The Shadow of the Wind is one of my favourite books, and after reading the second novel, The Angel’s Game, I wanted more. I read The Prince of Mist, as well as his second young adult fiction novel, namely The Midnight Palace, while I waited for the third instalment in The Cemetery of Forgotten Books series to come out. Zafon wrote his young adult fiction novels long before he achieve international success with his above mentioned adult fiction series. It was only after this, that his YA fiction books were also translated into English.
It is 1943 and Max Carver’s father, a watchmaker, decides to move his family from the city to a house by the sea to get away from the effects of the war. The house previously belonged to a man called Dr Fleischmann and his wife, but they moved away after their 7 year old son drowned in the sea. Until the Carvers moved in, no one else has lived in that house since then. Strange things started happening soon after they moved in. Max discovers a strange garden nearby, filled with statues and shrouded with mist. He goes and investigates one evening, what he found in this strange garden, was downright creepy. The statues are ordered around the statue in the middle – a creepy clown whose facial expressions changes and keeps moving.
Many other strange things surfaces, which includes Max’s sister, Irina being hospitalize (and landed in a coma) after a rather strange accident in the house that caused her to fall off the stairs. There is also the old home-made movies that Max found that apparently were made by Dr Fleischmann’s son, Jacob, including a video about the garden. After watching this with his sister, Alicia, she tells him that it’s not the first time she has seen that clown. She dreamt about him long before they moved to the house, and this makes Max feel incredibly unsettled. What does this thing want? Is there a reason why they moved to this house? When thinking of this, Max suddenly realised that strange things didn’t start happening after they moved in, it happened before. He remembered noticing, upon arriving at the station of the town, that the clock was ticking backwards. Then, he thought it was a problem with the clock, now he is not so sure…
Determined to find out more about the previous inhabitants, Max, his sister Alicia and his new friend, Roland, starts investigating the events that happened around Jacob’s death. The secrets of the past (a shipwreck, a broken promise and a lost child) slowly get revealed in this creepy, yet thrilling and compelling novel. As always, Zafon’s writing creates the perfect atmosphere with vivid descriptions of the surroundings, and with his way of words, he creates a novel that is truly chilling. Although this is a young adult fiction novel, I found it quite scary! I found the story to be fast paced, suspenseful and engaging, and found myself living in the story, getting the chills while reading it. Although I found the second young adult fiction novel (review soon to come) to be better, this one was the scarier and more delightful one.
My reviews on his adult fiction: