Monday, May 17, 2010

Review by Charlie: The Prince of Mist by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

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We would like to introduce and welcome Charlie who will be doing reviews for Layers of Thought from time to time. He is exceptionally funny and does very thoughtful posts. 

His first review here will revolve around the recently published young adult novel - The Prince of Mist by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. He is also the author of Angel’s Game and The Shadow of the Wind. Please note, Charlie is wonderful about not including spoilers in his reviews.

Lets welcome Charlie!

The Review:

The Story:    The year is 1943 and the place, although never mentioned in the book, appears to be a small town in the south of England. The Carver family moves there to escape the war and purchase a long unused but stately home. There is something very odd about both the town and the house, however. Max Carver, age thirteen, notices that the town clock runs backward. The house has fleeting cold drafts where cold drafts in August should not be, and an overgrown and locked garden is “peopled” with statues of circus characters. 7128341

Max and his sister Alicia, fifteen, meet Roland, seventeen, a likeable local boy whom they quickly befriend. Roland is in love with the sea and lives on the beach in a hut he cobbled together, just below the lighthouse his grandfather built. He proudly shows the Carvers the wreck of the freighter Orpheus in the shallow water, broken in half when it ran aground during a storm. Roland’s grandfather was the only survivor and, twenty-five years later, still mans the lighthouse every night. Is he watching for other ships, or could it be something else that keeps his eyes on the water?

Max is a curious boy, and he finds a box of old films left behind by the previous owner in a storeroom. Very strange films indeed of Jacob, a little boy who drowned, of the garden with the statues in different positions and postures, and of a diabolical entity—the Prince of Mist—who can play tricks with time even on film.

There is a sense of urgency that something evil is about to happen, and it is up to the trio of friends to stop it. Do they? That is for the reader to find out . . .

Charlie’s Thoughts:    This is the same Carlos Ruiz Zafón of the adult sensation The Angel’s Game, but The Prince of Mist was the first book he wrote in 1993 and specifically for young readers. Tied up in legalities for fifteen years, the wait was worth it; this is a spectacular book for its intended audience—as well as for me, an older adult who raced through it. Zafón was smart to feature the teens for teen readers to identify with. The only adult who figures in the story is the grandfather, who reminded me of Boy Scout camp and listening to ghost stories around the campfire.

Zafón’s writing is not as polished as it is now and he “loses” characters for his convenience, but neither of these things bothered me. This is not classic literature, but a good read with plenty of mystery, non-graphic horror, and an unexpected ending. I give it a solid 4 out of 5 stars.

Amazon Book Stats:

  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (May 4, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316044776
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316044776

    Amazon purchasing links for US/UK/Canada.

    Posted by Shellie but written by Charlie, where he reviews his choice of books which he has purchased. All thoughts and views are his own, and may not be copied unless expressed permission is given by him via Shellie. He will be addressing all the comments for the review – and he lives for comments!

    Thanks for reading Layers of Thought!


    Charlie said...

    Thank you so much, Shellie, for allowing me to be a small part of Layers of Thought. I love what you do here and I'm honored to add a review not and then.

    Unknown said...

    Charlie -
    Its my pleasure...

    If we can offer more reviews for readers so they can pick and choose what they read with a little more "real life" information all the better.


    Cheryl said...

    That was a great review and I think I would like to read this book!

    Charlie said...

    Thank you, Cheryl, for the compliment.

    I think there are a lot of YA books out there that are much better than than adult mainstream, and this is one of them.

    I forgot to mention that this is a trilogy. There is an edition that contains all three, but it's in Spanish. I'm hoping that we see the other two translated into English sometime down the road.


    Aarti said...

    I got this book very soon after it was published, and am so excited to read it when I am able to fit it into my schedule! So glad it was worth the wait.

    Charlie said...

    This is not the polished Zafon of today, Aarti, but it's still an enjoyable and fun read. One thing bugged me a little and I'm sure you'll pick up on it, but I overlooked it for the story.

    I don't like to reveal more details than necessary because those are for YOU the reader to experience.

    Barbara Bruederlin said...

    Great review, Charlie. I've read The Shadow of the Wind and have quite a few problems with it, so did not think that I was particularly interested in reading another Zafon novel. But you do make this one sound quite compelling. I may have to give him another chance...

    Charlie said...

    This is really a fun read, and I know how you like to have fun. The only similarity with The Shadow of the Wind is that they're both gothic horror.

    Thanks for visiting Shellie's site.

    Unknown said...

    Yes Barbara thanks!

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