I usually confine my non-Catholic book related reviews to Goodreads, but there is enough intersection here to make an exception.
Being a dutiful and loyal fanboy of John C. Wright when I read that his wife had her own published books I was suitably enough impressed by the reviews to add them to my wish list. Being that my wish list is much like an infinite number set I finally just got around to reading the three books in the trilogy. In fact only the first book was released when I added it.
The books take their cue from Shakespeare’s The Tempest and include the characters of the sorcerer Prospero, his daughter Miranda, the foul traitor Antonio along with some of the airy spirits. The events take place in more modern days and Prospero has gone on to have other children who because of the water of life live on to this day. While the outline of the events in The Tempest provide a grounding for the plot it goes onto include the blending of other myths into an intriguing outline that gives it a lot of scope. Some of these blending of myths was beautifully done and one intersection of this happening in the first book still makes me smile when I think of it.
As the titles suggest something has happened to their father the “dread magician” Prospero and Miranda must gather up the family forces to rescue him. The family though over the last century had started to go their own ways with competing interests and various sibling rivalries. The brothers and sisters range as a cast of characters and includes one similar to Circe , one who had been Pope twice, and another one who is rather scatterbrain, but quite fun. So while you have your basic quest story nowhere along the way do you feel you are following an already well-traveled path. There are plenty of mysteries and suppositions that get made throughout as the band of brothers and sisters and and characters discover they are not quite sure what their father was up to. The airy spirit that looks remarkably like Sam Spade acts as a detective and helps Miranda to find her brothers and sisters and the various clues of what happened to her father.
I really enjoyed the first book which had my full attention throughout and was happy to find that the following books got even better. I just so enjoyed the interplay of the characters and there was just so much to keep you guessing as to how everything is going to resolve. The world building with Elves, Fairies, Angels and Demons is quite consistent and much attention is also given to the moral quality of acts along with a theological worldview partly Christian with a Pagan tint to it. Like many books that as part of them involve the rescuing of someone in Hell their is a view that those in Hell can be redeemed. That view was involved here, but not in the ham-handed way it is usually done and involves an interesting solution reminiscent of Hans Urs von Balthasar with its own twist. I certainly don’t expect fantasy novels to be theologically perfect, but this one within the confines of the plot has some Christian theological sensitivity. There are certainly some Catholic elements involved.
A very satisfying story from beginning to end and when she comes out with another book I am not going to add it to my wish list limbo, but acquire it right away.