Prospero Lost by L. Jagi Lamplighter (Prospero’s Daughter #1) (DNF)

Title: Prospero Lost
Series Title: Prospero’s Daughter
Author: L. Jagi Lamplighter
Date Added: June 19, 2016
Date Started: February 11, 2017
Date Unfinished: March 18, 2017
Reading Duration: 35 days
Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 352
Publication Date:
August 14, 2009
Publisher: Tor Books
Media:
Hardback
Progress: 38%/135 pages

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….


It’s well known I’m in love with the works of Shakespeare, though I haven’t yet read The Tempest this is based on.  Miranda and co not only inspired The Bard in the world of Prospero Lost, but they use the play as a mythology to in which to conceal themselves.  Since people believe Shakespeare made it up, the information therein is obfuscated by fable, and Prospero Inc., the family company, is allowed to do its good works unhindered.

The main character Miranda, her father Prospero, and most of her siblings are immortal and have been alive for 500 years, aided by the power of magic staffs the sorcerer crafted.  Of course like most magical objects, they’re coveted and sought after by nefarious agents, in this case the Shadowed Ones who are more than likely the cause of Prospero’s disappearance.  This is the catalyst for the story that sends Miranda on a worldwide search with only her mentally unstable brother Mephistopheles and her aerie servant Mab for company and succor.

The concept behind this story is interesting, but one of the major issues with the novel is how much is introduced.  Since the Prospero family has been prosperous (I’m not sorry) for 500 or so years, there’s a great deal of history there, and the author attempts to reveal it in exposition throughout.  However, this occurs as dreaded info dumps that take you out of the mise en scene far too often.  I’m usually okay with exposition/author explanation, but it was so egregious and long-winded in this case.  There’s obviously a huge history there, but the way it’s presented is it too haphazard and random.  Miranda will start to ponder something that happened in the far past for several paragraphs, and it messes with the flow of the story.  Ms. Lamplighter also uses exclamation points a bit too liberally.

I also wish there’d been more about the company, Prospero Inc., and the work they do in it rather than just brief mentions and exposition.  The blurb states that they use their magic for the good of the world, but there were no examples of this in the novel itself.  It’s another example of showing instead of telling.

Despite this I didn’t declare this DNF due to dislike, but rather because it wasn’t quite holding my interest at the time.  I’m hoping to finish it at some point in the future, as there were numerous plot points introduced that I’m curious about.  The author also did a great job differentiating the siblings (that were introduced), which can be a daunting task when you have multiple ones.

I may read Shakespeare’s The Tempest before I return, since it relies heavily on that narrative and having it in my mental lexicon might make the beat points in Prospero Lost more pronounced, easier to digest, and I may be more forgiving towards the extensive exposition.

No rating for this since it’s Unfinished and I intend to remedy that one day.  I do have a rating in mind (as I usually do with most novels by the time I get to a certain point), but I’ll leave it until such time as it’s complete.

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Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley (Magonia #1) (DNF)

This is an unfinished book review as I did not complete the book in question.  Sometimes a story doesn’t hold my interest enough or there’s a a fatal flaw in the writing that makes it impossible for me to read; however, I feel that I should still put up my impressions of the story and explain why I was unable to make it through.  These reviews will vary in length depending on how much of the novel I was able to complete.

Title: Magonia
Series Title: Magonia
Author: Maria Dahvana Headley
Date Added: January 31, 2016
Date Started: October 1, 2016
Date Completed: November 16, 2016
Percentage Read: 50%
Genre: YA, Fantasy

Pages: 309
Publication Date: April 28, 2015
Medium: Hardback

Aza Ray is drowning in thin air.

Since she was a baby, Aza has suffered from a mysterious lung disease that makes it ever harder for her to breathe, to speak—to live.

So when Aza catches a glimpse of a ship in the sky, her family chalks it up to a cruel side effect of her medication. But Aza doesn’t think this is a hallucination. She can hear someone on the ship calling her name.

Only her best friend, Jason, listens. Jason, who’s always been there. Jason, for whom she might have more-than-friendly feelings. But before Aza can consider that thrilling idea, something goes terribly wrong. Aza is lost to our world—and found, by another. Magonia.

