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43 of 43 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Fabulous Adventure Story
Carlos Ruiz Zafon's adult novels; The Shadow of the Wind and The Angel's Game are two of my all-time favourite books. I was a little disappointed by his last Young Adult novel that was published here; The Prince of The Mist, so I tried not to expect too much of The Midnight Palace.
Happily, I was not disappointed by this read at all. Set in Calcutta in the early...
Published on 7 May 2011 by Lincs Reader

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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not for me, I'm afraid
Like so many others, I've loved Carlos Ruiz Zafon's adult books - Shadow of the Wind and Angel's Game would be in my all-time top ten. Prince of the Mist? Different target audience, but I liked it. But this one wasn't to my taste at all. As always, it's well written, well translated, atmospheric with strong characterisation - but the tale of magic, evil and mayhem with...
Published on 14 May 2011 by Welsh Annie


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5.0 out of 5 stars Magical storytelling, 5 May 2011
By 
Keris Nine - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
If you've read Shadow of the Wind, you'll know that there's not going to be a great deal of difference to the author's style and content when it comes to his earlier children's fiction, now being published in English. The Midnight Palace contains the same sense of adventure and mystery tied up in an elaborate family melodrama with literary references and a clear love of storytelling. Although there are less adult themes, The Midnight Palace is clearly the work of the same author, and it may even be better for the restraint imposed on it being a work for younger readers, and all the more effective in sustaining its magical qualities.

The Midnight Palace is the meeting place of a group of orphans in Calcutta in 1932 who have formed a secret society where they meet and tell stories, and there's a description in the book of the place exuding an "aura of magic and dreams that rarely exists beyond the blurred memories of our early years". Carlos Ruiz Zafón's writing (which reads extremely well here in a fluid translation) exudes the same aura, finding a potent mix of exoticism, symbolism, adventure and history and tying it into the destiny of two twins separated at birth who, as they reach 16 years of age, are being threatened by a dark magician.

There are many reasons why the book works so well, the author finding an exotic setting, a wonderful group of young orphans each with their own special talents to help each other out, and a thrilling dark fantasy mystery tied up in India's desire for independence, but principally the book extols the virtues of storytelling and thereby inspires the imagination of investigative young minds. Wonderfully written, The Midnight Palace is itself a terrific example of the power of those very same qualities that will work for children and for adults wishing to rekindle that sense of wonder that exists in "the blurred memories of our early years".
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining but lightweight, 16 July 2011
By 
James Harper (Amersham, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Midnight Palace (Hardcover)
I enjoyed this book but not as much as the Prince of Mist. The main ideas in the plot, the characters and the relationships between them veer drastically between subtle and interesting and contrived and nonsensical. The idea of the secret society based in Calcutta is fun and the personal qualities of each member are well depicted and contain interesting tensions. Of particular interest is the relationship between Ben and Sheere which is initially an Erotic one, made very difficult when they discover they are brother and sister. Their struggle to deal with this is convincingly and warmly told. However, the villain, Jawahal, is unconvincing and it is not at all clear what exactly he is or why he has supernatural powers. He seems to be the mad and evil alter ego of Ben and Sheere's father, who inexplicably seems to have survived death and is now able to continue his madness in the world, only now with the aid of various magic powers including superhuman strength, invincibility and the ability to shoot flames from his fingers. He is also a stereotypical Zafon bad guy, totally malicious, wanting nothing but to harm and kill everyone else, very monochrome and unsubtle. I found that this lack of clarity about who he was confused the plot and the ending, but it was still entertaining.

One other very annoying thing about the book is the way the translator uses the word 'some' instead of 'a' in every single simile (e.g it came upon them, like some infernal train'), this has the effect of weakening and dulling the text when it is in full flow.

Overall a fun book full of Zafon's usual flair, but suffering from a slightly confused and not fully worked out plot.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Midnight Palace, 3 May 2011
By 
TheRedBlueBlur (England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
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Carlos Ruiz Zafon weaves a story full of intense visual imagery in this period tale of suspense and drama, but it is not a book for young children.

The fact that there is a review from a 12yr old on the back of the book could be very misleading. Waterstone's reviewer says it has "the force of Stephen King" and another reviewer ends their review with "SCARY!". So you may want to think twice before letting one of your kids read it before bedtime, or at any time in fact!

This is a cleverly written work full of 1930's atmosphere and if you like ghost stories then you may well like this one, but it really should be marketed in the older teen or adult market as many of the themes of this book are unsuitable for anyone younger.

Well written but too spooky for me!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Silly, 31 Jan 2014
By 
R. A. Davison (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
'The Midnight Palace' is a ruin which provides the headquarters of a club for a group of teenage orphans who when about to age out of their orphanage, discover that one of their number, Ben, is the victim of a curse.

I read a lot of books and I read across genres and age ranges. Certain books are published for and marketed specifically at young adults but in many cases this has not prevented me from enjoying them, and I do really like discovering young adult books with the potential to crossover and have meaning to readers of all ages. I've read another Carlos Ruiz Zafon young adult novel 'The Prince Of Mist' before and really rather enjoyed it

Unfortunately this was not the case with this book : the plot repeatedly made no sense, events were often ludicrous and the book as a whole had this sense of melodrama and hysteria about it. For a ghost story it didn't scare particularly, the villain was a little panto & the box opening denouement was just bizarre.

When I read this book I was so annoyed with it that I tweeted that I just wanted to write 'This book was rubbish' and nothing else as my review - given that I was never its target audience that seemed a little uncharitable, but it is after all my opinion!

There are at the moment some great books out there aimed at this age range ( I recommend Patrick Ness & John Green) this just sadly, for me, was not one of them
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars CRZafon book, 21 Mar 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Midnight Palace (Paperback)
Have not read it yet so am unable to give a poper feedback. However will do so as soon as I have the time to read it!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Didn't like., 17 Aug 2012
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This review is from: The Midnight Palace (Paperback)
From the reviews I was expecting a pleasurable book, but didn't enjoy it at all, though did read it to the end.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Exciting, 14 Mar 2012
This was a departure from Zafon's previous two books The Shadow of the Wind and the Angels Game. I was expecting something similar but the story turned out to be a set in India not Spain. However, it was cleverly written but a little far-fetched in places, bordering on a horror fantasy.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars disapointing, 28 Jan 2012
I read this book as a member of a book club. I thought it began better than it ended and whilst there were some real moments of beautful descriptive writing, those moments were inconsistant. I also thought the story was a bit rubbish.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not great-just my opnion, 3 Aug 2011
Having absolutely loved 'The Shadow of the wind' and his other books, I am extremely disappointed with 'The Midnight Palace. Carlos Ruiz Zafon is a great writer, in fact, my favourite. Unfortunately this time it was not for me.
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The Midnight Palace
The Midnight Palace by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (Paperback - 26 April 2012)
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