Review Blog

Jun 30 2010

The Prince of Mist by Carlos Ruiz Zafron

cover image

Text Publishing, 2010. ISBN 9781921656354.
(Age 11+) Recommended. When Max Carver's father decides to move his family to a small town on the coast, Max is fascinated by the secrets in the old house that they live in. It has a strange garden with statues that look like a circus troop. An eerie clown statue which stands at the centre of the six-pointed star in the garden, seems to come alive. A black cat with strange eyes attaches itself to the family and they find old films belonging to the previous owners, the Fleischmanns, whose son has died in mysterious circumstances. In the bay below the house is a ship that was wrecked many years before in a terrible storm. Max meets Roland and together with his sister Alicia, they go diving to investigate the shipwreck. Gradually the chilling story of the Prince of Mists emerges.
The Prince of Mist was first published in 1993 and was specifically written for young adults by Carlos Ruiz Zafron who has had enormous success with his adult novel Shadow of the wind. It is a haunting story of the evil Dr Cain who promises wish fulfilment, but at a terrible price. I was fascinated with the idea of having a wish granted and it was a compelling exercise to see what people were prepared to give up to gain what they wanted. The story is much more subtle than found in many of the gothic thrillers around, and although deceptively easy to read, leaves behind much to think about.
Told in the third person, all the characters are fleshed out well. Max is an inquisitive boy, who is determined to find out about the frightening Clown apparition. The Prince of Mists emerges as a very sinister and frightening character, who is scary enough to stay in the reader's memory. Roland and Alicia's delicate romance add to the interest and the adults in the family, seen through the eyes of Max, are believable.
I thoroughly enjoyed this suspenseful, well-written and creepy ghost story.
Pat Pledger

Archived Blog Entries
Latest News
Miles Franklin longlist 2017
Reading Children's Book Prize 2017
Klaus Flugge Prize shortlist 2017
Branford Boase Award shortlist 2017
Text Prize 2017
NSW Premier Literary Awards shortlist 2017
Aurealis Awards winners
YABBA Awards shortlist 2017
Stella Prize 2017
2017 YALSA Teens' Top Ten Nominees
CBCA shortlists 2017
YA Book Prize 2017 shortlist
School Library Association Information Book Award 2017

ReadPlus Features
Print similar authors bookmark
Read similar authors
How to find lesson plans
Sample theme animation

Promote Reading
Staff holiday reading list 2016
South Australian Christian Schools Conference 2016 - Library Displays
Display calendars
Science fiction and fantasy lists SAETA conference 2015
Value of School Libraries
Library, Reading development and the Internet
Free Rights of the Reader Poster
Reviews: Author index
Books for boys
Bookmark and poster templates