I stumbled upon this book at my daughter s school library thinking that it might be fun to read a magical, adventure story Yes there was magic and adventure, but it also had one of the scariest and horrific sounding ghost that truly frighten me I felt sensations that I hadn t felt in years Reading this sent shivers up my spine, put goose pimples on my arms, and it had me screeching like a little girl.The book starts at a nice steady pace when Max Carver s father decides to move his wife and three children from the city to an abandoned seaside beach house to protect his family from the ongoing war But as Max and his family arrive at their new town and home, he notices some peculiar things are starting to happen Clocks that seem to move backward, that feeling of someone breathing on your face, voices only children can hear, and circus statues that change shape and positions The house itself has a devastating history, and Max being a curious young boy starts snooping around It almost felt like he had woken or disturbed something As time goes by the pace does build as the Carver children and their new friend Roland struggle to defend themselves against payback from this dark sinister entity.Like Mr Zafon s previous books Shadow of the Wind, and Angels Game he has a knack of creating this eerie, gothic atmosphere, but at the same time is beautiful At the beginning of the book Mr Zafon said it was aimed at young reader, but would also appeal to all ages Well I think he has achieved it I personally thought it was wonderful, and I would recommend it to ages from 12 years old onwards. Wow, I am NEVER EVER going to watch Paranormal Activity.Several scenes early in this book were SO SCARY that I had to put the book down to read something lighter to de creep myself before I could fall asleep So, at least until I start living with other people again, I m not allowed to read watch anything scarier than this So yeah, it s creepy As soon as the creepiness is explained, I was fine, so it really was just a few early scenes, but I m an anticipation person and the unknown creeps me out.Anyway, it s a translated book, and that occasionally shows with awkward turns of phrase But there are also some really lovely phrases that impressed me so much that I had to grab a pen Really beautiful writing at times I liked that this combined a nonspecific location with historical fiction and the paranormal element There s a lot going here.And I ll put it on my maybe booktalk list for next time I hit the middle schools One of those nights, I put down this book to look up and see a giant spider I would include a picture, but researching exactly which type is creeping me out too much on my ceiling My life is so hard. A Mysterious House Harbors An Unimaginable Secret It S Wartime, And The Carver Family Decides To Leave The Capital Where They Live And Move To A Small Coastal Village Where They Ve Recently Bought A Home But From The Minute They Cross The Threshold, Strange Things Begin To Happen In That Mysterious House There Still Lurks The Spirit Of Jacob, The Previous Owners Son, Who Died By DrowningWith The Help Of Their New Friend Roland, Max And Alicia Carver Begin To Explore The Suspicious Circumstances Of That Death And Discover The Existence Of A Mysterious Being Called The Prince Of Mist A Diabolical Character Who Has Returned From The Shadows To Collect On A Debt From The Past Soon The Three Friends Find Themselves Caught Up In An Adventure Of Sunken Ships And An Enchanted Stone Garden, Which Will Change Their Lives Forever This novel was originally written for people at all ages, but it was published as a YA novel It is the first book ever written by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, and it is a ghost story All of the above mentioned reason made me curious to read it and see if it would scare me as much as I was hoping for Having now read it, I have to admit that while it was a good enough story, it was also quite predictable, and it didn t scare me at all I m not even sure that it would ve scared me when I was younger, just because it contains so many of the scary elements that you are used to in horror fiction In my opinion, you can sense that this is Zafon s first written novel The story isn t that strong, and the characters are rather flat Still, it did entertain me, and it is after all a very short read, so definitely pick it up if you are a fan of Zafon or if you just happen to be interested in this ghost story. 