Synopsis: Miranda is a lonely child. For as long as she can remember, she and her father have lived in isolation in the abandoned Moorish palace. There are chickens and goats, and a terrible wailing spirit trapped in a pine tree, but the elusive wild boy who spies on her from the crumbling walls and leaves gifts on their doorstep is the isle’s only other human inhabitant. There are other memories, too: vague, dream-like memories of another time and another place. There are questions that Miranda dare not ask her stern and controlling father, who guards his secrets with zealous care: Who am I? Where did I come from? The wild boy Caliban is a lonely child, too; an orphan left to fend for himself at an early age, all language lost to him. When Caliban is summoned and bound into captivity by Miranda’s father as part of a grand experiment, he rages against his confinement; and yet he hungers for kindness and love.
Review: I really liked all the books written by Jacqueline Carey, whether it’s in the fantasy genre with Kushiel or the urban fantasy one with Agent of Hel. The author is indeed able to construct unique worlds that make us discover many surprises. We find her with Miranda and Caliban once again in a new fantasy universe and I confess that I was curious to see what she was going to present us.
We follow four characters in this novel and the narrative is shared between the two main protagonists Miranda and Caliban. We discover them very young, 6 years for Miranda and we watch them evolve little by little. This little girl lives with her father on a desert island that hides many secrets. Indeed, it seems that this severe and strict man has big plans for his daughter and these do not concern Caliban. But he would still like to educate this wild boy to make one of his servants. It is thus that we discover a little more about Caliban in some of the chapters, while he discovers the words and that he adapts to his new environment. Only children, they will grow together although a limit is quickly established between them, well maintained by Miranda’s father, without being able to prevent the feelings of being born.
It is touching to see these two children evolve, discover themselves and finally have a friend to confide in. It is a little sad to see how her father behaves with them, thinking only of what he could gain and not hesitating to bewitch or punish atrociously if he thinks he has the right to do so. Did I forget to mention the last character? Ariel … imprisoned by Caliban’s mother, he is released and enslaved, this powerful spirit that does not hesitate to torment our two young people.
It was an interesting and intriguing reading, although it rather lays the foundations of the story and leads to many questions that I hope will be solved in part in the second volume. I am curious to see where the author will lead us and see what Miranda and Caliban are going to do.