What Makes This Book Worth Reading: Prospero’s Children

I just finished reading Prospero Regained by L. Jagi Lamplighter. Prospero Regained is the third and final book in Lamplighter’s “Prospero’s Children” series. The series consists of Prospero Lost, Prospero in Hell, and Prospero Regained. This post covers all three books.

Prospero’s Children is about the long-lived, magical Prospero family. The head of the family is the mysterious magician Prospero from Shakespeare’s “The Tempest.” The main character of the series is Prospero’s oldest child, his fair daughter Miranda.

For the last 500 years the family has been working to maintain order in a chaotic world by using their magic staffs to restrain various spirit forces from running amok. Miranda is the CEO of the global company that is the public face of the Prospero family.

The first book opens with the disappearance of Prospero at a time when many of his children are estranged from each other. The series is about Miranda’s efforts to unite her half brothers and sisters in an effort to first find their father and then to rescue their father from hell.

Lamplighter is quite creative. She nicely weaves together different mythologies and world history and original ideas. My favorite of Lamplighter’s original creatures is the Cheer Weasel. (A smack in the face from the Cheer Weasel is guaranteed to make anyone laugh.) One of Prospero’s sons was the Pope (twice, actually) so Lamplighter has mythologized some Roman Catholic history and made it an important part of the story.

The plot is interesting and everything is nicely wrapped up in the end.

For me, the main deficiency in the series is in the dialog. Miranda Prospero’s inner voice is almost painful to to read at times. On the plus side, the book is quite tame sexually by modern standards. Although there is no explicit sex, one rape occurs. I hate rape as a plot device, but I have to say that Lamplighter handled it well and it was not gratuitous.

For those of you with impressionable teens who might read the series, be aware that the idea that redemption after death is possible is central to the story.

Some reviewers have compared the Prospero’s Children series to Roger Zelazny’s Amber books. The only real similarity is that both series feature long-lived families, some of whom are magicians. Lamplighter’s writing is definitely not up Zelazny’s standards. But then again Roger Zelazny is one the best science fiction writers of all time and the Amber books are one of my favorite series. If you haven’t read the Amber series, find a used copy of the Omnibus edition that contains all nine of the original books and enjoy.

The three volumes in the Prospero’s Children series have good reviews (averaging 4 stars) on Amazon. I give it 3 out 5 stars. If the dialog was better, I’d give it 4 stars. The series is entertaining but not compelling.

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