Book Review: The Prince of Mist by Carl Ruiz Zafon

The Prince of Mist

Unlike most book loving types I have never read anything by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.  I’ve always thought I should and have often lingered over ‘The Shadow of the Wind’ in book shops but have never felt able to commit. I’m not really sure why.  I’ve written before about the joy I get from being part of a book club, and yet again my book club has introduced me to a book and author I may never have chosen myself.

Carlos Ruiz Zafon is known for his adult novels.  The Prince of Mist, his first novel is the first of four written for a young adult audience.  Another reason I suspect I would have been unlikely to choose this novel.

This is a ghost story set in 1943 during the second world war.  Max Carver, his sisters and mother are taken by his father away from the city to the supposed safety of the countryside.  He moves them to an old wooden house in a seemingly idyllic location by the sea.  Soon after moving in strange things begin to happen.  Voices and shadows swirl around the house, Max’s sister is involved in a serious and supposed accident and gradually stories of the previous owners of the house and the disappearance of their son emerge.

Max soon realises things are not as they first seemed.  He discovers a garden full of eerie statues and gradually finds himself embroiled in a battle with the Prince of Mist as he seeks to uncover the truth of the secrets that shroud his house. This story is creepy in parts, it is magical and mystical and it  kept me turning the pages, but I can’t say I found it scary .  I appreciate I’m not an experienced reader of ghost stories, or young adult novels but I suspect someone who was might be left wanting to feel a little more ‘scared’

Carlos Ruiz Zafon wrote this novel as the sort of story he would have wanted to read as a teenager.  I’m unsure if I would have enjoyed this as a teenager, however I did enjoy it as an adult and reading ‘The Prince of Mist’ has given me an extra prod in the direction of Ruiz Zafon’s novels .  I may now give ‘The Shadow of the Wind’ more than a cursory glance next time I’m in a book shop.

image via changing-pages

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