Miranda and Caliban by Jacqueline Carey Download (read online) free eBook .pdf.epub.kindle

Miranda and Caliban

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
Sam

Jan 20, 2017

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really liked it

Recommends it for:
Tempest fans, Shakespeare fans, retelling addicts and skeptics alike
Shelves:
2017-reads

“Thou art the shoals on which Caliban wilt dash his heart to pieces.”

Though I’m always skeptical of retellings, I usually end up reading them. Perhaps some of Prospero’s magic rubs off whenever The Tempest is invoked, as I loved Margaret Atwood’s Hag-Seed and now have had a great experience reading Miranda and Caliban. Covering Miranda and Caliban’s childhood on the island, expanding the relationships between the two of them and Prospero, and bringing us right to the titular tempest, Jacquel

Though I’m always skeptical of retellings, I usually end up reading them. Perhaps some of Prospero’s magic rubs off whenever The Tempest is invoked, as I loved Margaret Atwood’s Hag-Seed and now have had a great experience reading Miranda and Caliban. Covering Miranda and Caliban’s childhood on the island, expanding the relationships between the two of them and Prospero, and bringing us right to the titular tempest, Jacqueline Carey does a wonderful job imbuing her tale with magic and beauty, darkness and danger, echoing the dramatic nature of Shakespeare’s original. Her Miranda is innocent, tender, loving, but grows wise over time, penetrating the plans of Prospero in ways we do not see in the play. And it is her Caliban on which success really rides: subverting the noble savage and dark, ugly villain tropes of the original and also delivering him from true bondage, Caliban is certainly confused and has shame about his origins and his baser impulses, but his ideas and actions are of a fully formed man with a great capacity for faithfulness and devotion and gentleness, and his worst treachery is seen as no different on the human continuum than the greedy, vengeance-driven motives of either Prospero or his brother and the king of Naples who had previously usurped the crown.


“Ah, but now that thou knowest there is more to dream, thou wilt dare to dream it,” Ariel says softly, as softly as the wind. “Thou shouldst not, for there is only pain in it for thee.”

The love story between Miranda and Caliban begins innocently as children, and becomes complicated as each grows into adulthood and understands their respective places in the world and the futures in store for them, those both fated and fixed by Prospero. Caliban’s love for Miranda (and hers for his) is both pure and passionate therefore, rooted in years of tender friendship but made urgent and impossible by a physical and soulful longing for the other. Both are at the whims and under the thumb of Prospero, pained by his magic and his cruelty for disobedience or disappointment, and as they grow up they take pleasure in each other’s company and somewhat shared status in his household, though Miranda is his innocent daughter and Caliban learns to his chagrin he is thought of as a servant though he was free when he came to them and truly only serves Miranda in friendship and love. Miranda teaches Caliban to speak when they first find him; he repays this kindness when she has been stricken by her father and must learn again her own memories and knowledge. Ariel’s role is both a uniter and a divider of the couple: he empowers each with information and understanding of themselves and their situations, but also warns them, an audience stand in or one man Greek chorus, of the pain and impossibility of this connection, and his binding to Prospero means he is compelled to disrupt their union as much as he chafes at his bondage and in some ways helps the two together. In Carey’s hands, the island backstory of The Tempest is of star-crossed lovers worthy of Shakespeare, whose romance is doomed for a world not prepared for two disparate beings to be together, for a father with an iron grip on the outcomes and fates of others and unwilling to relinquish his plans for his daughter’s freedom or happiness to her, and men who would set themselves above other men by virtue of their birth or bearing or belief in God or gods.


“‘Tis the fine edge of a blade that divides innocence from ignorance, and methinks it a blade that will turn in thy hand and cut you one day.”