3.5 starsIn an infinite universe, there were too many things that escaped human understandingInitial Final Page Thoughts.Um so no one thought to ring the police or tell any grown ups what just happened We re just going to look back on it as if it was just a crazy summer mad cap adventure Um High Points.Max I ve been acquainted with a lot of Maxs recently and I have to say it s a good name Beach houses Roland Alicia Cats in wardrobes Genuinely creepy Beautiful writing, seriously this book was cinematic Sunbeams filtered through the water in veils of nebulous light that swayed gently with the motion of the waves and the surface was transformed into an opaque dancing mirror See I took down so many quotes from this book, it was gorgeous The sea Statues Family mysteries Old film projections Creepy history The prince of mist Low Points.I won t go on about this too much because there are spoilers poised ready to explode like a particularly vicious game of Minesweeper But well, when you finish a book with about fifteen questions no joke, I have them written down in front of me that you want to ask so you understand it well, it s not good.There was so much that didn t get explained and the story was so great and so different and mysterious and intriguing and everything This book needed a good 150 pages to really get into the story and do Mr Zafon s ideas justice.Because, I m sorry to say, there were so many gaps in the plot.Also I m 87% sure there would have been a massive investigation into what happened in the last 30 or so pages I mean it s kind of a big deal.And it wasn t as if it was subtle Hero.OK Max, you had the right idea in this book You were extremely aware that you weren t getting the whole story and you stood up for yourself when you thought you were getting short changed.We had that in common I mean, we ve finished the book now and I still have questions.Lots of them.But ignoring that, I really liked you I liked that you loved films and that you were a great little brother and that you were a bit disgruntled with being third wheel I also liked that you didn t freak out and go catatonic when all the mental stuff happened in the end Because that s what I would have done and the book would have been extremely boring if I had been the heroine.I also liked that you got out of breath when you rode your bike up the hill Because that is me.So if we were to be friends, and I hope we will be, we could just maybe go for a leisurely walk Maybe even up a slight incline if we re feeling a bit adventurous Theme Tune.Death of a Clown by The Kinks.Not really anything to do with this book but, well, I really hate clowns.Also, I had no idea what other song I could use for this book Also x2 I love The Kinks.Scaredy Cat Level Off the chart.I know a lot of people will be like Um, Jo, it s 200 pages long and it s about circus performers and sunken ships and beaches how can you be creeped out by this book Well, my friends, I ll tell you.Gather round, grab a brew, pull up a pew and I ll tell you a story about Jack A Nory Um, actually I won t.I don t mean to mislead you this story will be why this book really freaked me out STORY TIME which, when I ve reached my eventual point, may contain a smidgeon of a spoiler For as long as I can remember I ve had an irrational fear of ships big ships Especially when they re out of water You should see me when I watch the Titanic Coming from a city and avoiding the Manchester Ship Canal like the plague, my fear was manageable I could quite happily avoid seeing them That was until I went to university You may or may not know that I went studied in Bangor, North Wales It s a lovely university in a city because it has a cathedral and a university that s it that is famous for having the second longest pier in Wales and producing Aled Jones YesthatAled Jones The university is known for famous alumni such as Helen Fielding also, apparently, Bridget Jones herself and Danny Boyle We had the same lecturer so technically I m going to win an Oscar right.And it can boast some fantastic honorary fellows such as Richard Attenborough, Rhys Ifans, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Philip Pullman been in the same room as him twice and yes, fangirled myself out and and Carol Vorderman It is also known for fantastic degrees in psychology and marine biology due to its location and the close proximity it has to the Menai Straits I did English with Film Studies because I like to be different, obviously also science and I fell out when I was 17But anyway, getting to the point, at least 75% of my closest friends take took marine biology and a lot of their course is practical.So they like to dive, in lovely exotic places like Egypt and just off Puffin Island.And they like to take pictures.Of huge ships underwater.And my Facebook feed is inundated with them when they come back from a dive.And it s pretty much my worst nightmare Also, on the train journey from Chester to Bangor I d say around Flint or Rhyl, if you know the area there is this mahuuuusive beached ship that you can see from the train I always ask my friend to tell me when I can look out of the window again but, because she s sadistic and cruel, she always says Oh you can look out now and I do and BOOM There s a ghost ship in my eye line.I m not a fan of big ships.Or clowns But surely