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The Watcher in the Shadows

(Niebla #3)

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  13,195 ratings  ·  972 reviews
A mysterious toymaker who lives as a recluse in an old mansion, surrounded by the mechanical beings he has created enigma surrounding strange lights that shine through the mists that envelop the small island on which the old lighthouse stands...a shadowy creature that hides deep in the woods...these are the elements of a mystery that will bind 14-year-old Irene to ...more
Hardcover, 246 pages
Published May 9th 2013 by Orion Children’s Books (first published 1995)
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Average rating 3.77  · 
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 ·  13,195 ratings  ·  972 reviews

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Lynne King
Nov 02, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2014-books
I decided to lower the rating.

I always get a great satisfaction out of going into a W.H. Smith’s book shop in any of the English airports and looking to see the latest books on offer. I saw this book the other week and the blurb took my fancy. I rather liked the idea of:

An enigmatic toymaker who lives as a recluse in an old mansion, surrounded by the fantastical beings he has created. An eerie figure that watches from behind the curtains of a locked room. Strange things that flicker through
Jul 08, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Nothing else to add that I haven't said below so I'll second my recommendation for this and add my thoughts on the narrator.

Jonathan Davis has narrated audio-books of Carlos Ruiz Zafon before and each time he has done very well. He has a good instinct for voices and the atmosphere of his works. (Wish he had narrated 'prisoner of heaven' like with the other two). The story comes alive with his loving (for lack of a better word) narration.

I hope Mister Davis continues to narrate for this author,
Yamile Méndez
Jun 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The stories in this young adult series aren't connected at all. They all have a great sense of mystery and fantasy, but one is set in Spain, the other in India, and this one in France.
How much better than Prince of Mist this book is! I couldn't put it down. His characters are REAL! REAL I tell you. There's so much emotion in his words I don't know how Ruiz Zafon can keep cranking stories like this one.
Easier to relate than The Midnight Palace, this story gives us a glimpse of Andreas Corelli,
Mike (the Paladin)
Feb 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, horror
This is an odd one. Any attempt on my part to give a decent synopsis or thumbnail sketch of this book won't do it, only a little about the story itself. I would suggest that if you like fantasy that actually lives up to that name in that it's fanciful...or if you like horror that actually inspires terror in those solitary alone moments that you try this one.

The book opens up a little slowly giving us background for the players. They are introduced with some of their life clinging to
This is the third book by this author that I have read and I should have stopped after the first. I feel like I just read a bunch of stuff and have no idea what happened. I think perhaps something has been lost in translation? Shadows and doppelgangers and toymakers and this child's history and that one's and masks and machines. Lots of broken glass and explosions at the end, and I could clearly envision a movie scene with the automatons burning, but other than that I'm not sure what happened. ...more
Jul 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

(English translation: The Watcher in the Shadows)

Somewhere between Jane Eyre and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Watcher in the Shadows (third in the Fog trilogy), is a gothic triumph. With elements of The Turn of the Screw, Ruiz Zafon's tale of mystery and Faustian bargains enchants in its eccentric and enigmatic world. Two stories of true love create the centerpiece for this creepy, twisted tale. Set in a picturesque, coastal French village, The Watcher in the Shadows entwines teenage
Kells Next Read
Actual Ratings: 3.5

I enjoyed it but I must admit I'm a scardy cat with it comes to erry/creepy tales. This one had it fill of creepy creatures.
Holger Haase
Aug 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
1937. France.

Recently widowed Simone takes up a position in a mysterious mansion at the sea belonging to a solitary toy maker and populated by his ingenious machinery. Her teenage daughter befriends a local boy and they soon uncover a decades old mystery and haunting shadows that threaten the lives of her entire family.

After the relative disappointment of Zafon's short story THE ROSE OF FIRE I decided to approach another one of his early novels and was very totally enamoured again with his
Jul 09, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The third and final young adult book written by Zafón during the early part of he’s career.
Just like the previous two (though not connected) it’s wonderfully written story with lots of great fantastical, mysterious and creepy elements.

