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Prospero's Children (Fern Capel #1)

3.83  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,076 Ratings  ·  82 Reviews
It began ages past in fabled Atlantis, when a mad, power-hungry queen forged a key to a door never meant to be opened by mortal man--its inception would hasten her own death and the extinction of her vainglorious race. For millennia the key lay forgotten beneath the waves, lost amid the ruins of what had been the most beautiful city on Earth. But however jealously the sea ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published May 29th 2001 by Del Rey (first published 1999)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,095)
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Apr 28, 2009 Sky rated it it was amazing
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 serie
May 11, 2008 Caer rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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 atmo ...more
Donna Barth
Jul 13, 2011 Donna Barth rated it it was amazing
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 o ...more
«Seer of Mind»
Nov 24, 2015 «Seer of Mind» rated it really liked it
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 b
Jenn Chrisner
Jul 15, 2014 Jenn Chrisner rated it really liked it
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.
May 26, 2011 Dida rated it it was amazing
My absolute favorite book of all time.
Tim Martin
Nov 20, 2012 Tim Martin rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, reviewed
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-tosse
Jan 20, 2016 Juli rated it it was amazing
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!
Nov 24, 2008 Christine rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people who like fantasy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sierra Jones
Living in the last decade or so, memes, gifs, vines, snapchat and brain dissolving celebrity quotes have dominated the primary form of human interaction and occupation: the internet! With these technological advances the younger generation has not only had its moral standards diminished but our attention spans too! Do you miss thinking? How about pondering things that actually matter? Well if you'd like to remember how to have your mind engaged for more than 30 seconds at a time, look no furthe ...more
Jun 01, 2011 Laura rated it really liked it
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.
Jun 19, 2014 Nancy rated it it was amazing
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.
Jan 30, 2014 Bill rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
A fun and sweet book, this is more of a young-adult novel than an adult novel, although it is marketed towards adults.

The protagonist, Fern, is a sixteen-year-old girl with a strong personality in a small world comprising her brother, father, and their mysterious inherited Yorkshire manor. The book more or less follows her as her world is expanded beyond her imagining, while the character traits we see at the beginning of the story deepen and mature.

She meets many fantastic creatures along the
Jan 21, 2013 Zouagie rated it it was amazing
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.
Mar 12, 2008 flajol rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
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.
Aug 15, 2015 Alice rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Apr 13, 2009 Suzie rated it it was amazing
May 03, 2015 Anna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I remember reading this many years ago and was drawn in at the way the author managed to weave a magical tale so articulately beautiful that it feels like a painting in literature form.

I did not know that a sequel was planned because the story of Fernanda and her journey through Atlantis ended in a way that was final and sweet. When a friend bought me the second and third books to complete the trilogy, I had to have a refresher and re-read the first book again.

It is still an epic tale and just a
May 25, 2015 Chris rated it did not like it
At heart I am a stylist. If a book has a brilliant writing technique which will engross me I could read about anything and be awed. If the subject is innovative but is written poorly I will not be able to cope. This is obviously subjective but it made this novel a chore to work through. The language use appallingly verbose and flowery. This is not only unnecessary, it is very irritating to have this level and type of description needlessly given to everything. I feel she could definitely have us ...more
Dec 21, 2015 Rachel rated it did not like it
Shelves: fantasy, 2015, young-adult
Sum it up in a sentence (or two): Fern and Will, two precocious teens, make some otherworldly discoveries while living at an inherited country home one summer. Mermaids/sea witches/Atlantis discoveries.

First thoughts: (spoilers) I realized pretty early that Fern was one of Prospero's Children, aka she has The Gift, but the story still dragged out each and every new idea and discovery. I was drawn to the world initially, but my brain would get lost and start to wander as I read because of all the
Jan 10, 2013 Katherine rated it liked it
I read this book when it first came out and I remember really liking it. So I picked it off the shelf when I was looking for something to read recently, and within pages I couldn't think why I had thought it was so good.

16-year-old Fern Capel has spent the six years since the death of her mother managing her father and her younger brother. She has schooled herself to practicality, and does not believe in magic, or even in the extraordinary. But when her father inherits a Yorkshire house from a s
Sep 25, 2011 Gabby rated it liked it
Even though I know there are more books in the series, this book was fairly self contained, and it came to an ending, although quick (which is why I think there are some things that happen with this character in the next; maybe not). The story was fairly interesting. It ties modern day with things that happened in Atlantis (which, is all I can figure as to why this was called "Prospero's Children" maybe because of Atlantis being an island, and such, dunno).

As I mentioned, I liked the storyline,
Simon Mcleish
Jan 27, 2013 Simon Mcleish rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Originally published on my blog here in February 2003.

Since Snow White, the character of a witch stepmother is quite a common one in fantasy. Prospero's Children combines this with another idea frequently seen in modern fiction, if not in fantasy - children trying to indicate their disapproval of a candidate to become a stepmother. (This development in fiction is mainly a reflection of changes in Western society, where it has become usual for children - at least of a certain age - to be able to
Jun 28, 2013 Dark-Draco rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, fantasy
When Fern and her brother, Will, are taken to their late Uncle's Yorkshire home, they soon discover it has a few hidden secrets. Somewhere, a talisman, a key to a secret door, is hidden in the dark corners of its rooms. A lot of people want to find it, but who can Fern and Will trust? And what are they supposed to do with the key when they find it? For the door that it opens leads to a land destroyed many centuries ago, when a mad Queen dared to do the same.

This is probably one of the best fanta
Jared White
May 14, 2015 Jared White rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lora Shouse
Jul 11, 2015 Lora Shouse rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An excellent Fantasy novel. The main character, Fern, winds up going back to old Atlantis to, um, save the rest of the modern world. An interesting take on the last days of Atlantis. Curious how every imagining of the story of Atlantis has it that what happened was the result of the citizens (or at least the rulers) offending whatever gods they believed in (or in this case seemingly didn't believe in).

I didn't know when I bought this back in whenever that it was part of a trilogy. However, it is
Feb 28, 2015 Olive rated it really liked it
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.
Mar 19, 2016 Paula rated it liked it
Shelves: ya, fantasy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 21, 2007 Stephany rated it really liked it
As one interested in the intersection of history and myth--and also fascinated by archetype--I found this series of three books a bit light but charming and inventive nonetheless. Siegel mines her myth for all it's worth. We've got Atlantas, a Tolkien-inspired Gandalf character who's lost his own powers, and a young woman in modern Yorkshire who is just discovering she has some. Fascinating for its references as much as the way the tale unfolds, it's good beach reading for those who love their E ...more
Dec 28, 2015 Beverly rated it really liked it
Good fun read, likable characters, I really enjoyed it. Her reimaginings of classic fantasy elements is quite interesting.
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Jan Siegel is a pseudonym of Amanda Hemingway. She is a British author of fantasy novels, best known for her Fern Capel and Sangreal trilogies.

More about Jan Siegel...

Other Books in the Series

Fern Capel (3 books)
  • The Dragon Charmer (Fern Capel, #2)
  • The Witch Queen (Fern Capel, #3)

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“When ambition outstrips ability, that is always a recipe for disaster.” 5 likes
“You’d have to trust in Hope,” said Fern. “Is that it?”
No,” Ragginbone replied shortly. “Hope needs something tangible to sustain it. You would have to rely on Faith. Only Faith can endure in the teeth of the evidence.”
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