I don t need to explain that do I I mean you have eyes right So when they re all swimming around in the hull of a possessed sunken ship with a clown who can seemingly hold his breath longer than Mr Threepwood yeah I wasn t pleased, I ll tell you Normal people Most people will think that isn t scary at all but I m not normal most people Recommended For.People who love beautiful, atmospheric writing People who don t mind a lot of some unanswered questions People who don t look at statutes and immediately think Oh my god, is that going to come alive when I turn my back People who aren t afraid of boats clowns clocks People who aren t scared of that Dr Who episode Blink,is it that I haven t seen but my friend told me about urgh People who are quite happy to paddle in the sea as opposed to diving amongst ship wrecks on their jollies This book was sent to me as part of a book tour with the brilliant and lovely UK Book Tours You can read this review and lots of other exciting things on my blog here. This was my first Ruiz book and it was fantastic I recommend the audio book, it was very well done and even features music from Ru z s own compositions It almost had an Alfred Hitchcock feel to it Just really good This is the first book I ve EVER read in Spanish and I didn t struggle with it after having studied it for roughly 6 months so I don t really know what that says about the writing, lol Seriously though, I m feeling oddly vindicated that conversely, reading novels in German still gives me headaches when I ve started learning it at 12 but My native language is French and I studied Latin, so that helps a lot when Spanish is concerned, I guess.This said, even though it s shelved as YA on Goodreads, this book very much reads like a Middle Grade horror story and I d recommend it to 12 years olds, despite the somewhat unfinished ending and the insta love but the romance aspect is barely present, so it didn t really bother me I wished I knew going in that there would be a fucking evil clown, though Ew. The latest of Carlos Ruiz Zaf n s works to be translated into English is also the first book the author had published It was originally intended for teenagers, but this edition is clearly being marketed towards the author s adult fans it has the same cover design as his adult titles, and a preface explains that it is designed to be enjoyed by readers of any age I didn t go into this with high expectations, and I expected it to be kind of immature, but I still found it very disappointing The story begins promisingly A young boy, Max, moves with his family from the city to a seaside town He quickly learns that the previous owners of his new home were dogged by tragedy, and on top of that, he finds a sinister walled garden full of statues in its grounds He s particularly spooked by a clown statue, and during his exploration of the garden, he notices that this figure appears to have moved slightly since his arrival, changing its pose to a beckoning gesture Great detail would have scared me as a child He then befriends a local boy called Roland, who takes him diving around the wreck of a sunken ship and from Roland s grandfather, the only survivor of the shipwreck, Max learns the story of the nefarious Cain, the Prince of Mist The stage is set for a chilling tale about a ghost ship, a powerful villain, mysterious disappearances and so on technically, this should make a fantastic spooky story However, the book soon begins to get quite silly and and plot holes and unanswered questions pop up, until it all becomes totally unbelievable and rather boring For instance Who or what is Cain and how has he attained his power How do he and his troupe turn themselves into statues and why is this the only way for them to survive the sinking of their ship Is Cain s cat meant to be a manifestation of him, and if so, how can he also be the statue, and if not, how did it alone survive the disaster intact The whole evil cat thing is such a boring clich anyway, and really put me off from the start If Jacob was old enough to be filming with a video camera alone prior to his change of identity, how on earth can he not remember anything before his parents death I KNOW you can t expect a young adult book to explain everything exhaustively, but when I think of the detail and care so obviously put into the better examples of children s literature I can call to mind, that isn t really an excuse for the plot to be SO underdeveloped The other thing that really grated was the indeterminate sense of time and place, which was confusing as I couldn t see any reason why the story shouldn t be definitively set in a real country, at least I don t know if details have been changed here to make the story easy to relate to for English language readers if so, this was a mistake Finally, there s also the fact that the adult characters are constantly referred to by their full names don t