I loved the fast paced nature of this book, the descriptive atmospheric setting is stunning. Especially the automated toys.
With such a great setting, it’s a slight shame that the characters feel a little weak. I wasn’t too concerned with their plight.

It’s still a
OK - So Carlos Ruiz Zafon, his young adult novels are all pretty similar. They all have a similar feel. A shadowy ghosty figure, in the mist killing lovers, chasing young kids. A body washed onshore. things ending in fire, with young kids telling the tale from later on. There is often a lighthouse, and island, motherless neglected children. Its scary and dark and psychological, and sort of not for me. But he was my author of the year, and I reread the entire Shadow of the Wind Series, and ended ...more
Oct 11, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love the writing of Carlos Ruiz Zafon. And his stories and ideas. His books always catch me and I don't want to stop reading and I don't want the books to end. This one ended too fast, not just because I enjoyed it too much but because the story rushed through too fast. There would have been a lot more potential for suspense and character development.
Jack Stark
This was enjoyable, but not as good as I had expected. I dunno, I had heard lots of good things about this author so I think I went in with a little too high of an expectation. The story has lots in it for only 256 pages. So much so that I felt aspects were a little underdeveloped. I expected something with much more atmosphere than what I got. But, as I said, still an enjoyable story full of mystery, magic, killer monsters and a mysterious hermit man.
Apr 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The watcher in the shadows is my favorite instalment of the Niebla trilogy! While reading this series I got the pleasure of seeing how the writing of Carlos Ruiz Zafon has developed and got better from one book to the other! Now that I've read all of his works I can't wait to see what he is gonna write next! It's always a pleasure to read a story from such a talented author!
Amy | shoutame
Beautifully written although I would have liked more!

- After reading The Shadow of the Wind by Zafon a couple of years ago (I fell in love) I was a little disappointed with this novel. That's not saying I didn't enjoy it - I did - but it just didn't reach the beauty and enchantment of The Shadow of the Wind.

- This follows the story of a single Mother who moves with her son and daughter to a sea-side town. She takes up a position in a local mansion working for a mysterious toy maker and her
This was the third and probably my favorite of Zafon's young adult series. A steampunk type theme of a reclusive toy maker with a house full of automatons, it was spooky and fun. It kept me page turning until the end, and although the characters were a little flat, the themes of young love, loss, and finding yourself are prevalent throughout the entire book and are well written. Zafon's writing can never be called boring, but as I've said before, he writes adult books so beautifully, it seems ...more
An interesting read.

This book is intended for a younger audience, but for myself, I would have liked to have seen this idea created for an older demographic. I know that children will appreciate not reading a book that is condescending, as some children's books can be, they will like a book that is cleverly written and intriguing. But still, I would be interested to see how it would have worked aiming for an older audience.

The plot of the mystery, was very interesting, I liked the supernatural

Another piece of the Carlos Zafón amazing writing.

Great story (as usual), interesting characters, ongoing action, awesome descriptions of the surrounding cenario and the typical fluid writing.
Karen Mace
Dec 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Love the author and really enjoyed this creepy, dark story of a reclusive toymaker and the shadows that lurk nearby!! Was a really easy to read story, perfect for readers of all ages, and I'm looking forward to reading more of his earlier books!
Jan 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, books-i-own, horror, short
Whew. You can scare me anytime, Mr. Zafón.
(I think) I can take it. :D
If you’re a chicken like myself, don’t read this at nigh. I repeat, do not read this at night.
Apr 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This edition is published by Orion here in the UK on 9th May 2013.

I am a big fan of Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s writing, both his adult and children’s novels, since I first read The Shadow of the Wind when it was published in 2004. Since then I have enjoyed his two other books in the Cemetery of Forgotten Books cycle, The Angel’s Game and The Prisoner of Heaven. There has been quite a gap between each adult novel being published but Zafon aficianados have been sustained in the interim by his Niebla
May 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014

Carlos Ruiz Zafón is one of my favorite authors. I've read his The Cemetery of Forgotten Books 1-3, and The Prisoner of Heaven turned out to be my best read in 2012. So I decided to give his earlier trilogy a try too.

The Watcher in the Shadows

After the demise of Armand Sauvelle, his family was left in destitute; debtors have seized their assets one after the other. Following the year of darkness, a grand offer was given to Simone as a housekeeper for the palatial home of Lazarus Jann, a famous
Cindy Hudson
Sep 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
When Irene’s mother is offered a job in a remote Normandy village it seems like the answer to their prayers. Life has been difficult after her father’s brief illness and death at an early age. Irene and her family are even more enraptured by the employer, a former toy maker with a mansion full of his mechanical creations.

Everyone settles happily into their new surroundings, none more so than Irene, who finds a special bond with a local boy named Ismael. But when a dark shadow is unwittingly
Sara Forsberg
Aug 11, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I debated between giving this book 4 or 5 stars for a while before writing this review. My overall emotional response to the story probably deserved a 5, and the world that Zafón has created is so appealing and rich in texture and so clever that I have to say it was a fantastic read. There were however a few little things that marred my experience of the book - the first and foremost being that for a story that is described as a mystery the author essentially gives away the plot before you get ...more
Liz Barnsley
This was a superb and very creepy read, aimed at children but also perfect for adults, one which I read in one sitting and enjoyed thoroughly.

After the death of their Father, Irene and Dorian move with their mother who has a job with Lazarus Jann a reclusive toymaker. This is a house of mystery though and a peculiar adventure is about to begin..

Haunting and atmospheric, I found this novel to be beautifully written - the first one from this author I have read, and it is storytelling at its best.
Mar 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Remember when you would beg your Mom to let you watch that scary movie when you were little? How you would wait until she wasn't around, watch it, and end up sleeping with all the lights on. That's what this book reminded me of and that's why my cat wasn't allowed to leave my lap. I turned every page with absolute trepidation, but I just couldn't stop reading. It's directed at YA, but is certainly pleasurable enough for adult readers. Only complaint might have been the cutesy ending,but ...more
Jun 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
I have always been a big fan of Carlos Ruiz Zafon, so when I read this book, I knew that it was an early book and written for a younger audience. His voice in writing still painted vivid images of the characters and plot development. It was, understandable that the ending was what you might expect for this intended audience. I enjoyed it.
Lisa Fransson
Aug 14, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
I loved The Shadow of the Wind. I know what Zafon is capable of. The premise for this book is great, the execution falls flat on its face. It felt a little bit like the 2nd draft of a book. The story didn't hang together and the characters were lifeless, plotdriven. To sum it up it was 250 pages of pages of pure telling.
Richard Thompson
Not really on a par with 'Shadow of the Wind' but it is aimed at a younger audience and as such I think would be an excellent book for that age group.

Lots of parallels with some other great books that are listed at the back.
Jan 11, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was a good, heartbreaking and sweet story. It reminded me a lot of «Marina», that's also a point that I liked about this story. It was a good trilogy. The work of this author is worth of our time in my opinion. Great stories, great writing style, what else is needed?
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Carlos Ruiz Zafón is a Spanish novelist. Born in Barcelona in 1964, he has lived in Los Ángeles, United States, since 1994, and works as a scriptwriter aside from writing novels.

His first novel, El príncipe de la niebla (The Prince of Mist, 1993), earned the Edebé literary prize for young adult fiction. He is also the author of three more young-adult novels, El palacio de la medianoche (1994), Las

Other books in the series

Niebla (3 books)
  • El Príncipe de la niebla
  • The Midnight Palace (Niebla, #2)
“I've learnt that solitude is sometimes a path that leads to peace” 12 likes
“No valía la pena perder el tiempo en intentar cambiar el mundo; bastaba con evitar que el mundo lo cambiase a uno.” 10 likes
More quotes…