Above the clouds, in a land of trading ships, Aza is not the weak and dying thing she was. In Magonia, she can breathe for the first time. Better, she has immense power—and as she navigates her new life, she discovers that war is coming. Magonia and Earth are on the cusp of a reckoning. And in Aza’s hands lies the fate of the whole of humanity—including the boy who loves her. Where do her loyalties lie?


This book struck me as combination of John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars (which if you’re new to my blog, I absolutely adore) and Ubisoft’s Child of Light (which I also absolutely adore).  The latter due to the main character Aza’s “sickness catching up to her” and “being lost to this world,” but found by another.  That’s exactly what happens to Aurora in Lemuria.  The former mentioned is in the text itself.  Aza’s mien reminds me of Hazel’s sardonic whimsy in the face of tragedy.  Since these are two of my favorite stories, I was pretty well invested in this book.  Aza is a bit more over the top in her presumptuousness than Hazel, and it seemed more like the author was making her ostentatious for its sake alone.  Some would say the same about Fault, but I felt there was enough substance in the subtext to reign it in.

I still held out interest until the story shifted to Aza in Magonia.  Absolutely none of the characters there are likeable.  This could be because they’re not fleshed out or it could be because the author is trying to keep this air of mystery around their world.  No one will tell Aza anything, so subsequently we as readers know even less.  They are hollow as the bones of a bird, and there’s really no intrigue about them.  If one is going to do the “stranger in a strange land”” motif, the stranger needs to be informed about the land in which they find themselves, and we, as the readers, are along for the ride.  Without this information, we’re all just muddling along.

From the blurb it appears as though the author is attempting to set up a “should I stay or should I go” paradigm for Aza where she needs to decide if she’ll stay in her original, but newly found world or return to the “alien” world she’s always known.  Essentially, she’ll need to choose sides.  If this is the case, there’s much lacking, because at the point I stopped, I just wanted her to go home to her parents and potential love interest Jason, the latter who was far more interesting than anyone in the sky.  Because none of these characters are endearing, I don’t care about their struggles or the war for their world the blurb speaks of.  Why should I want Aza to stay amongst and fight for a people who tell her nothing, but expect her to know everything?  It was as annoying as it was unfair.  Now it’s possible that by the end, the reasons for their reluctance to inform might have become clear, but that doesn’t answer the issue of likability.  I found the same issue in a greater scale with The Maze Runner where none of the characters had much of a personality to cling to.  In Magonia, this is less of a case.  The (sky) characters have some semblance of personality; they’re just not likable.

I declared DNF at exactly halfway through.  I didn’t hate it; it just didn’t hold my interest very well, and I have too many books on my list to read.

Let me know what you thought of it if you read it!  I’m curious how others took the novel.  Feel free to spoil it for me in the comments, just mark spoiler for everyone else.

2.5 stars.

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The Girl With All the Gifts by M. R. Carey (DNF)

Title: The Girl With All the Gifts
Author: M.R. Carey
Genre: Post-Apocalyptic/Dystopian
Date Added: Unknown
Date Started: Unknown
Date Finished: June 19, 2014
Percentage Read: 36%

Pages: 460
Publication Date: January 14, 2014
Media: Kindle

“Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite, but they don’t laugh.

Melanie loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children’s cells. She tells her favorite teacher all the things she’ll do when she grows up. Melanie doesn’t know why this makes Miss Justineau look sad.”


Unbeknownst to me before today, M.R. Carey comes with high acclaim.  He wrote Lucifer and Hellblazer, the latter of which is what the movie Constantine was based on.  Constantine was my favorite movie for many years.

I was extremely intrigued by this book; it was a different take on a familiar paradigm *spoiler* zombies *end spoiler* especially since I’ve never seen one as the main (and a sympathetic) character *spoiler* save for the movie Warmbodies, which I haven’t seen. *end spoiler*

Once the truth about Melanie came out, I lost interest, and I’m not really sure why.  The book is well written with a compelling plot, destitute setting, and unsure resolution.  From what I read of the reviews the ending is bittersweet, but beautiful.  I more than likely hit a slow spot in the narrative, and had I kept going, may have found the intrigue that rushed me through the beginning again.  At this point, though, I think I will leave it as an unfinished that I highly recommend.

3 stars.

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