Read Prospero's Children by Jan Siegel Online


A power-hungry queen forged a key to a door millennia ago in the fabled Atlantis that was never meant to be opened by mortal man. During that time, the key lay forgotten beneath the waves. But now, in present-day Yorkshire, it will change young Fernanda Capel's life forever....

Title : Prospero's Children
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780345441430
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 352 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Prospero's Children Reviews

  • Hannah Greendale
    2019-01-24 06:34

    A house where not all is as it seems. A curved horn on a white mare. A slippery fin cutting the ocean waves. A mysterious man of magical repute. Dark forms that creep in the night. Lost cities. Forgotten keys. Found doors. At the heart of it all is Fern Capel, a young woman with hidden talents. When she moves into her family's newly inherited house, a string of anomalies give rise to questions. Her quest to find answers reveals a thin veil between the known world and the one beyond. Jan Siegel's prose is a luscious delight: And above and to her right soared a sky so thronged with stars that there was scarcely space for any blackness in between, the nearest clusters too dazzling to look at long, the farther ones still bigger and brighter than any stars seen from Earth, and beyond them remoter constellations like grains of diamond, and the glimmering smoke of whirling galaxies, and the contrails of comets, and fire-tasseled meteors plunging downward into a sea that danced and sparkled with more reflected light. Prospero's Children will appeal to fans of sumptuous language, magical realism, and new realms of imagination.

  • Sky
    2019-02-12 07:43

    There's something about the way Siegel writes, it's so vivid, and detailed, and often graphic, that you know if she ever put her mind to write a horror story Steven King would have some competition. She can turn something beautiful into a painful memory in a moment, and unlike a lot of writers, she can really make you FEEL that pain. There's no escaping the depth of this writing... and the followng books in the series are the same. I can say that I was not very happy with the ending of the series... however, I have to admit, that if I were the one writing it, I wouldn't have done it any other way.

  • Caer
    2019-01-31 02:52

    I think my rating deserves some explanation. This is really one of the better books I've read in the adolescent fantasy genre, and at its beginning I found it both extremely imaginative and beautifully written. Seigel's takes on the some of the traditional fantasy creatures are lovely- I absolutely adored her characterization of the mermaid! She was obviously drawing on their darker, earlier origins while creating them, which is commendable, and gives the world a Brothers Grimm/folklore-ish atmosphere.However, as the story progresses it falls into a very typical fantasy plotline, with no real twists or surprises, although it does contain a rather forced romance. The vivid reimaginings that mark the first few chapters are much lacking, if not entirely gone, by the ending, which I found somewhat disappointing as it it seemed like an obvious cliffhanger for the sequels. Having said that, though, I would definitely recommend this book to any fantasy fan who wants a relatively light read, simply because those first chapters really are wonderful!

  • Donna Barth
    2019-02-18 02:40

    I admit, I'm a sucker for fantasy books that draw from the ancient mythologies around the world, and this does a fabulous job reimagining some iconic and lesser-known characters and places. I definitely liked the Yorkshire section better than the Atlantis section, though in theory it was a brilliant twist. It became a completely different genre in the space of a page, and I found myself oddly disconnected from the main character. Even though it was technically the same Fern from the first part of the book, the story became radically different and I didn't like Fern as much as when she was a practical girl clinging to etiquette in the face of things that did not fit into her original, cozy worldview. Be that as it may, it was a fantastic book with gorgeous, if occasionally long-winded, prose. I loved the mysterious terror that infused Atlantis as the "Forbidden Past" and the madness and beauty that characterized its end, and therefore its reputation through the ages. The mix of cultures and traditions was extraordinary, and the depth and mystique this book lends history make me want to build my own time machine, though at the moment I'll settle for reading the sequel.

  • Josh Thompson
    2019-02-21 03:36

    The first part of the book is excellent. Good characters, a great villain, and the makings of an interesting setting. To rate only that part, I would easily give it four to four and a half stars. The second part of the book, however, is more of a let down. It is basically a completely different story, leaving out many of the elements and pieces that made the first part so great.Prospero's Children is probably worth picking up for the first part alone. The author does use a rather diverse vocabulary and borders on -- occasionally crossing into -- purple prose, if that matters.

  • Juli
    2019-02-23 03:32

    I really enjoyed this book - it did not follow the standard intro-build-up-climax format of most fantasy novels, and I liked that that kept me guessing. My only qualm would be that at times the characters (or relationships between characters) felt a little bit flat. I will definitely be reading more by this author!

  • Pinchy's Pages (Jenn Harrison)
    2019-01-25 02:43

    The story line was OK, it didn't really grab me. But the last page and a half, that brought the ENTIRE book together. I had to put the book down and go "Oh....."Those last pages are going to make this book very memorable.

