The Prince of Mist by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

theprinceofmistThe 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.

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My reviews on his adult fiction:

The Shadow of the Wind | The Angel’s Game | The Prisoner of Heaven

  • Sorry but you might have lost me with the possessed clown. Clown scare the hell out of me. I love the author, but not clowns.

    • It doesn’t take much to scare me,so maybe you won’t find this as scary as I did 🙂

      Although, if you really scared of clowns, you might get the chills…

  • I must be the last person on earth that hasn’t read this author!

    Clowns…eeeek! 😉

    • You have to read his stuff – it’s rather good! His YA is good, but his adult fiction is better. Start with The Shadow of the Wind 🙂

  • You had me at ‘1943’ and ‘Zafon’! I can’t wait to pick this one up.

    • I hope you enjoy it, Heather.

  • Ooooh, this sounds interesting! Luckily, clowns don’t scare me so I’m good to go.

    • It was refreshing to read some YA! For me, creepy clowns are scary, but not SO much 🙂

  • Where does this rank on the nightmare scale? I’m a big chicken.

    • I’m a big chicken too!! This is YA and although I found it scary, I doubt that the normal adult reader would think this is nightmare inducing…

  • This sounds creepy but interesting! The clown and the movies and mystery! I’ve never read anything by Zafon but I’ve seen a bit of love for The Shadow of the Wind, I might have to check it and his other work, including this one, out sometime!

    • This was quite scary for me, for a YA, but then again, it doesn’t take much to scare me. The Shadow of the Wind is awesome… I love love LOVED that book, you should really check it out!

  • I’ve not read any Zafon yet. Although this one sounds interesting, I think I’ll start with The Shadow of the Wind.

    • You haven’t? *gasp*
      Just kidding, I know we all have TOO much to read, but The Shadow of the Wind is really a good book, IMHO. I hope you get to reading it and I hope that you like it!

  • I really dug Prince of Mist and just about everything else he has written. I think the only time that Zafon has ever dissapointed me was with the latest installment to the Barcelona series, Prisoner of Heaven.

    • I really like his work, so much I read his YA 🙂
      I loved the series, and I do like Prisoner of Heaven, but not as much as the 1st book. I also feel that Prisoner could have been much more, but it’s still a good series. I hope there is a 4th book!!

  • Isi

    I’m glad you liked it!
    You know I haven’t read these young adult novels; I have to go over The cementery of forgotten books first, and then I’ll see.

    • I hope you enjoy the rest of the series! You should read his YA fiction, it’s not half bad. I liked them.

  • We read Shadow of the Wind in book club about three years ago, and I loved it, too. I had no idea that it was part of a series! Super review.

    • Then you should definitely read the other 2 books of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books series! It’s The Angel’s Game and The Prisoner of Heaven. You can check out my review links in the post.

      This one was his YA fiction and quite a nice read too! 🙂

  • Nice review. I am a fan of his.

    • Thank you! Have you read any of his other books?

      • Yes, I have. The Angel’s Game and Shadow of the Wind. Both excellent.

  • Nice review.

  • I really need to read this one as I like his books

    • You should, this one was scary for me, despite being YA 🙂 Which of his other books do you like?

      • I love love Shadow of the wind 😀 The following two are good but not as good

  • Scary and delightful? Not two words you usually see together. 🙂 I think I shall have to try Zafon’s writing for myself – I love atmospheric reads! And I don’t read enough translated books. In fact I’m not sure I’ve ever read something written by a Spanish author before – that’s bad, right?!

    • Hi Annie, you should definitely give his adult fiction a try (which is the last 3 links I have in this post). It’s translated, but I think it’s well done!

      This is one of his YA books, it’s not as great as his adult fiction, but this one was such a nice read. Yes, it was scary in certain parts, but I think the story overall was great – secrets, mysteries, gothic atmosphere… the things/elements I find makes a book delightful

      • I will definitely start with his Adult fiction then! Thanks honey. 🙂

  • Oh I didn’t know he wrote YA fiction too!

    • Yes he does 🙂 His YA fiction were written before his adult fiction. You should give it a try 😉

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  • As you know, I haven’t read this novel yet but I like the fact that Zafón always has a dark element to all his novels as well that it is adventurous. Clowns don’t scare me either but I am also not a fan of clowns… but it won’t put me off from reading The Prince of Mist 🙂 Thanks for the review 🙂

    • I hope you will read it and enjoy it. You know I’m a fan, so it comes as no surprise that I’m pretty much reading everything he has to offer! 😀

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