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Prospero's Children (Fern Capel, #1)
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Prospero's Children (Fern Capel #1)

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  922 ratings  ·  67 reviews
It began ages past in fabled Atlantis, when a power-hungry queen forged a magical key to a door never meant to be opened by mortal man, thus hastening the extinction of her vainglorious race. Now, in present-day Yorkshire, 16-year-old Fern Chapel will discover that ancient magic and find her life changed forever.
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published May 2nd 2000 by Del Rey (first published 1999)
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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
Donna Barth
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
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
My absolute favorite book of all time.
Tim Martin
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
Nov 24, 2008 Christine rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like fantasy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Paula Mckinney
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
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
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
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
Jenn Chrisner
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.
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
I want to make this 3.5 stars, but if I have to pick, it gets 3.

The first half of the book is four stars, for me, and that is mostly because of the atmosphere--an old house in the English countryside, young kids dealing with weird magical stuff happening, and so on. There is a major shift halfway through the book, and while the story after that is still good and still related, it's just not as charming as it was before the shift.

The bit with the unicorn and the beach is just about the cheesiest
Een boek dat ik graag heb gelezen, ondanks dat het nogal traag is. Het verhaal van Fern en Will heeft een goede basis en ik ben benieuwd naar deel 2.
Anne Hamilton
I simply couldn't warm to this book. While the story is intrinsically interesting and the plots well-developed, there was something about the main character Fern that I found difficult to like. I just couldn't feel positive about her. Perhaps she was too much like various teenagers of my acquaintance back in the days when I was teaching high school. The sort of kids I was constrained as a professional to be polite to in real life but whom I can't stand in fiction.
It was different. The idea of the closed circle in time is an idea that I enjoyed in the Babylon Five tv series. It works here but some of the story line were just odd. I was reading I Capture the Castle at the same time and as both main characters were of similar age they kind of blended in my mind. I didn't care for the direction the character takes when she goes to the past. It made no sense. And the unicorn, 'twas silly.
The Young Book Collector
The texture of the language the author used to tell the mermaids story wasn’t complicated or over-written. The prolouge was the only good part of the story for me.

The rest of the novel is seen mainly from Fernanda Capel POV. The only problem what the physical descriptions started to become tedious and overwritten. Not to mention the author didn’t make Fermanda sound like a teenager at all.
I'm having trouble deciding between one or two stars. I had such high expectations of this book and was really looking forward to reading it. In the end I didn't even have the energy to finish it. The storyline was very vague, I didn't like Fern much, and it didn't seem like the plot was really going anywhere. I might finish it anyway one of these days, and if it turns out I was wrong, all the better.
Kelly Flanagan
Jun 20, 2010 Kelly Flanagan rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lovers of high fantasy, slower starting series, 'time-stepping',inherited magic/magical ppl
I really liked this book. Although the writing is a little to dense, It was just hard to read, 50 pages felt like 100 for lack of a better description. I think Ms. Siegel just needs a better editor/proofreader.. I would have assumed, wrongly, that this was a first book.
As a series starter there is hope for betterment in the next book, and I DID like it.
The first part was better than the second. The second part seemed a bit unconnected to the character introduced in the beginning... I just feel like the story started to crumble at the end and I'm left with more questions than answers, but don't feel a drive or need to read the rest of the series. Idea was good, but it just didn't grab me.
I found this an enchanting fantasy. It was recommended to me by a member of a Susan Cooper community when we were talking about books that contain similar archetypal themes.

I can't understand why this book didn't receive wider publicity. It was a library book though now I've obtained copies of this and the other two books in the trilogy.
I first read this book years ago and really enjoyed it. Somehow it is one of those books where the story line sticks with you, and I always remember the distinctive cover art. It is well written and after rereading it again recently, it is just as I remembered it. A magical tale filled with adventure and memorable characters.
Cathleen Ash
A capricious mermaid starts a centuries old problem, and Fern and Will (brother and sister) must solve it – or else! There’s a key, a heath (English countryside talk) and the mystery of Atlantis, all rolled into one great tale of excitement and adventure. A must read for any who like mystery, adventure, and a touch of the fantastic.
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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)
The Dragon Charmer (Fern Capel, #2) The Witch Queen (Fern Capel, #3) The Way of the Witch (Fern Capel, #1-3) The Devil's Apprentice The Greenstone Grail: The Sangreal Trilogy One

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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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