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Everything about this story is on the checklist for young adult genre cliché, but between the author's graceful Spanish flair, the narrator's lively telling, and the producer's spot-on background sounds, the entire thing manages to delight where similar books have been doomed. You've got a brother and sister who are coming of age, forced to move to a sleepy seaside town by the war encroaching upon their city, and the charming local boy next door who befriends them. You've got the tragic death of a young boy who once lived in the house, the father who fixes clocks, the reclusive grandfather harboring a secret, the eerily vigilant stray cat, the creepy clown, the mythic traveling magician, and rumors of a deal made with the devil. Don't forget to throw in an overgrown garden where the statues seem to move, some terrifying old home movie projector interruptions, and an abandoned shipwreck inhabited by a fearsome sea monster.
Taken together, these conventional bits are a recipe for surprising success as Davis gives real spirit and charm to the teens menaced by this mystery. When The Prince of Mist finally makes his grand entrance, his grizzled taunts are some of Davis' best work. Through the book, there is a gentle undercurrent of sounds that give the story a wonderfully cinematic feel. From moving trains to stormy seas, and meowing cats to screaming girls, the effects really kick the adrenaline up a notch. In addition, the opening and closing music is written and performed by the author himself, a very fitting dirge of piano and violin that perfectly conveys the mood of his story. What should be a light and cheesy mystery for kids is, in the end, somehow actually quite a magical piece of audio that will satisfy grown-ups as well. Megan Volpert
With the help of their new friend Roland, Max and Alicia Carver begin to explore the strange circumstances of that death and discover the existence of a mysterious being called the Prince of Mist - a diabolical character who has returned from the shadows to collect on a debt from the past. Soon the three friends find themselves caught up in an adventure of sunken ships and an enchanted stone garden - an adventure that will change their lives forever.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Diane on 06-24-11
Really for teens but good!
I enjoyed this book though I was surprised as I got into it that it's really for teens. I will let my teen son listen. No bad language. No real violence. Reads like a teen novel as far as action and character development. I really enjoyed it though. Reminds me of Something Wicked this Way comes - sort of eerie carnival type story with ghosts etc. Fun listen and great narrator.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful
By R. J. Melton on 08-02-11
Lovely book...and a good narrator!
I love all of Carlos Ruiz Zafon's books, I hope there will be more available soon! Mystical, magical mayhem...I loved everything about this story, absolutely everything.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful