Friday, January 13, 2006

Review: _Prospero's Children_ by Jan Siegel

Legends of ancient times continue to fascinate people in the modern world. The legend of Atlantis is one of the most popular ones to longer. Whether a city or continent, Atlantis supposedly had an advanced civilization until it was destroyed. Scientists still argue its existence today. Some Fantasy authors incorporate the legend into their books to spark readers’ sense of wonder. Prospero’s Children by Jan Siegel is the first book of a trilogy about the influence of Atlantis. The books’ setting, characters and plot creates a memorable read for readers.

The author uses vivid descriptions of the setting that stays in the reader’s memory. In the beginning, readers are introduced to an old house in the countryside of Yorkshire. It once belonged to an old sea captain and is furnished with his keepsakes from around the world. The three storey old house creates a strong atmosphere of otherness. Atlantis is described as a beautiful city built inside an old volcano. Golden buildings and mansions on terraces are part of a grand city. Setting plays an important role in shaping the characters.

Realistic characters provide readers with people to identify with in the book. Fernanda Capel is the main character. She is sixteen and independent, but unaware of her magical gift. Her inner strength helps her to guide her brother Will and father through difficult times. Alison Redmond becomes her nemesis in the form of a dangerous witch. Fern gets help from an old Wizard called Ragginbone and his wolf companion Lougarry. Later in the book she meets Rafarl, a noble young man of Atlantis. The author makes these characters real with colorful descriptions of their lives.

A strong plot keeps the reader entertained and the book in their thoughts. This book has such a plot. When Fern and her family stay the first night in the house, she hears a strange snuggling outside of her bedroom door. a shadow saves her by preventing entry into her room. She meets Ragginbone who tells Fern of her danger. The threat comes from her father’s girlfriend Alison Redmond. Fern fights the witch, but faces a greater challenge in Atlantis. Ms. Siegel keeps the plot moving at a fast pace with tight plot threads along a straight path.

Prospero’s Children by Jan Siegel is an excellent first book of a Fantasy trilogy. The setting, characters and plot makes the book a memorable, entertaining read. Ms. Siegel creates an action packed beginning based on the legend of Atlantis and its intriguing magic. On finishing this book, readers will eagerly want to seek out the next two books. The author also writes under the name of Amanda Hemingway.

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