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Miranda and Caliban    by Jacqueline Carey order for
Miranda and Caliban
by Jacqueline Carey
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2017 (2017)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

I've long enjoyed Jacqueline Carey's novels, from her brilliant Kushiel and Sundering fantasy series to her near future Santa Olivia. Here's something different yet again in Miranda and Caliban - a new look at Shakespeare's The Tempest from the point of view of two young people who grow up together on the isolated island ruled with a fist of iron by mage Prospero.

Carey succeeds in remaining true to the original while developing a very different sort of story, with empathy and heart. She tells her tale from the alternating points of view of the young (and very lonely) Miranda and the wild boy, Caliban, whom she always tries to protect from her controlling, tyrannical father. Miranda has only a few memories of a different life before her father brought her to this island.

Though claiming to love his small daughter, cruel Prospero (obsessed with his plans for vengeance against those who banished him) keeps his plans secret and punishes any disobedience with pain, applied magically by means of hairs from her head. He uses the same technique after he lures Caliban (abandoned son of the witch Sycorax) into his service and forces him to reveal information needed to release the malign spirit Ariel.

Friendship grows between the children as they work, play - and suffer - together. Though Ariel warns Miranda, 'Thou art the shoals on which Caliban wilt dash his heart to pieces', she fails to understand. Then Miranda becomes a woman and her father's plans come to fruition, while she feels 'as insubstantial as a leaf born on the rushing stream of Papa's formidable will.'

But, though his punishment almost killed her once, she disobeys him one last time before she and Caliban are parted. Miranda and Caliban is a remarkable retelling, highly recommended!

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