Genre: Historical Fiction, Horror, Paranormal
Published: May 4th, 2010 (English version)
Publisher: Little Brown
Rating: 5/5 Stars
"A mysterious house harbors an unimaginable secret. . . .
It’s wartime, and the Carver family decides to leave the capital where they live and move to a small coastal village where they’ve recently bought a home. But from the minute they cross the threshold, strange things begin to happen. In that mysterious house there still lurks the spirit of Jacob, the previous owners’ son, who died by drowning.
With the help of their new friend Roland, Max and Alicia Carver begin to explore the suspicious circumstances of that death and discover the existence of a mysterious being called The Prince of Mist—a diabolical character who has returned from the shadows to collect on a debt from the past. Soon the three friends find themselves caught up in an adventure of sunken ships and an enchanted stone garden, which will change their lives forever."~Goodreads
You know those book you read as a kid that just drew you in and totally consumed you for hours on end? If this book had been translated when I was that age this would have been one of those books. What am I saying? It is one of those books. I picked up this little novel (the first in the Niebla Trilogy) on a whim. I didn't feel like reading the next book on my to-be-read list yet and needed something quick to keep me entertained for a few days. The Prince of Mist more than did the trick. It was charming, exciting and truly scary. It was everything a young adult horror novel should be.
- Beautiful writing: Zafon's writing is really beautiful. He somehow captures the voices of his characters perfectly while at the same time allowing the reader to make their own observations about the world he creates. The atmosphere was perfect whether that atmosphere was spooky at the time or charming and quaint. The story moved along quickly and succinctly and kept me wrapped up in it the whole time.
- Different take on ghosts: I love ghost stories, they're probably my favorite kind, but there's usually some sort of formula. Ghosts are usually dead people who hang around and scare the crap out of the living. Not in this book though. These ghosts are unusual. I'm still not 100% sure how the whole thing went down but apparently they could take different forms, inhabit inanimate objects and resurrect terrifying circus statues.
- Truly terrifying villains: Speaking of circuses, there is a ghost clown. I hate clowns, I find them truly horrifying at their best so when one of them is walking around all incorporeal with razor teeth I just about lose it. Throw in some creepy haunted home movies, wardrobe monsters and a ghost ship and I will be sleeping with the light on for awhile. A+ on the scares.
- Where are the parents: About half way through the book something happens and the parents and youngest sister leave town. They're gone for the rest of the book only to reappear in the epilogue. I was disappointed in this because I really loved the family dynamic at the beginning of the story and it was sad to see them written out for most of the action. However, I can see why this was necessary so maybe I can't really count this as a dislike.
- The ending (maybe): I'm really not sure about the ending. There are things I loved (the drama and sadness and hope) but I also was kind of disappointed that the story was wrapped up so completely. It looks like Max won't be the focus of the second book and I really liked him as a character so that was a bummer, but it will be cool to see what the author does with the story from here on out. After all, this is The Prince of Mist's story right?
I can't wait to read the rest of this series and see what type of terror The Prince of Mist will create. The second and third books involve different protagonists and different time periods which is a really unique and fun idea for a series. It will be interesting to see what Zafon has come up with (hopefully no more clowns). I only wish these would have been translated earlier so I could have enjoyed this amazing tale sooner.