Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Prince of Mist by Carlos Ruiz Zafón


Last summer when I was on vacation in Scotland I read in the Sunday Book Review what the best books were to take on holiday. The woman that wrote the article wrote about The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. She wrote that it was a wonderful prequel to one of the best books she had ever read, Shadow of the Wind. Now when a reviewer writes about their favorite book it must be good. She was right on. When I returned home I bought Shadow of the Wind and couldn’t put it down. I had to wait patiently for The Angel’s Game (Paperbacks reduce the amount of money spent on books!) to come out in paperback. It was perfect timing because it was right when school got out.

At the same time The Angels’ Game was released in paperback Zafón’s first novel was released in English in the States. Zafón states at the beginning of the book in “A Note From the Author” that the book had been trapped in a legal issue. Here is the exciting part it is considered a YA book. Even more exciting news it is not totally YA, and it is on my list for a read aloud next year.

The Prince of Mist by Carlos Ruiz Zafón is a mysterious supernatural tale that takes place during World War II. The Carver family moves from the capital to a seaside village. It is on The Channel, but it is hard to tell exactly where. This adds to the mysterious nature of the story. It is very different from Shadow of the Wind and The Angel’s Game where Barcelona is an important character. The story is about a family that moves to a house with a tragic past. The main characters are the son Max, his older sister Alicia, their new friend Roland and the Prince of Mist. The Prince of Mist goes by many names. His most recent is Dr. Cain. He grants wishes, but with a huge debt attached. A debt is still owed to him and he has returned to collect. The battle between good and evil is very clear. Max and Alicia risk their lives to help their new friend Roland.

As I was reading The Prince of Mist I could help but feel that Dr. Cain is very similar to Andreas Corelli from The Angel’s Game. Both are evil through and through! There are hidden identities in all three novels. The uncertainty of who someone really is makes all three books such wonderful reads. I love the feeling of wanting to quickly finishing a book to find out what happens, but once I am finished I miss the characters. Zafón’s beautiful use of language is hypnotizing. Of course, his wonderful translator Lucia Graves eloquently puts his words into English. No easy task. I end with a passage from The Angel’s Game:

I stepped in the book shop and breathed in that perfume of paper and magic that strangely no one had ever thought of bottling.

I cannot wait to share Zafón with kids!

1 comment:

Seth S said...

Hi Kyle,

I think a lot of your readers are teachers or perhaps in some area of education and so I’m writing to suggest www.school-counselor.org as a resource link on your blog. This website provides career and licensure information for those who are interested in moving into the school counseling profession.

Hope this is helpful,

Seth Sanford