  • Dida
    2019-02-07 02:31

    My absolute favorite book of all time.

  • Alice
    2019-02-08 07:39

    I really enjoyed this book. It was almost two stories joined in the middle but it played out perfectly in the end. Would definitely recommend it.

  • Tim Martin
    2019-02-12 05:52

    Prospero’s Children was a fun read, one that had a lot great elements that I like in fantasy (or genre) fiction; faeries, mythological creatures, Greco-Roman mythology, the feel of European folktales about the supernatural, mysterious deceased cousins who leave strange inheritances, lonely moors, ghosts, Atlantis, and time travel. Time travel? Yeah...I will get to that in a minute. The opening of the book is very strong, gripping even, a pretty much dialogue-free prologue involving a storm-tossed ship, a doomed but brave man, sea monsters, a mermaid (though not some beautiful pin-up-esque one but rather an alien, soulless creature that no sailor in their right mind would ever moon over), and a mystical object, one that is just ripe with potential, one that is clearly magical, of a mysterious origin, and that the reader just knows is going to lead to something else; a key.Breaking away from the vividly described opening, we come to the present. Our main character is introduced, Fernanda Capel, along with her younger brother Will, and their father Robin. Fernanda – or Fern – is a 16 year old girl, used to acting quite the adult, helping her father manage the household, the finances, and chase away a series of would-be suitors to her father (who clearly does not know a good woman when he sees one, at least according to Fern, as they are all imminently unsuitable). When a long lost (and pretty much to them unknown) super distant deceased relation leaves them in a will a creepy Victorian era house out in the lonely, misty Yorkshire moors, Robin, almost acting the child (or at least the starry eyed optimistic) dreams at the very least of fixing up the place and selling it, though really would like to keep the place and make it a new home. Fern, for her part, knows her father has no head for money and is eager to get back to the real center of the universe, London. Fern appears to meet her match though as the house – and the person who left it to them – are mysterious and intriguing, equally enthralling to both Will and Robin and even Fern, despite her many attempts to make it clear that they are not staying, who can’t help herself and wants to uncover its secrets as well. Added to that mix is Dad’s latest suitor, a woman who – frustratingly for Fern – does not seem to recognize the 16 year old’s true role in the family or her maturity, who is using her good lucks to bewitch her father, and who just may have ulterior motives that have nothing to do with Robin. Bewitch is the right word, as Robin and Will begin to uncover the truth about this woman. Is she in fact a witch? If so, why is she here? What does she want? Had she been to the mansion before, looking for something? This part of the book I really enjoyed, as it had a great young adult feel to it, the lonely, windswept moors and the creaking, creepy Victorian house with all is nooks and crannies stuffed full with arcana and exotica from far-flung locales, the strange local inhabitants, some of which turn out to be not human at all.After a time though I have to admit the book started to slow down for me. Not by any means did it get boring or unpleasant to read, but it just seemed to take its time and could have had better pacing. Clearly, as with many fantasy novels, Fern has some sort of mysterious and mystical inheritance coming her way, a destiny to fulfill, and a great and powerful evil to fight. Though she gets a mentor to help her along with some other allies, I think the book could have benefitted from more fleshing out of the mentor, a better explanation of the mystical and magical rules of the setting (though there were some; an important one is having to be invited in to a home), and more time spent showing just whatever powers Fern is going to develop. I never did get a truly satisfying sense of Fern’s abilities or her potential. However, given her character, I definitely bought her trying to use these fledgling powers far, far before she was ready, that was well done (also well done was the sibling rivalry/friendship that propelled Will’s and Fern’s explorations). Just when I thought things had started to slow down, a huge breath of fresh air (or maybe a second wind, that would be a better metaphor) comes in the book, the aforementioned time travel. I don’t want to discuss how it is done, why it is done, or certainly the outcome, but Fern travels back to ancient Atlantis. The setting of Atlantis itself was well done, with just enough touches of another language to give it an exotic flavor without bogging the reader down in needing a glossary (though one is provided). There are interesting characters in Atlantis – along with creatures – and the pace was fantastic, poetic writing yet well described action and engaging personalities. I don’t want to say too much but the events that occur there really add a great deal of depth to both the opening scene with the sinking ship, the key, and the mermaid, as well as the growth of the character Fern. All in all a good book, one that I enjoyed and I am glad I read.

