Re: McKinley: Prospero's Children

From: Tawen Chang <>
Date: Wed Apr 25 2001 - 20:13:29 PDT

>I started reading this because I though the setup sounded cool--Atlantis
and >such, but I ended up quitting halfway through. I didn't care for the
main >character and thought it was too obvvious through her writing style
that it was >her first book.

Actually, my sister, who usually likes the same books I do, didn't finish
this one either when I lent it to her. And I sort of understand the
reaction, since there were parts of the book that I felt really tempted to
skim. (Alright, I did skim parts of it.) But the parts that I loved made
the whole reading experience worthwhile. I don't find many fantasy books
that make me even half believe in magic--in something ancient and
mysterious and enchanting. Prospero's Children and Dragon Charmer made me
believe whole-heartedly. Siegel takes things that are well-known in myth,
like Atlantis and Arthurian legends and Greek mythology, and somehow makes
them new again; reading her books is like visiting a place you know in
dreams. (Yuck. Cliches and gushing abound in this post.... Sorry.)

SPOILER for Dragon Charmer:
Plus, I like slightly dark fantasy. In Dragon Charmer Siegel has a tree
whose crop is the heads of the unvirtuous dead. The heads hang there until
they rot, in expiation for the sins their owners committed in life. (And
the heads can talk as they are hanging on the tree, and there's a pig who
eats the rotting heads when they fall off the tree.) Macabre and
grotesque? Yes. Creepy and great reading? Definitely. (There is one
scene of violation in Dragon Charmer though that I really can't stand.)

I do agree with you that Prospero's Children is not unqualifiedly
wonderful. It was actually a slightly weird reading experience because
passages of awkward writing are cheek by jowl with really luminous writing
in that book, and the pacing is also a bit off. But I did care about all
the characters--Fern and Will and Ragginbone and Lougarry and even
Pegwillen. Particularly Lougarry. Fern isn't the most sympathetic
heroine, but somehow I empathized with her. (Hope that doesn't say
anything about me....)

Tawen, procastinating again

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Received on Wed Apr 25 19:59:48 2001

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