The themes are varied and interesting here: the power and magic of words and of names, freedom and servitude both forced and unwilling and otherwise, the line between innocence and ignorance, the power and strength of woman. But all appear and exist in service to the larger plot, so Carey is thought provoking without being preachy or heavy handed. Carey draws her characters well, their Shakespearean characteristics and qualities as a strong base layer, but Carey breathes her own life into them as well: Caliban’s constancy and elevation of his most positive aspects over the limited villainy he’s allotted in the play, the deepening of Ariel’s darker side and his role as informer and informant for the three humans of the island. Miranda asks rhetorically of Caliban,
“If a person does good in the name of bad all unwitting, surely God in his greatness must understand and forgive it?”
And indeed we weigh Caliban’s and Prospero’s actions from this angle and as well from the other: to what is forgiven or borne by those who do bad in the name of good? Caliban’s villainy from Carey’s perspective is easier to understand, though we (and Miranda) cannot excuse it: by Prospero he has been enslaved, made to think himself low and unworthy, been violently assaulted, had his life threatened, and ultimately has arranged for the one good of Caliban’s life to be forever lost to him. But Prospero
“sees the entire world as a game-board, and all of us lesser beings merely pieces upon it”
and his manipulation of the life of his daughter and callous enslavement of Caliban, Ariel, and the various sprites of the island in service to a plan of both vengeance and justice (it rests on a knifes edge as to which way it will tip), we do not see Prospero as maintaining the moral high ground versus Caliban and the playing field under Carey has been leveled, even if the outcome retains its imbalance.

Carey gives us some beautiful descriptions of an enchanted but also hard island upbringing, colorful and warm and emotional, from scenes in which Miranda learns not to love her animals too dearly to her encountering of paint colors in Prospero’s sanctum. The writing is clear and clean prose with an air common to works of historical fiction that also fit into contemporary tone: only Ariel retains his Shakespearean way of speaking, the rest is written in a style and voice befitting Miranda as a mostly educated young woman and an illiterate but learned Caliban whose formal education was late and incomplete but reads well and plainly into the happenings of others and his own heart. With above all strong characterization and a believable and affecting story of doomed love, Jacqueline Carey’s Miranda and Caliban is a very worthy retelling and reinvention and subversion of the original Shakespeare. And to have a heart break and feel pity but also pride for Shakespeare’s villain, now fully fleshed into a complicated creature but a true, devoted lover of Miranda is no small feat. A definite recommended read from me.

-received as an ARC on NetGalley thanks to Tor Books, in exchange for an honest review
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Bradley

Jan 03, 2017

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Thanks to Netgalley for this ARC!

There’s a lot going for this tale as long as you’re a certain type of reader. You must love Shakespeare’s Tempest, but even if you don’t, you might still get a kick out of this retelling from the points of view of Miranda and Caliban switching back and forth from early childhood through the events of the play.

I would definitely recommend this for general fans of YA fiction, for one, because most of the novel if not the action revolves around childhood friends and

There’s a lot going for this tale as long as you’re a certain type of reader. You must love Shakespeare’s Tempest, but even if you don’t, you might still get a kick out of this retelling from the points of view of Miranda and Caliban switching back and forth from early childhood through the events of the play.

I would definitely recommend this for general fans of YA fiction, for one, because most of the novel if not the action revolves around childhood friends and the stresses of growing up under one hell of an absolute tyrant who never lets his wards even guess that he controls every aspect of their lives. Oh, Prospero.

It’s fine for what it is, but if you’re aware of the play, you know that this budding tale of thwarted romance between the dark boy and the rightful Duke of Milan’s daughter, you also know that it is a tragedy.

The play is only a romance if you identify with certain characters.

This novel invites us to love Caliban, and his is definitely not a happy tale.

We’re grown-up readers, right? We can handle a bit of disappointment at the end of a book, right? This isn’t an Alternate retelling of the play. This is a straight-up retelling of the play with many added dimensions and depth, but the results are still the same.

For me? I appreciate what the book was trying to accomplish and I got a lot of out it on that level, but by the time I was invested in the tale, I was just cringing because of what I knew was going to happen.

I’m hedging on this one. I can appreciate the writing and the premise as far as that goes, but my own enjoyment was curtailed by the rest.

However, since this was the first book by the author that I’ve read and I’ve heard a lot of good things about her other works, it behooves me to pick them up and see if it was just the subject matter that was painful and not the writing. 🙂


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