Max would never forget that faraway summer when, almost by chance, he discovered magic. So opens The Prince of Mist by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. Zafon states on his web site that this title launched his career as a writer in 1992. It was not until May of 2010 that is was translated by Lucia Graves and printed in English.
Before even leaving the train depot at their new town, Max is aware that things are not as they should be; the clock at the station is moving backward and his younger sister, Irina, has quickly adopted a stray cat that appears to have been waiting for them. Events rapidly unfold with Max's discovery of a unkempt, walled garden of circus statues; a clown at the center, Irina falling down the stairs; her injury placing her in a coma and strange dreams that plague his older sister , Alicia.
With his parents keeping vigil at his sister's bedside in town it seems that Max, his older sister Alicia and a new found friend , Roland are left to unravel the source of the darkness that is slowly gathering its forces. Roland is an orphan living with his surrogate Grandfather, the lighthouse keeper. His Grandfather was the only survivor of a shipwreck upon the rocks near this small community. To thank the townspeople for finding him and saving his life he built the lighthouse himself. He has kept watch all these many years but over what these three are soon to discover.
The tale that is told here is not new. When one is willing to sacrifice all for the granting of a wish or desire that is when Evil in its purest form starts to knock on the door. When a bargain is made Evil will wait to collect, but collect it always will. But what makes this story so eerie, so downright creepy is the writing of Carlos Ruiz Zafon; his choice of words is beautiful. He is a master of atmosphere and capturing the range of human flaws and heroics. A simple example of this is the name given to the character that represents Evil in this story--Cain.
Readers will be checking to make sure that all their doors and windows are locked while truly caring about the characters. This reader has to admit to waking up about 3AM, not being able to sleep and picking up this book to continue with the story. At just the right point in the book when the cat causes terrifying events that are very uncatlike, what should I hear outside but the yowling of a cat on my deck. What are the chances of that?! Creepy, very creepy...
If you dare to be scared this book is just the ticket. It moves very quickly and will be welcomed by readers of all reading abilities.