Monday, September 13, 2010

The Prince of Mist

Zafon, Carlos Ruiz. The Prince of Mist.
Max's father, a watchmaker, is concerned for the safety of his family before the onset of World War II, so moves them to a small coastal town. The house they have bought is the scene of a tragedy-- a much loved young boy drowned while his family was living there. Max makes friends with a Roland, whose parents also have perished and who is being raised by the keeper of the local lighthouse. Years previously, the keeper was the only survivor of a shipwreck that still lies off the coast. Creepy things start happening-- Max's sister hears voices and throws herself down the stairs, a stray cat that adopts the family eats huge spiders, and an overgrown garden near the house is filled with statues of circus performers.... that seem to move.
Max soon meets Cain, aka the prince of mist, who grants wishes-- but at a price. Mysteries and tragedies swirl around this creepy character. Is it too late for Max to save his family and friends from Cain's sinister influence? Can he even save himself?

This was definitely creepy, and a bit scary, but it definitely had a mystery too it, and the historical setting works well. The translation creaks at many points; either that, or Zafon is given to writing in cliches. Still, it's a good lenghth, and I do need more mysteries.
Moral of story: even if a book looks like yet another ponderous fantasy, give it a close enough look to determine whether or not it really is.


  1. I've never read any of his work but will. This one sounds like I will add it to my list.

  2. First off, I enjoy reading your blog. Secondly, this book is creepy and I can't wait to read it to my class. Carlos Ruiz Zafon is an amazing wrtier.