authors who do a much better job of sustaining both the sense of magic and the development of interesting, believable characters.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 2, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The first half of the misleadingly titled, "Prospero's Children" is wonderful and scary, choc-a-block with evil villians (a witch, an idol, and an art gallery owner) and eccentric good guys (the Watcher, a female werewolf, a house goblin). The second half of the book is standard Swords and Sorcery. It's almost as if the publisher said, "Okay, Jan, this is great but we need another 100 pages and a better title." I'd give the first half five stars and the second half two stars, then round high just because I loved the Watcher, the idol, and the witch.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 17, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Overall, I liked this book very much! It was a refreshingfantasy story with a very compelling female lead. I felt as though Icould almost feel the story unfolding, for Jan Siegel painted such a vivid, lush environment. I enjoyed the European setting with the mystery of Atlantis as a backdrop. The characters remain clear and memorable long after the story has been read. It is very rare to read fantasy stories that use Atlantis as part of the storyline - which makes this novel standout. Her words are almost lyrical and poetic - yet every sentence is intensely riveting, and almost draining. For me, this style of writing became somewhat ackward to read at times, for the lavish descriptions almost detracted from the story itself. I felt that there were many similes used throughout the novel, which seemed to momentarily divert my attention. Nevertheless, a wonderful new fantasy novel!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on May 9, 2000
Format: Hardcover
In Yorkshire, teenager Fernanda Capel and her younger brother soon find strange visitors arriving at their new home. Not everyone can claim they play host to unicorns and shapeshifters, but Fern does that and more. Apparently, these species and other so-called mythological creatures endured the cataclysm that sunk Atlantis.

The island's survivors are drawn to the Capel house due to a magical key that opens the gateway between life and death. That ring, forged by a maniacal queen, led to the destruction of Atlantis. When the key is ultimately misused, a portal is opened that could spell the end of life as we know it. Fern is the prime hope of saving a universe by regaining the key, which is now on Atlantis, just prior to the devastation.

Shockingly, a story centering on Atlantis should not seem fresh, yet PROSPERO'S CHILDREN provides a vigorous look at the legendary island. The story line is fun, especially when Fern goes on her quest. Though the tale starts as if it is going to be a teen adventure aimed at that audience, the exciting plot will please fantasy fans of all ages, especially those that enjoy the Atlantis myths.

Harriet Klausner
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Marumae on December 15, 2005
Format: Hardcover
_Prospero's Children_ is the first novel in the(recently titled)Fern Capel Trilogy. Filled with smooth poetic and dreamy prose, accompanied by complex and realistic characters with real flaws, personal quirks and mannerism that define and either endure them to the reader or as in the case of some other readers annoy them.

The story follows the adventures of the Capel family, most specifically Fernanda Capel, sixteen year old daughter of her sweet if absent minded Father Robin and elder sister of twelve year old adorably mischevious Will Capel. After inheriting a run down victorian house on the moors of Yorkshire from a long distant relative, Robin and family travel out to the house with the intention of spending the summer fixing it up and selling it. From there a vast and complex plot and conspiracy spanning litterally thousands of years from an ancient Civilzation's collapse, the heart breaking and selfish determination of a witch, the influence of a broken down and regretful wizard and the greedy ambitions of an ancient being far beyond the power and comprehension of many. All revolving around the budding potential power of Fern herself. The plot ecompasses finding a single object that may or may not be within the grasp of the Capel's long dead relative.

As said before the prose in this novel is dreamy and leaning on the side of purple without quite reaching ultimate urple status. Seigel certainly knows how to make even the most simplistic scenes a vast and beautiful tapestry, akin to the decsriptive writing of Patrcia McKillip. Despite this beautiful language the plot moves at an even and slightly slow pace in the beginning that may, or may not turn off some readers.
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