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Friday, May 14, 2010

"The Prince of Mist" by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (Reviewed by Cindy Hannikman)

Visit Carlos Ruiz Zafon's Website Here
Order The Prince of Mist from Amazon US here or UK here

Author Information: Carlos Ruiz Zafon is the author of six novels, one of those most notably The Shadow of the Wind. His work has been published in over 40 countries, and translated into 30 different languages. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Edebe Award, Spain's most prestigious award for Young Adult fiction.

Overview: During wartime, Max and Alicia Carver's father has decided to move his clock repair shop from the busy central city to a more remote location. The family has been uprooted to live in a coastal town. The house that the father has chosen is the city's mysterious house where a young boy Jacob is believed to still be haunting it. Jacob died a few years before from drowning in the ocean one afternoon.

As the children become used to the household, mysterious events start to happen. It appears as if the clock in the train station moves backwards instead of forwards. There is a mysterious cemetery with unique statues. As Max and Alicia start to investigate these and other events it appears as if they are linked in some way to the young boy Jacob. Until one day, the kid's along with their friend Roland start to uncover a mysterious story of a man known as The Prince of Mist.

As the mystery of The Prince of Mist is unveiled, the children embark on an adventure of mystery, self discovery, and a learn a bit about growing up.

Format: The Prince of Mist is a YA mystery adventure that has a bit of old world gothic feel to it. It stands at 224 pages. The English version was released in the US by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers on May 4, 2010 and in the UK by Orion Children's Books on 27 May, 2010.

Analysis: The Prince of Mist takes fans of Carlos Ruiz Zafon on a bit of a different course.

The thing that stands out about The Prince of Mist is the writing style. While it is very well written and very detailed, fans of Carlos Ruiz Zafon's previous works will notice it does not contain the poetic feeling that the previous novels such as Shadow of the Wind had. Instead while the events are described in long detailed paragraphs, the characters and life styles aren't.

In many ways this reads as a very YA book in terms of writing and development. The characters while present and described aren't overly detailed, think of it as a picture that comes out blurry. The image is there but it's not fully developed. For this reason it's hard to really generate any real attachment to the characters or form any emotions over the events they were going through. Though it should be noted this book is 200 pages, so given the amount of space that the book takes up the character development is alright. Those expecting great lovable characters probably won't find it here.

The plot and suspense are detailed enough for readers to follow. The story line really does take a long time to unfold, almost 100 pages or so, but it is well worth the read if one sticks it out. Veteran readers of fantasy or mystery novels might not find this book so much creepy and scary but a decent quick read. For younger readers, in which is this books intended audience, they will surely enjoy the read and love every detail of the suspense.

Overall this book was a nice read, it brought about a bit of suspense and mystery that kept readers captivated. Those that aren't looking for an overly detailed novel, or ones that can appreciate a good "Young Adult" novel will love this type of story. While the characters may be a bit vague, the details of the plot and writing style are what really make this novel a nice YA novel.


Unknown said...

This book looks great. Thanks for the review! You might also enjoy a new fantasy fiction coming out June 18th called, "Minder," which is going to be about psychic espionage. Hope you can check it out!

Emily said...

I think a good thing to remember is that Zafon wrote this novel before Shadow of the Wind, but it was published until after Shadow of the Wind was published, so the differences in writing styles could be attributed to his inexperience and him trying to find his true writing voice.

Liviu said...

That's true though there is a strong YA vibe in the book that makes it a bit simplistic; I have read and will review at some point the second book after Mist, Midnight Palace and while the YA vibe is still there, the book is considerably stronger and closer to TSoW and TAG; I have a Spanish copy of the 3rd book and I may read it before the English release but I heard that is stronger too


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