  • Lexie
    2019-02-18 07:36

    Siegel was a completely new to me author when I picked this book up at the (semi)local used book store. I had seen it around for a bit, but for whatever reason I didn't pick it up until an idle Saturday afternoon. It caught my interest then with tales of a mermaid and Atlantis and a magical destiny. This isn't as old as I thought it was either--published originally in 1999, I thought this was from the 80's.The beginning is simply captivating. The story begins with a mermaid who makes a bargain with a fisherman, though neither enter into the deal in good faith. The fisherman demands she pay him back for the life she took (she killed his son after her capture) and in turn the mermaid offers a key to a treasure they can never touch. This sets into motion events that encompass Fern and her family centuries later.I didn't really warm to Fern. She's 16 going on 50 it feels like. Levelheaded, composed and seemingly devoid of the teen characteristics one expects she seems so...remote. Even as she acknowledges that her attitude or behavior is out of character for herself, those moments don't serve to warm the reader to her at all.This is also a very languid novel. Many things happen that defy reason, but the pace of the book doesn't alter one iota. Siegel determinedly forges forward detailing the Capel children's investigations with very little determent. Their father's sinister girlfriend does creepy things at night--first investigate, ask questions, test the theory, then form a plan.The writing is very dense though despite the languid pace. So much happens in so little time that's its easy to feel like the book is much longer than it is (barely 350pgs, which is nothing by today's fantasy standards) or that you haven't progressed very far into the book.Mainly I became engrossed in the story because Siegel ties in the Atlantean mythology with other mythologies. The back of my edition had a glossary and a character list, offering tidbits about how this or that name related to other mythologies. Its very obvious that Siegel spent a lot of time researching and it shows in her writing. Her words shine the best when this or that character is discussing history (or as happens later, the past is brought to life in vivid detail). Siegel really immerses you in the scene.I plan on reading the next two books (which I am given to understand Fern progresses in age as the books go on so that we end with her as a young woman). I want to see how this plays out and whether Siegel is able to keep the immersive feel going for another 600+ pages or not.

  • Sierra
    2019-02-08 05:48

    I love the fantastical elements of this story and Siegel's writing. I normally hate excessive detail in novels, but (with exception of the beginning of this novel) Siegel's writing rarely has unnecessary detail. [She has moments at the beginning that are just painful. At one point she gives two analogies to describe something and then elaborates on one of the analogies--all in the same sentence.] The details aren't necessary to understand the plot but they are to be immersed in the fantasy of the story. I think that is the main difference I find between her writing and other heavily detailed works; the detailing of other novelists' is merely tangential. I skip over it or don't even read their works. I could probably criticize the plotting (which wasn't always surprising) or character development (which did have heavy-handed moments) but for me the fantasy of the story is the most overwhelming feature and in my mind it glosses over the less satisfying elements. I think the climax in the middle of the novel was more satisfying than the final climax, but I still enjoyed the story. I'm currently rereading books I remember loving from adolescence and am happy to find that I still enjoy this one.In the happy aftermath of reading this, I give it 5 stars. In a couple weeks, after my thoughts have settled, that may drop to 4.5 or 4. We'll see :)

  • ๑GloryPlutonian๑
    2019-02-03 09:34

    I read this book a long time ago and I remember really liking it. So I picked it off the shelf when I was looking for something to read recently. I don't know why there are so many bad reviews, the story was good, the characters were well developed (Rafarl is our Lord and Savior). ) For the most part though, I liked this book. Not sure if or when I’ll pick the second one up, but I didn’t feel like I’d wasted my time when I was done, and I got through it pretty easily. In my opinion Arc I was a bit slow but Arc II was really well-written and keeped my interest (Not only because of the unicorn) until the very end.And on top of that you have Rafarl who I kind of adore. HE DESERVED SO MUCH MORE, that ending was so sad.

  • Christine
    2019-02-19 07:30

    So I just picked this book up because of the title, haha. Those of you who know my dad will know why. Anyway, lo and behold it's a great fantasy novel! It avoids the usual cliches that fantasy can succumb to and I would recommend it to my adult non-fantasy reading friends as well. I really enjoyed it, my only complaint would be that the end felt a little rushed and **(spoiler) the romantic aspect of it was kind of like in episode 2 of star wars where all of the sudden they just hook up and you're like "um, where did that come from?"** But i'm just being picky, I really liked it and would recommend it overall.

  • Laura
    2019-02-14 02:52

    This is an oldie but a goodie for me. I was waiting for some library books to come in and re-discovered this novel in my bookshelves.If you haven't read anything by Jan Siegel, you must. This is the first of a trilogy. All three novels are quite different but equally interesting.I especially like this novel for it's unusual take on the Atlantis story. Siegel is an expert when it comes to perfect description and immersion into a story.

