Max Carver’s father – a watchmaker and inventor – decides to move his family to a small town on the coast, to an old house that once belonged to a prestigious surgeon, Dr Richard Fleischmann. But the house holds many secrets and stories of its own. Behind it is an overgrown garden full of statues surrounded by a metal fence topped with a six-pointed star. When he goes to investigate, Max finds that the statues seem to consist of a kind of circus troop with the large statue of a clown at its centre. Max has the curious sensation that the statue is beckoning to him.
As the family settles in they grow increasingly uneasy: they discover a box of old films belonging to the Fleischmanns; his sister has disturbing dreams and his other sister hears voices whispering to her from an old wardrobe. They also discover the wreck of a boat that sank many years ago in a terrible storm. Everyone on board perished except for one man – an engineer who built the lighthouse at the end of the beach. During the dive, Max sees something that leaves him cold – on the old mast floats a tattered flag with the symbol of the six-pointed star. As they learn more about the wreck, the chilling story of the Prince of the Mists begins to emerge.
The Prince of Mist is not a book I would normally pick up. In the past books that fall into this category are either left after a handful of pages or devoured in a short space of time – thankfully this is one book that falls into the latter category. While I wasn’t too sure what exactly to expect I found myself drawn to it by the back cover synopsis and the style of the first few pages. The Prince of Mist turned out to be an extremely enjoyable and satisfying read and one I would recommend to anyone.
To start with, The Prince of Mist is very much a novel aimed at the young adult, but can equally appeal to the adult readers who enjoy a simple, yet well told, story. The basic premise is outlined in the synopsis, but a description of any sort cannot do this book justice. It really needs to be read to be fully appreciated.
Max, his sister Alicia, and Roland are the main characters that take us on this very vivid journey with plenty of discoveries along the way and a good twist in the tale. The way that Max is pulled into the myths and legends is extremely good and allows the reader to connect with him in a very real way. The atmosphere was exceedingly well crafted and it shows just how good a storyteller that Zafón is, not to mention that at a touch over 200 pages he delivers it with a style that makes it seem so much more than what it is.
What Zafón has done with The Prince of Mist is to deliver an enjoyable and quick paced novel that can appeal to many readers. This is also a novel that feels deep and meaningful, but in such a way that is subtle, allowing the moments of revelation to come upon the reader without much notice and leave many things going through the mind. I easily pictured myself in Max’s situation many a time and felt I could relate easily to him – it is this that makes The Prince of Mist such a great read and a book I could recommend without hesitation.