Miranda and Caliban
by Jacqueline Carey
Cover Artist: Tran Nguyen
Review by Mel Jacob
Tor Books Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780765386793
Date: 14 February 2017 List Price $25.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Noted author Jacqueline Carey offers a lyrical retelling of Shakespeare's The Tempest in that it humanizes Caliban, but doesn't change his sad fate. All are bound by Prospero and are fated to face betrayal and hurt, especially Caliban. This retelling brings the characters to life and makes Prospero's actions even darker.
Love, desire, ambition, and greed drive the action. This not a story for children, but teens might enjoy the enrichment of the play many may read in high school. It brings new dimensions to the characters and their motives. Ariel remains mischievous, but also conflicted over the role forced on him by Prospero.
Lonely, Miranda takes pity on the wild, untutored boy enslaved by Prospero. Gradually they become friends and she teaches him to speak. He gives her his undying devotion and love, but his hatred of Prospero remains. Ariel too has reason to hate Prospero, but is forced to do his bidding.
As they spend time together, the bond between Caliban and Miranda deepens. However that is not in accordance with Prospero's plans. Ariel warns the pair, but he also informs Prospero. Meanwhile, Prospero pursues his plans and casts a love spell to catch the son of a king. Miranda has some talent at painting, but she does not realize the intent or power of her work as used by Prospero.
Loneliness haunts both Caliban and Miranda and they seek each other's company frequently. As Miranda matures, her senses begin to awaken new desires. Eventually the inevitable occurs and Prospero's fury knows no bounds.
At times, Carey's language emulates Shakespeare. The point of view shifts from Miranda to Caliban and back and to Prospero as well on occasion. Ariel is mischievous, but somewhat sympathetic as he strives to obey to regain his freedom, but also shows concern for Miranda and Caliban. Carey gives The Tempest characters new dimensions. She has also published several fantasy series as well as short stories.