  • Nancy
    2019-01-28 07:48

    I loved this book the first time I read it and every time since. The writing is sooo wonderfully descriptive that I feel like I am there watching the whole book like a movie. Very well written and the fantasy is superb. Witches, Atlantis, demons and old gods. LOVE the names of all the characters and will re-read this trilogy along with other favorites like LOTR, Game of Thrones, my Dickens favs...forever.

  • Ann-Lee
    2019-02-16 08:36

    Selline vana kooli õhustikuga fantaasiakas, et korraga on äge ja samas natuke esoteeriline ja natuke nagu ei oskagi kirjeldada. Mulle ikka päris meeldib. Kuigi eriti vana see ju polegi. Tüdruk meie maailmast leiab, et ta saatus on seotud iidse Atlantisega. Enne, kui säärased asjad popiks said. Ja tore on, et kuigi peategelased on 16 ja 12, ei ole mingit noortekavibe'i ega armukolmnurki ega vaimunärimist. Äkki selle pärast tundubki vanamoodneja teistsugune, et praegu on mingi teine kaanon?

  • Alisha
    2019-02-18 03:26

    The book is divided into two parts -I really enjoyed the first part, focused on The Key. It is well-written, with rich vocabulary and beautiful phrasing, great pacing and suspense. The first half would get a 4.The second half, focused on The Door, felt less... real. Fern conveniently just knows or senses where to go, what to do. Intense, emotion-ridden events like Fern & Raf's relationship are glossed over. It was not nearly as gripping or intriguing as the first half.

  • Zouagie
    2019-02-04 06:47

    I loved this book so much! I can still remember when I first picked it up due to its interesting title and cover, I've re-read it so many times I lost count but it's still nice to remember some scene. Especially when it comes to the confusing parts. A perfect blend of mermaids in the beginning to various creatures in the middle and an okay ending I gues. But I still love it regardless.

  • Ash
    2019-02-12 01:35

    Read this book a long time ago as a young adult and I absolutely loved it. Siegel is a beautiful writer and weaves the supernatural fabulously into the everyday. This is the first in a trilogy but by far the best of the three.

  • flajol
    2019-02-04 03:27

    I remember I enjoyed this, but not why. I even bought the sequels, but have never got around to reading them... I think I read this at the tail-end of my great passion for fantasy fiction.

  • Olive
    2019-02-22 03:39

    Mermaids and the wonderful world of the deep. Different worlds pulling you in and out. This is a great book to read on a warm summer's evening and dream of what can be if only you let it.

  • Suzie
    2019-02-18 03:34


  • Kasi
    2019-01-25 08:54

    I would say maybe 3.5. The thing is, I liked this story but it was sorta hard to filter through the excessive, floral like, over descriptive writing. There was just so much extra wordage that I found it hard to remember the details that mattered. There would be paragraphs half a page to a whole page long and there would only be one or two important things in it that you had to filter out from all the excess overflow of words. The story was like a hike, we should have gone up the straight, clear path and got to the top faster but instead we went up the path of gravel with shrubs and thickets you have to climb through. Anyways so I liked the story (what bits I understood) but it was just not my sorta-of writing style. I would compare this story (and the writing style) to The Dark is Rising Sequence by Susan Cooper. If you like that, you will like this. The end was fast paced and interesting. It did leave me feeling pretty bummed about some fates and possibly a little confused. However I am interested to see how the story continues and hoping fates can change.

  • Moonie
    2019-02-15 07:35

    I fell absolutely in love with this book, and I was pleasantly surprised. The first half starts off a little bit slow, but it slowly builds up and peaks your interest. The second half was so incredible I couldn't put it down. The way Jan writes is beyond describing.. she brings the words on the page to life! I can't wait to read more. I was very pleased with the main character's development as well.

  • Jessi
    2019-02-05 06:34

    Rating: 3.5 When I look back in the whole story, I actually liked it. However, while reading it, it felt jumbled and several parts seemed to drag endlessly onward. There were many times when there wasn't a paragraph break for a couple pages which made it difficult to follow. Even so, I want to keep reading the series.

  • Allison
    2019-02-21 07:50

    A fantasy type book about the city of Atlantis. Interesting read. Great writing. Very colorful and descriptive. If you like fantasy, you will probably enjoy this one. Not my genre of choice but I enjoyed it.

  • ThisIsMe
    2019-02-05 06:48

    What hasn't everyone everywhere read this??

  • Liz
    2019-02-15 06:45

    Took an ass long time to get anywhere with the plot. When it finally got there, it wasn't very interesting. I'd pass on this one. Wasted potential.

  • Brian O'Leary
    2019-02-16 07:51

    Unique fantasy tale, written for the intelligent, unique prose style, not a quick read, but one that sticks with you.