“More than four hundred years after the events of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, the sorcerer Prospero, his daughter Miranda, and his other children have attained everlasting life. Miranda is the head of her family’s business, Prospero Inc., which secretly has used its magic for good around the world. One day, Miranda receives a warning from her father: “Beware of the Three Shadowed Ones.” When Miranda goes to her father for an explanation, he is nowhere to be found.
Miranda sets out to find her father and reunite with her estranged siblings, each of which holds a staff of power and secrets about Miranda’s sometimes-foggy past. Her journey through the past, present and future will take her to Venice, Chicago, the Caribbean, Washington, D.C., and the North Pole. To aid her, Miranda brings along Mab, an aerie being who acts like a hard-boiled detective, and Mephistopheles, her mentally-unbalanced brother. Together, they must ward off the Shadowed Ones and other ancient demons who want Prospero’s power for their own….”
I’ve been on a bit of a Shakespeare kick the last two weeks: Will last week and Prospero Lost this week. I read most of it on a bus from London to Toronto – I started reading as soon as I sat down and didn’t stop until over 2 hours later when the bus pulled into the station. It was THAT good.
I really enjoyed The Tempest when I read it a few years ago, so I was already familiar with the “original”. But Lamplighter took these characters and gave them a whole new identity – in the best way possible. We don’t actually meet Prospero, but Miranda, despite being 500+ years old and having magical powers, is still very human: she has flaws, she makes mistakes, she turns into a love-sick girl when faced with the man who left her at the altar centuries ago. In short, she’s marvelously well-rounded. Plus the supporting characters are fantastic.
Mab is described as the embodiment of every film noir detective ever – complete with somewhat sarcastic quips – which makes him easy to imagine. And I personally loved her crazy brother Mephisto (Mephistopheles) who not only provided comic relief but also starred in one of the most intriguing (in my opinion) sub-plots (what WAS that thing he turned into?! Why is he so crazy?! How did he get the thing back from the guys?!).
I loved the writing style: Lamplighter perfectly balanced lighthearted anecdotes with darker moments, and occasionally incorporated back-story that added to the plot instead of slowing it down. The pacing was also great: there was never a dull moment and (as cliched as it sounds) it was hard to put the book down. You know how sometimes you can tell a book is going to be awesome by the first five pages? This was definitely the case with Prospero Lost. It ended with enough of a cliffhanger that I am desperate to buy (or rather, get Ro to buy, since I borrowed it from her) the sequel.