Thirteen year old Max moves to a coastal town with his family during World War II to escape the dangers of living in the city. His Dad is bit of an eccentric watchmaker who fell in love with an abandoned estate during a previous visit. The estate has a sad history since the last owners' son, Jacob, died there. It also has a creepy concrete garden of carnival statues. Max finds this disconcerting especially when the statues appear to be living. When terrifying and unexplainable events happen to himself, his siblings and his new friend Roland, Max pushes deep into the past to find out the circumstances surrounding Jacob's death.
Although there is plenty of creepiness in The Prince of Mist, it lacks Zafon's usual flare for turn of phrase. Perhaps it is because it was written for the younger crowd, but I suspect it's more likely due to being his debut novel. It doesn't have that polish I expect from him. As I said, it's a young adult story with the main characters being teens and most of the adults conveniently missing for the second half of the novel. They have to battle dark and evil forces themselves. The things they encounter are the stuff of childhood nightmares: living statues, evil magicians and creepy clowns. Yep, creepy clowns; they get me every time. I haven't been the same since Poltergeist.
|Scarred for life by this guy|
The plot skated along at a nice pace until close to the end where it started to unravel. The ending was somewhat disappointing to me. This is kind of a spoiler (highlight): I thought that good should have triumphed over evil. Another issue I had was with the book was how the point of view for most of the time was Max's but very occasionally it was one of the other kids. It was jarring.
The Prince of Mist has a high creep factor but it's also a coming of age story. War hangs over them all. They've all lost something in the move away from the city and they know the longer the war drags on the more they have to lose.
About the audio: Jonathan Davis was an excellent narrator but the audio incorporated music and sound effects into the story. I don't like that.