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on 27 December 2013
Maybe my sights were to high. I recommend you forget whatever you may have read before from this author before you start on this, have a fresh mind. Its a great story, obviously aimed at the YA but still well written and draws you in. Definately worth reading though.
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on 12 September 2017
young adult read great
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on 9 February 2016
Very happy with product & service, excellent
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on 2 March 2014
Could not put it down what a great read Have read all his books this will keep you captivated enjoy
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on 28 May 2010
"Max would never forget that faraway summer when, almost by chance, he discovered magic." So begins The Prince of Mist, the first novel by Spain's most notable literary export since Cervantes. And it's an extraordinary start; punchy, memorable and telling. Combined with the great expectations of all those readers won over by the dizzying charms of The Shadow of the Wind and The Angel's Game, it sets a high bar for the remainder of this short, sharp novel to reach.

It's taken nearly 20 years for Carlos Ruiz Zafon's all-ages debut to overcome the language barrier, and it arrives on our English-speaking shores courtesy of the same superlative translator - Lucia Graves - who brought us the author's more adult efforts. In that time, Zafon has been catapulted from moderate renown in a modest nation to global literary stardom, and it's little wonder: The Shadow of the Wind was a spellbinding meta-textual labyrinth of a narrative, and though less critically acclaimed, I found its physical and spiritual successor to be nearly the equal of that unforgettable experience.

The lineage of The Prince of Mist, however, is a less certain thing. The tale of a young boy whose close-knit family the war has forced into a seaside retreat, and who finds in the overgrown garden behind his idyllic new home the beginnings of a mystery that soon comes to captivate his shell-shocked imagination, Zafon's reclaimed debut is fun, no doubt about it, and accomplished - for a first novel - but otherwise... unremarkable. Needless to say it's no regression, but reading a novel divorced from its proper chronological order in which the ideas and themes that so dazzled in Zafon's later adult fiction are but sparks, glittering beneath the waves of the coastal refuge Max finds with a friend, is a curious and somewhat deflating experience.

So put your expectations away: this is not - not quite - the sort of fiction that we have come to stand in awe of Carlos Ruiz Zafon for. In fact, those glimmers that point to the author's eventual literary evolution can be so distracting as to prove problematic. If you can hide that context in the back of your mind, you'll find what The Prince of Mist is, assuredly, is a fine example of fanciful, young adult fantasy. You'll read it in an evening and perhaps forget it in a week, but for those few hours spent immersed in its evocative environs, you can be sure you'll have a jolly old time of it.

The plan is to publish Zafon's three remaining YA novels over the next three years, and I for one will be there for them, but ultimately, The Prince of Mist is but a pleasant blip of a book. Readers of all ages will find within its pages a grand, fast-paced and involving narrative, and while there will be among those a few who hold The Shadow of the Wind and The Angel's Game in such high regard that they'll surely struggle to see past their preconceptions, bear in mind that, in the author's own words, The Prince of Mist "was the book that allowed me to become a professional writer and to start my career as a novelist," and for that - and not that alone, I should stress - we must be thankful.
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on 2 May 2011
not without it's problems! This is an excellent author and there are some genuinely beautifully written sections and the book itself is enjoyable but as a ghost story this struggles. It's simply ridiculous before the end and as I was reading it I was aware that the plot was leaking (never a good sign when you're actually noticing while reading) and that the tense build up wasn't going to work. Nevertheless a highly enjoyable piece and YA should definitely being reading literature like this rather some of the rubbish that they do like - Jordan's biography anyone?!

Carlos Ruiz Zafon is always worth a read - and if you haven't read Shadow of the Wind. Do so. Now!
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on 5 April 2010
This is a magical book that had me gripped from the very first pages. It starts off as a light read, of a family moving home during the wartime and settling into their new house, but slowly, slowly, the tension mounts until I found I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. About halfway through, the tale becomes haunting and the story turns quite dark and chilling. The author has created a fabulous atmosphere with his masterful style of writing. He captivates with his skilful ability to bring to life a world that only exists in his mind but yet becomes so real for the reader. To be able to create such a vividly alive tale in such a book of only 200 pages is a sign of a naturally gifted storyteller, which Zafon certainly is.

If this is the kind of scary that Ruiz Zafon can create for the YA market then I'd love to read something in this genre by him aimed at adults. Having said that, there are a few plot holes that made me tut out loud, but my copy is a proof so it may be that these small distractions will be ironed out in the final editing.

This was Carlos Ruiz Zafon's first book that he wrote in 1993. It can't be compared to his well-known series beginning with Shadow of the Wind, as it is entirely a different genre and aimed at the YA market. However, it does have the same pulling power and I do want to read the rest of the series. I believe there are 3 more to come.
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on 15 August 2017
this was the only book by Zafon that I hadn't read so when i spotted it on the library shelf I had to grab it. It's a fairly short book at just over 200 pages. In fact I read it in one sitting. Made all the more readable by Zafon's amazing stroy-telling powers and mysterious events that keep you hooked throughout.

When Max and his family move to a small beach-side cottage he isn't sure what to make of it, especially when he finds a strange blocked off garden with some creepy statues, one of a clown and the others as circus performers, even stranger Max swears he sees one of them move. As events around the beach front start to get even stranger the secrets of the old lighthouse keeper start to emerge. The Prince of Mist was a story, a cloaked man would grant you anything your heart desires if you just ask. What they don't know is that the wish comes with a price and if you don't fulfill your end then he will come back for you. But it's all just stories, right? Max, with his sister and his new friend Roland must discover just what happened all those years ago with the sunken ship and why the lighthouse keeper is so nervous, and just what could the Prince of Mist want after all these years.

The story has a romance element between Roland and Alicia but it isn't forced, it seems very natural and I like the couple together, the mystery will keep you hooked to the end and you won't see the twist coming. There are some spooky moments but mostly it's just exciting and will keep you turning the pages. I had finished it before I knew it, the ending is very satisfying if not a little sad, and as always I wanted more.

This one is aimed at younger readers and is the perfect introduction to his works.
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on 7 September 2017
A short and dark YA novel that captivates the reader through Zafon’s use of atmospheric descriptions, gothic themes and adventure that leaves the reader on tenterhooks. Max and his family have moved to a small village on the coast to escape their war-torn city life, however, as soon as they arrive, mystery, death and a sinister tale reawaken, and they have swapped the danger of war, for the unknowable danger that lurks in the mist.

With the help of their new friend Roland, Max and his sister Alicia begin to explore the suspicious circumstances of the death of the former owner’s son of their new house they have moved in to. Max, Alicia and Roland embark on an mystery which concerns that death, eerie statues and 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. This adventure marks an end to their childhood and will change each of their lives forever.

Having read some of Zafon’s work before I went into this book with high expectations, which were not met in this creepy and gothic YA story. One aspect of Prince of Mist which was particularly good was the pacing of the story. The progression of events were quick and there were to the point, which was complimented also with short chapters leading me to race through this book.

A few criticisms of mine concerning some aspects of the story:

0 The central conflict is ill-defined, Cain’s origins are not explored or explained, nor is what happens to him in the end explained either. Plenty of unanswered questions.
0 The ending lacked a sense of significance and it passed all too quickly.
0 The absence of the parents for three days to be at the bedside of their other daughter was a poor inclusion, as it is unlikely that parents would leave two children at home on their own.

All in all, the story was an intriguing one, and it was a refreshing change in terms of YA literature. Rather than having the same kind of story we all see in this genre, it was good to read something eerie and dark, and didn’t have the same tropes that we read all too often. For those wanting to read YA, and fancy something slightly different, give it a read!
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on 3 February 2012
Max and his family of three siblings move to the sea coast during wartime. At the station, however, at his entry to the new place, Max notices that the hands on the clock are moving backwards. There are other strange occurrences. His elder sister, Alicia, becomes brooding and introverted, while his younger sister, Irina, is adopted by an evil-looking cat.

The family's home is by the shore and Max's family is the first to live in it for 18 years, when the doctor who built it in 1925, Richard Fleischmann, lost his only son, Jacob, by drowning when he was aged seven. The doctor died soon after and Mrs Fleischmann soon put up the house up for sale.

Max meets a boy named Roland, who invites him to go diving on a shipwreck of the Orpheus in which his grandfather, Victor, had sailed. Victor has built a lighthouse to protect other ships from the same fate. The three, Max, Roland and Alicia, partake in these the adventures, with spooky tale following spooky tale.

The teens learn about Mr. Cain, who owned a travelling circus, a fortune teller/wish merchant who supposedly died in the shipwreck years ago. He was able to grant wishes, but also as payment, exacted a steep price from his "clients".

There's Roland tale of the Prince of Mist, the shipwreck, the drowning of the small boy. Then Max discovers the creepy and ghostly Garden of Statues near his house, and a graveyard. The statues are circus characters, including a lion tamer, a strongman, fakir, a contortionist all arranged in a star shape - and at their centre is a spooky clown. Max believes the clown's hand has moved whilst he was exploring the garden. He discovers at the clown statue's base a strange symbol: a six-pointed star within a circle. Max and Roland see that symbol again at the bottom of the ocean.

The story follows its path to an ending that I didn't feel was merited, as there was the possibility of debts having been repaid/ unpaid (the reason this is cryptic is to avoid a spoiler).
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