Monday, 21 March 2011

The Prince Of Mist By Carlos Ruiz Zafon

It is 1943 and the winds of war are sweeping across Europe. Max Carver's father - an eccentric watchmaker and inventor - has decided to move his family away from the city to an old wooden house on the coast. But as soon as they cross the threshold, strange things begin to happen. Max discovers a garden filled with eerie statues; his sisters are plagued by unsettling dreams and voices; a box of old films opens a window into the past.
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Most unsettling of all are the rumours about the previous owners of the house and the mysterious disappearance of their son. As Max, his sister Alicia and their friend Roland delve into the past, they encounter the terrifying story of the Prince of Mist - a sinister shadow who emerges from night to settle old scores, then disappears with the first mists of dawn...
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Originally published in Spain in 1993 as a young adult novel, The Prince of Mist is a mesmerising tale of mystery, romance and adventure.
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This story is only just over 200 pages, so I wasn't surprised that when I had finished, it felt like I had just read a short story. However, even though it felt like it had the potential to become a longer more in depth story it still packed a punch.
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Max and his family have moved to a slightly dilapidated house on the coast to escape the dangerous confines of the city during wartime. What they didn't realise is that the wooden house and village have an eerie past. After discovering a collection of creepy statues in the garden, Max starts to realise that there is a disturbing and dangerous presence that is intent on collecting his debts.
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When I first picked up this book I didn't really know what it is was about, but I definitely didn't expect a fantastic 'chill down the spine' type of read. At times there was this cold element that really evoked a scary atmosphere. With the terrifying clown statue that appears to move when your back is turned, a cat that has eyes full of malice and the strange films left behind by Jacob, the boy that apparently drowned years ago, this story really does leave you looking over your shoulder.
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Max, his sister Alicia and their new friend Roland are all very likeable characters. Max is probably your average young boy, yet he has this braveness and loyalty towards the ones he cares for that makes him stand out. Alicia also seems to be your typical teenage girl on first appearances, but as the story progresses she has this underlying lonliness to her personality and I felt that there was more to discover about her character.
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This was a gripping story and a very quick and easy read, not just becasue it's short but because you get pulled right into the story with some very exciting and tense chapters. I would have loved it if it had been a longer novel with more back story because I felt there was so much more to be told. However, I still really enjoyed it and would definitely recommend it to anyone that enjoys a chilling tale.
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Random Passage: Never had Irina been so willing to help her mother, no matter what the task was that awaited her. She was about to leave the room when, suddenly, she felt an icy breeze on her face. It swept through the bedroom, slamming the door shut. Irina ran towards the door and struggled with the knob, which seemed to be stuck. As she was trying in vain to open it, she heard the key in the wardrobe door slowly turning behind her. Irina stood against the door of her room, too afraid to look. She closed her eyes tight, and her hands were shaking. The voices, which appeared to emanate from the very depths of the house, seemed much closer now. And this time they were laughing.

2 comments:

mummazappa said...

I really want to read this - spine chilling is my kind of read!

Clover said...

I read this recently as well, not really knowing what to expect! I really enjoyed it and the slightly creepy storyline, but as you say, wished it was slightly longer!