Friday, 13 May 2011

El Príncipe de la Niebla - Book Review

I am starting my series of book reviews with the debut novel from one of my favourite authors - Carlos Ruiz Zafón. He is probably best known for 'La Sombra del Viento' ('The Shadow of the Wind), which was his first book for Adults and his first to be translated into English. Before that though, he wrote four books for younger readers, by which I guess I mean older children and teenagers.

The title of the book means 'The Prince of Mist' although I think it sounds better in Spanish. Like most of his books there is a supernatural theme, but unlike his later books it is set in England in 1943 rather than in his native Barcelona. The story is about Max, and the events following his family's move to the coast to escape the city and the war. Max, his sister Alicia and local boy Roland gradually begin to uncover dark secrets in the seaside village where they find themselves. The book is easy to read if you have a reasonable level of reading Spanish, and the pace is quick enough to keep it interesting. It is a little odd as an English reader to be reading a Spanish book set in England, but I quickly got used to that. Plot wise, I found myself gradually being drawn into a supernatural world. It feels a bit like a children's version of a Stephen King novel. Several of Ruiz Zafón's trademarks from his later books are already there, such as the many flashbacks gradually filling in the missing pieces.

This is not the author's most accomplished book but it is still an excellent read, and it is the easiest of his books to read for a student of Spanish.

If you want to buy the book, you can find it here (in Spanish) on Amazon (UK) or here on Amazon (US).

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