Most of Caryl Cude Mullin’s Rough Magic takes place on a magical island, the home of sirens and air spirits. When an exiled Queen bent on revenge and accumulating more power takes control of the island’s magic the fate of its inhabitants is left for the islands own control.
Chiara, a young Princess with an interest and talent for magic, is ordered by her father to marry a Spanish Prince for his own ambition. Caliban serves as Chiara’s teacher, servant, and the closest thing she’s emotionally had to a father. Calypso, another young woman who later in the story finds the island is the daughter of a witch and has been wandering the seas searching for a purpose to her life.
Much can’t be said about these characters as they are written flat and one-sided. Main character Caliban isn’t much of the hero we may expect him to be, and Chiara a girl whom, for most of her personality, is submissive and meek from her introduction to the story suddenly becomes cold and harsh at its end.
While I enjoyed this book to an extent, I was also slightly disappointed with it. Rough Magic_’s plot is tedious and slow. It lacks the necessary action that defines the fantasy genre. Furthermore, the characters on occasion are repetitive in their thoughts. If you read the back cover you are informed that this story was inspired by Shakespeare’s The Tempest, the novel does indeed closely resemble the play, but still anything affiliated with that of the bard’s works is always put up to high expectations such as a similar almost mimicking style in dialoged and prose while keeping to modern changes. For this reviewer, Rough Magic falls short of such expectations.