Review – The Prince of Mist by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: W&N/Orion (27 May 2010)
  • Language English
  • ISBN-10: 0297856421
  • ISBN-13: 978-0297856429
  • My Rating = B+

    I truly believe that Carlos Ruiz Zafon and I are fated to be together forever – or should that be the novels of Carlos Ruiz Zafon and I – that would suit me fine!  The Shadow of the Wind is one of my all time favourites – a very generous Book Fairy sent me an ARC of The Angel’s Game and now I have been fortunate enough to receive a proof copy of The Prince of Mist but would it meet my high expectations…

    Firstly, I think that this is very much a teen/YA novel so anyone expecting the complexity of Zafon’s previous two novels would be disappointed and would probably do better to wait for his next proper “adult” book.  However, I love YA, fantasy type tales and it was very interesting to see how this, Zafon’s first novel (1993),  has informed his later more adult novels as the author himself states in the foreword ”When I look back at everything I have written since, I feel that the seed of it all was contained in this little novel”.

    It is 1943 when the watchmaker, Maximilian Carver decides to uproot his family from their city home and to resettle in a quiet coastal town where they can lead a more peaceful existence….or will they?  In this tale, at times reminiscent of Enid Blyton’s  Famous Five,  the young Max (13), his older sister Alicia and their new found friend, Roland embark on an adventure which will eventually climax in their confronting The Prince of Mist, a shadowy, infernal figure who has returned to settle an ancient debt.  I must admit to being scared at times (I’m a bit of a wimp..) as there are some very tense moments especially with some mysterious moving statues on the scene.  Zafon is certainly an expert at cranking up the suspense and making the unimaginable seem quite feasible thanks to his fast paced storytelling and vivid descriptions.

    I think it is important to mention that The Prince of Mist has been expertly translated from the original Spanish by Lucia Graves and her translation is just as flowing as in Zafon’s other two novels published in English.  Yes, this is a book targetted at a young audience but if you enjoy a good story without too much hand wringing psychology then this will do the trick – I do love novels which succeed in removing me from my humdrum existence even for just 208 pages!

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    1. Andrew ipswichblade says:

      Excellent review, Teresa its another one for the ever growing TBR

    2. admin says:

      Thank you, Andrew. It’s a keeper for me but I was thinking of sending it on a mini-tour around the people who mentioned an interest in it on RiSi. It’s a short read so it could do the rounds quite quickly! Do you fancy reading it?

    3. Andrew ipswichblade says:

      An offer I can’t refuse! I will pm you on RISI

    4. Andrew ipswichblade says:

      Just to say everything you say about this book is correct and it is a wonderful story. The publishers who “discovered” this author must feel like they have struck gold!!

    5. Elaine Dingsdale says:

      Am very much looking forward to reading this one-thanks for sharing it. Am sure it will live up to expectations, and your excellent review. He’s certainly an incredible author.

    6. admin says:

      Hope you enjoy it, Elaine. I know I keep harping on about this but it is a children’s story so it won’t have the depth and complexity of Shadow etc but his storytelling skill still shines through.

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