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 The Prince of Mist by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

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Laura
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PostSubject: The Prince of Mist by Carlos Ruiz Zafón   Mon Jul 11, 2011 5:21 pm

"The Prince of Mist" is one of Carlos Ruiz Zafón's earliest novels. It is a book for young adults, or at least he states that it was published as a YA novel. The story takes place in 1943 in England (at least the characters' names make me think so, but it is never actually stated). The protagonist is Max Carver, a 13 year old boy who moves to the coast with his family to escape the war.

As soon as he arrives, he discovers an ancient garden full of statues that appears to be perpetually covered in chilly fog. The statues seem to change over the course of a few days, though Max cannot prove this. Simultaneously, his sister's cat begins to act strangely, eventually attacking and nearly killing the girl.

Max meets Roland, a boy from town. Roland gives him a few diving lessons because there is an ancient wreck near the coast that he wants to show him. Once they go down there, however, Roland is attacked by a mysterious force and nearly drowns.

In a parallel storyline, Roland's adoptive grandfather tells the story of an evil magician he met in his youth, tracked down, and eventually followed aboard the ship that is now lying as a wreck nearby. The old man is convinced that he was the only survivor of the shipwreck, but as events unfold, he realizes that the magician never really died. His spirit survived in the statue garden near Max's house. In a big showdown, the evil magician kidnaps Max's sister and wants to exchange her for Roland's life to settle scores. Roland agrees and drowns in the shipwreck.

I liked the novel, because I like ghost stories in general, and for the most part, this is a ghost story. However, I don't think that Roland should've died. It left an uncomfortable aftertaste of evil winning over good, which I don't think is the nicest idea to promote in a YA novel. The language is fantastical, in some parts similar to Cornelia Funke or C.S. Lewis. With just 200 pages, the book is also very short and can easily be devoured in one day (which I did).

I'd recommend it for people who like YA novels, fantasy and / or ghost stories.


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PostSubject: Re: The Prince of Mist by Carlos Ruiz Zafón   Thu Jul 14, 2011 10:53 pm

I am not familiar with Carlos Ruiz Zafon. And while I am not much of a YA reader, you make this sound interesting. Thank you for bringing him to our attention!

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PostSubject: Re: The Prince of Mist by Carlos Ruiz Zafón   Wed Aug 03, 2011 4:50 pm

I don't really enjoy Cornelia Funke or ghost stories in general, but this sounds interesting. Thanks for the review, Laura!
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