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Carlos Ruiz Zafon

On My Bookshelf: The Prince of Mist, by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

the-prince-of-mist
The Prince of Mist

This was Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s very first novel! He wrote it in 1992, but it did not get translated into English until 2010. The Author’s Note in the book explains that his first four novels (preceding the Cemetery of Forgotten Books series, containing: The Shadow of the Wind; The Angel’s Game; and The Prisoner of Heaven) are young adult novels, but that he hoped the books would appeal to all ages. This one will, though I would venture to rate it PG-13 for adult situations.

My expectations were high going in because the series of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books are some of the best three books I have ever read in my life! Mr. Zafon as a first time novelist gave a chilling and sad ghost story. The subject involves: A clock that goes backwards; a mysterious shipwreck; an evil magician; a garden of statues that move; and a family with young children who move into an abandoned beach house – one where the previous owner’s son drowned. The character of Cain has elements that share commonalities with the character of Andreas Corelli in The Angel’s Game, although in this tale Cain is called a “magician” versus outright making him the devil incarnate.

In other news, I got an email blast the other day announcing that the fourth book in the Cemetery of Forgotten Books series will be translated into English in 2018. The book is titled “The Labyrinth of Spirits.” I marked my calendar. That is the first time I have ever had to do that for a release so far in advance! I do not want to miss that book. Meanwhile, I still have the other three young adult novels he authored to read: The Midnight Palace; Marina; and The Watcher in the Shadows.

 

On My Bookshelf: The Angel’s Game, by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

The Angel's Game

Addictive, compelling, one of the best books I’ve ever read. Kept me up at night reading. This is the second book of the “Cemetery of Forgotten Books” series.

**SPOILER ALERT**

How much is real vs. what is all a product of David Martin’s tortured mind is up to the reader to decide. This is part of the magic and fun of the book. Compare the scene on p.106 with Cristina displaying the photo of a young girl holding the hand of a man, walking on the beach. She finds it in her father’s possessions after he passes, and she says to Martin: “I don’t know. I don’t remember that place or that day. I’m not even sure that man is my father. It’s as if the moment never existed…” Then, go to the end of the book on p. 529 where Corelli says he is punishing David with bringing Cristina back to him as a child. The moment comes full circle!

David is introduced to The Cemetery of Forgotten Books and “Lux Aeterna,” by D.M. draws him in. When he begins reading, he realizes that the mysterious mansion he’s been renting was also the former house of “D.M.,” and that very likely he typed it using the same typewriter that David had recently been using. Creepy!

There are too many story lines and characters for everything to just be in David’s head, I think. But, what about all the deaths – his previous publishers; Pedro; and Cristina? Did David do it? If it is all in his head, how do you explain what happened to the previous occupant, “D.M.,” and all of those interwoven stories?

A story of a madman or a story of man who made a deal with the devil? I don’t know. It’s beautifully complicated. I’m halfway through “The Prisoner of Heaven,” the third installment. Maybe I will know more by tomorrow night!

On My Bookshelf: The Shadow of the Wind, by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

A shot of my worn and tattered copy of Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s “The Shadow of the Wind,” complete with “OH MY GOD!” post-its. The Shadow of the WindI write about this book because I loved it, and I want to remember it. In writing, I am forced to reflect upon how much pleasure I derived from reading the book.

It is a gothic tale set in 1945, Barcelona. Daniel, the bookseller’s son, is introduced to The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, and makes his selection of one book from the labyrinth to take home and care for. In doing so, he finds himself involved in a real-life mystery. You see, the book he selected was written by a man named Julian Carax, and very well may be the last book in existence by Carax. Someone has been finding the Carax works and destroying them.

I love that it is a book about a book! I love the story, but I also love the writing itself, and how Zafon has a style that makes me want to keep reading. The man is a beautiful writer. The “Angel of the Mist” story that begins on page 233 is a haunting touch, as is Maria Jacinta’s detailing of her encounters with Zacarias (begin on page 260), and the storyline of Daniel and Fermin visiting her in the asylum.

I loved this first book so much that I immediately started reading the second book in the series, and I am about 200 pages in to “The Angel’s Game,” right now! To think, I found this gorgeous read because of a visit to the Book Warehouse over the July 4 weekend, where I unwittingly purchased the third book in the series first!

 

 

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