ask me why, but this is one of my biggest pet hates when reading I m still interested in the author s work and will probably read any further adult novels translated into English, mainly on the strength of The Angel s Game But I will be giving his YA fiction a category I believe the forthcoming Midnight Palace falls into a miss. Original read June 2012Re read January 2016Third Read July August 2018High praises to the narrator Jonathan Davis he did a wonderful job with the narration, specially with Kane.The sound effects add a creepy factor to the story at times one part for me especially had me looking over my shoulder to make sure Kane wasn t behind me Even on third read Would love to see of Kane again one day crosses fingers The interview at the audiobook s end was a plus as well Some samples of the beautiful writingAge makes you notice certain things For example, I now know that a man s life is broadly divided into three periods During the first, it doesn t even occur to us that one day we will grow old, we don t think that time passes or that from the day we are born we re all walking toward a common end After the first years of youth comes the second period, in which a person becomes aware of the fragility of life and what begins like a simple niggling doubt rises inside you like a flood of uncertainties that will stay with you for the rest of your days Finally, toward the end of life, the period of acceptance begins, and, consequently, of resignation, a time of waiting Max had once read in one of his father s books that some childhood images become engraved in the mind like photographs, like scenes you can return to again and again and will always remember, no matter how much time goes by Max would never forget that faraway summer when, almost by chance, he discovered magic Years later, as he remembered the scene, his family wandering to and fro with their bags while he sat in a corner clutching the watch his father had given him, Max knew that this was the day he left his childhood behind In the twilight, Max had to strain his eyes to make out what he was seeing It appeared to be an abandoned garden A garden of statues Max was hypnotised by the strange vision of the figures trapped in the undergrowth, locked inside a walled garden that reminded him of a village graveyardI will never tire of singing this man s praises, his writing is one of the first ones for me when I am in a funk It is so easy to sink into his stories and get lost, and this one is no exception.It isn t my favorite of his novels I couldn t get as into it even though I enjoyed the story I remember reading the author s note and afterwards being very impressed with this a first novel With this and each of the his other ones Watcher, Midnight Palace, Mariana you can see his writing grow each time and him honing his craft. Who would have thought that Zafon, best known for The Shadow of the Wind and The Angel s Game, started his writing life as a young adult author Now that he has achieved fame his publisher is bring these back in English translation, some of which won YA awards in Spain I picked it up without knowing it was a YA book.The story is a spooky mystery based around the main character, a pre teen boy, his older sister and the boy s older friend It is set in a coastal village in Spain just before WW II So within the first few pages we have a railway station clock running backwards And I thought I get it Harry Potter And it was very Harry Potterish With the war pending, the boy s father decides to move the family out of the big city to a coastal village At first the family is unaware that the last boy who lived in that house drowned We have a sunken ship in shallow water that the kids dive to and pick up treasures a cemetery of circus freak statues that move and change position an evil cat that sends a little girl into a coma an ancient mariner who built his own lighthouse an old film projector in the basement and old films that start showing current events Of course the boy s sister and the older friend fall in love.You don t read a YA book for its literary value, so you get some clich s and lame analogies, like this on page 2 when the boy learns they are going to move To him, the news felt like a mad steam train hurtling through a china shop His mind went blank, his mouth sagged, and his eyes glazed over I m not a YA reader but I thought it was a good story and it kept my interest.
Carlos Ruiz Zaf n is a Spanish novelist Born in Barcelona in 1964, he has lived in Los ngeles, United States, since 1994, and works as a scriptwriter aside from writing novels.His first novel, El pr ncipe de la niebla The Prince of Mist, 1993 , earned the Edeb literary prize for young adult fiction He is also the author of three young adult novels, El palacio de la medianoche 1994 , Las
- 218 pages
- El príncipe de la niebla
- Carlos Ruiz Zafón
- 25 January 2019 Carlos Ruiz Zafón