April's Reviews > The Midnight Palace

The Midnight Palace by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
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May 15, 11

bookshelves: read-in-2011, suspense, young-adult, paranormal-supernatural, mystery
Read in April, 2011

The Midnight Garden begins on a stormy night in Calcutta on May 1916; Lieutenant Peake is being chased by assassins as he carries two babies. The lieutenant is able to get them safely into the arms of a woman who he knows will protect them with her life. The woman then makes the momentous choice that in order to protect both children they will need to be separated from one another, so she abandons Ben at the doorstep of St. Patrick’s Orphanage with only a letter explaining that his parents were murdered and the murderer swore to kill the child and any descendents.

The night the baby is discovered at the orphanage a strange man named Jawahal stops by unexpectedly and pries for information about the new orphan. The director of the orphanage suspects something is amiss and doesn’t share any information with the stranger. Jawahal is particularly interested on what age the orphans are released into the world on their own – 16 years old – and he vows to return at that time.

Ben grows up not knowing his past but gets along well with the other orphans. He also starts a secret society with 6 other orphans, holding meetings at a local abandoned mansion they nickname The Midnight Palace. In May 1932, their lives change forever as every member turns 16 and is about to be released into the world to live their own lives, their secret society disbanded. Unfortunately, things don’t go as smoothly as planned, and Ben’s past steps back into his life in the form of a girl that appears on the doorstep of the orphanage as they are having a celebration to mark the special occasion. They must all work together in order to discover the mysteries of their past in the hopes they can stop a madman from stealing their future.

Confession:

I really liked The Midnight Palace; I have been a huge fan of Carlos Ruiz Zafon ever since I read The Shadow of the Wind. I loved the atmosphere and setting, it’s so creepy and the suspense is palpable. The villain is mysterious and otherworldly with supernatural powers, and you’re desperately trying to figure out his connection to the children and why he wants them dead. The characters are very likeable, they each have their own unique quirks and interests and they work well together as a group. The pace of the book is top notch, from the very first scene of the book you are turning pages trying to figure out where the story is going and how it will end. This is probably one of the creepiest villains I have encountered in YA so far. I liked it, I liked it A LOT!
I recommend this for all Carlos Ruiz Zafon fans, and YA fans who like mysteries and suspense.
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