The Midnight Palace by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

midnightpalace_packshot2Omgee she is a crazy Zafón fan, you may say and I won’t blame you, because this is the fifth book of his I’m reviewing this year… and there is two more to come! As I’ve mentioned in my review of The Prince of Mist, Zafón wrote his young adult fiction novels long before he achieve international success with his adult fiction series. It was only after this, that his YA fiction books were also translated into English. This one, The Midnight Palace, is the second YA fiction book.

One thing I particularly like about his books is his ability to transport the reader into another world, with the way he describes his settings. This time the story plays off in the dark corners of 1916 and 1932 Calcutta, India. The story starts with a lieutenant called Peake who sacrifices his life by saving twins babies from an evil man who wants to kill them. He delivers the babies to their grandmother, who he believes might be able to keep them safe. The only way she knows how to do this is to separate them and hide them, which she does when she keeps the girl, Sheere with her and abandons Ben at St Patrick’s orphanage.  She gives Thomas Carter, the man who runs the orphanage strict instructions to keep him off the records and not to reveal his existence to anyone outside the orphanage. That same evening when Ben was delivered to the orphanage, a strange man came to enquire about the baby…

This man, only known as Jawahal, is an evil and menacing man, who had a grudge against the twins’ father that died in a horrific accident that also claimed the life of over 300 orphans.  Jawahal had something to do with this of course and often times Ben had nightmares and visions of a ghost train and heard the ghostly screams of children – I liked how he described it, because it definitely delivered the effect he wanted, which is chilling and scary.

When you turn 16, you are a legal adult and must leave the orphanage. Ben, along with his friends, decides to celebrate their last evening together at The Midnight palace – an old abandoned house where they would have their secret society meetings. On this very evening, the grandmother, Aryami Bose, returns to the orphanage with Sheere to warn Carter about this man who are coming for Ben. This is also the day when Sheere and Ben are reunited and feels an instant connection to each other, but only learns their true connection later on when the grandmother tells them their history. Ben and Sheere, along with the rest of the secret society need to fight off this evil.  The suspense in this novel is palpable and the teen in me just loved the ending of the story – a bunch of teenagers fighting off evil and winning the struggle, yet not without strange coincidences and scary scenes. I mentioned in my review of The Prince of Mist that even though I found it scarier, I thought his second young adult fiction was better, and this is it.

My reviews on his adult fiction:

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

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