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The Watcher in the Shadows Hardcover – 9 May 2013

4.1 out of 5 stars 129 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Weidenfield & Nicolson; 1st edition (9 May 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 029785626X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0297856269
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 2.4 x 20.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (129 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 58,505 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

A pleasingly old-fashioned chiller, set in Normandy just before the second world war. Irene goes to stay in the Blue Bay when her mother becomes housekeeper to toymaker Lazarus Jann. A mystery filled with creepy automata and deadly secrets. (Summer Books Guide FT.COM)

Very well-written, and full of suspense, it has all the appeal of an ancient story-book, with black and white line-drawings at the start of every chapter. (Alison A.Maxwell-Cox THE SCHOOL LIBRARIAN)

A pleasingly old-fashioned thriller...A mystery filled with creepy automata and deadly secrets. (FINANCIAL TIMES)

An atmospheric, eerie and bewitching tale of what's lurking in the summer sun of northern France in 1937. (WANDERLUST)

Book Description

A magical read from the author of THE SHADOW OF THE WIND. An idyllic summer turns into a nightmare when a young girl discovers the secrets locked inside a toymaker's crumbling mansion.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
'The Watcher in the Shadows' is the 3rd of Zafon's YA novels to be translated and like 'The Prince of Mist' and 'The Midnight Palace' it is scary. Following the death of their father Irene and Dorian move with their mother to the Normandy coast and that is where the adventure begins. Their mother, Simone, has a job as housekeeper for the reclusive Lazurus Jann, who used to be a toy maker making wonderful automatons that almost appear to be alive. The story has a very Gothic feel, as fans of Zafon would expect, and just like his adult novels the narrative is compelling and atmospheric. Shadows and the thought of something lurking in them can very frightening, and Zafon plays on this theme to great effect with the inclusion of the idea of the doppelganger.

The story is full of adventure and mystery with plenty of twists, it is difficult to know what to make of Lazarus, is he good, evil, mad or just sad? This may be classed as YA but it is perfect for adults, particularly fans of the 'Cemetery of Forgotten Books' cycle. Once again Zafon has created a great story and told it very well, it is the kind of quality fiction that I would have loved as a child but am still able to love as an adult.

The good news is that his 4th YA novel 'Marina' is due to be published in October, the bad news is that will be the last Zafon until the final installment of 'The Cemetery of Forgotten Books', still I can always read them all again in the meantime.
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Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher Review Copy

An enigmatic toymaker who lives as a recluse in an old mansion, surrounded by the fantastical beings he has created. An eerie figure that watches from behin the curtains of a locked room. Strange lights that flicker through the mist from an abandoned lighthouse. A shadowy creature that hides deep in the woods and has already claimed one life. These are elements of a mystery that will bind Irene to Ismael during a magical summer in Blue Bay, when her mother becomes housekeeper to the secretive toymaker, Lazarus Jann.

This was a superb and very creepy read, aimed at children but also perfect for adults, one which I read in one sitting and enjoyed thoroughly.

After the death of their Father, Irene and Dorian move with their mother who has a job with Lazarus Jann a reclusive toymaker. This is a house of mystery though and a peculiar adventure is about to begin..

Haunting and atmospheric, I found this novel to be beautifully written - the first one from this author I have read, and it is storytelling at its best. Absolutely enthralling from start to finish, with some lovely little twists and turns and some poetic prose, it may have you jumping at shadows even as a "grown up" and young adults who adore to be spooked will love this one entirely. A picture painted with words, it really was terrific stuff.

The mythology created is rich, the characterisation is really excellent - especially that of Lazarus, an enigmatic man who is difficult to pin down, and the sense of foreboding is very well done and will keep you off kilter.

A gothic feel throughout, a very addictive read and one that I would highly recommend to both young and old alike.

Happy Reading Folks!
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By Lincs Reader TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 1 Dec. 2014
Format: Paperback
I have been a huge fan of Carlos Ruiz Zafon's novels for adults for many years. The Shadow of the Wind is one of my all time favourite books, it's very different to my usual read, but holds a special place in my heart - for many reasons.

The Watcher in the Shadows is the third of the novels that Carlos Ruiz Zafon wrote for younger readers at the beginning of his career in the 1990s, and was recently published here in paperback.

Irene Sauvelle moves with her mother and her younger brother to a large house on the coast of Normandy. At first the family seem to have fallen on their feet. Irene's mother will be the housekeeper for Lazarus Jann. Lazarus is a toymaker, and his house is full of weird and wonderful creations - the perfect place for children to explore ...... or is it?
As Irene falls in love with local boy Ismael, strange things happen. Young girls disappear, shadows appear and menacing, magical forces cause chaos in the forest.

Although the target market is young adults, The Watcher in the Shadows is also perfect for the adult market, especially for those readers who like some gothic horror with some clever creepiness thrown in for good measure. Add that to a great storyline and Carlos Ruiz Zafon's magical writing ability and this is the perfect book to read on a dark evening .... make sure the doors are locked though, as you may find yourself glancing over your shoulder more than once!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Although quite obviously from the outset written for young adults, The Watcher in the Shadows once again why Carlos Ruiz Zafon is a master of modern story telling. His wonderfully conceived plot, character and undeniable flair for writing combine to create a work that possesses that most desired status of literature: it is unputdownable. It is no wonder that revered writers and respected publications alike doff their caps to Ruiz Zafon's literary prowess.

Whilst the plot twists are less subtle than those found in The Shadow of the Wind, the journey through the novel is as immersive and addictive as any of his other works.

To conclude, Ruiz Zafon is without any shadow of a doubt (or the wind), a master of the Gothic novel.
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