24 May 2010

Book of the Week (62): "The Prince of Mist" by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

We follow Max and his family as they move to a small town by the sea away from the city to escape from the war. However, it seems it’s not to be the reassuring haven they had hoped for - their new house carries the devastating history of a small boy who drowned and there’s a disturbing garden of statues hiding in the mist.

On arrival in the town it is immediately evident to Max that something peculiar is going on; his little sister is befriended by a stray cat with an unsettling presence and unwavering glare and the train station clock is going backwards… The oddities continue and become increasingly threatening as Max investigates his new surroundings and makes a new friend.

Max’s little observations of family and friends, his brave curiosity to explore what many would run from, his reactions to situations and his determination to uncover the truth of what’s going on, adds a sense of a personal journey to the story and enables the reader to experience events alongside him. While some elements of the story did seem common to many scary tales, Zafon achieves a subtle yet strong build-up of suspense and weaves a unique, vivid plot, creating terrifying moments that keep you glued to the page.

All in all it’s an evocative, atmospheric and easy to devour novel with characters you’ll be holding your breath for.

Recommended by Tessa Brechin

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