John's Reviews > The Prince of Mist

The Prince of Mist by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
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's review
Mar 14, 2011

really liked it
Read in March, 2011

It's hardly a secret that I'm nuts about Zafon's The Shadow of the Wind and very fond indeed of his The Angel's Game. Apparently he published four novels in Spanish before those, all for a YA/adult audience, of which this was the first. During WWII young Max's dad decides the family would be safer living away from the big city, and so he rents them a house in a seaside village, dominated by a huge lighthouse. Even before they get there, strange things start happening: the station clock runs backwards, a malign cat attaches itself to the family, and so on. Soon Max discovers an isolated sculpture garden filled with effigies of circus characters that seem to change position when no one's looking and one of which seems to be the embodiment of evil -- which indeed he proves to be: the satanic Prince of Mist, Dr. Cain. Along with his older sister and the adoptive grandson of the lighthouse keeper, Max succeeds in driving back Dr. Cain -- at least for now, and only at a very great cost.

This book's an astonishingly fast read -- despite having to contend with a full workload, I started it one afternoon and had it finished by the time I put the light out the next day. As seems to be the case with almost all modern Spanish-language novels, there were occasional plot conundra, but I waved those merrily away as I continued on the helterskelter ride. The tale doesn't have the sheer storytelling, mythopoeic power of The Shadow of the Wind, but it certainly has me panting for the translated publication in May of Zafon's next YA adventure, The Midnight Palace.

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