The Prince Of Mist
Carlos Ruiz Zafon
1943. As war sweeps across Europe, Max Carver’s father moves his family away from the city, to an old wooden house on the coast. But as soon as they arrive, strange things begin to happen: Max dicovers a garden filled with eerie statues; his sisters are plagued by unsettling dreams and voices; a box of old films opens a window to the past.
Most unsettling of all are the rumours about the previous owners and the mysterious disappearance of their son. As Max delves into the past, he encounters the terrifying story of the Prince of Mist, a sinister shadow who emerges from the night to settle old scores, then disappears with the first mists of dawn…
The Prince of Mist was orginally published in Spain as a Young Adult novel, but Carlos Ruiz Zafon actually wanted to write a book that could be enjoyed by all ages – one that he would have wanted to read as a teenager but would still want to read at 30 and 40 – and I think he easily achieved that with his debut novel.
When Max and his family move to a new house on the coast to escape the imminent war, it doesn’t take long for him to realise that there is more to the story about the Fleischmanns, the family who lived there before them, than the rumours say. When he discovers a garden of statues and some home videos made by Jacob Fleischmann, the boy who disappeared, Max quickly discovers that he, his family and his new friends are in danger.
With this being a Young Adult novel there aren’t any intricate plot lines or confusing back stories to the characters – it’s a simple but very enjoyable book that had me hooked from the first page and left me wanting to read more from Zafon. It does contain a few unexpected twists, which I think is why its successful as a good read for pall ages, and it even successfully managed to give me goosebumps in the more eerie parts of the story.
Sometimes I find it’s nice to read books that don’t take much thinking about; you can just enjoy them and relax, and The Prince of Mist is definitely a book for everyone. Zafon’s descriptive and enjoyable writing style is what really makes this story a winner for all ages.