Tag Archives: Spain

The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

I loved, loved, loved The Shadow of the Wind, so it’s no surprise that I jumped on the chance to read Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s The Prisoner of Heaven nearly as soon as it was released.

This is the third book (of four, I believe) in this collection (they’re not exactly chronological, so I’m not going to call it a series) of gothic novels. Set in Barcelona, it takes place primarily in 1957, but some sections are set a couple decades earlier.

Lots of readers were put off by the second book, The Angel’s Game. They found it too convoluted or too vague. I didn’t mind the ambiguity; the twists and turns and lack of one singular reality was apropos to me. Still, I didn’t like it nearly as well as I did The Shadow of the Wind. I didn’t hate it, either. It was just OK.

This one falls somewhere in between OK and all-out love for me. It’s not nearly as complex (practically entirely straightforward) as I remember either of the other two being, which might be good for those who disliked The Angel’s Game, but I was almost disappointed by the lack of levels. The Cemetery of Forgotten Books experience in this book isn’t nearly as magical. In fact, this may be the least magical book of the three (as in, most of this story can be explained by rules of the natural world).

This volume also had a decided lack of female presence, which was disappointing to me.

What I like: It’s very atmospheric and the sense of place is strong. The writing is fun to read.

Not that I exactly know, since I have nothing to compare it to, but I get the feeling that Lucia Graves’ translation is outstanding.

Here are my reviews of The Shadow of the Wind and The Angel’s Game.

3.5 stars (out of 5)

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Alison’s Book Marks

I received this book from the publisher. I am an Amazon Associate and receive a small commission on sales through my affiliate links.


The Prince of Mist by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

The Prince of Mist by Carlos Ruiz Zafón (1993; translated by Lucia Graves; Little, Brown; May 4, 2010), 224 pages

Max’s family leaves the city for the quieter, safer life of a small coastal town in 1943. But Max notices strange things about the town, and the Carvers’ new house, right off.

I’m so glad to see more of Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s work being translated into English! After loving The Shadow of the Wind and even not loving The Angel’s Game I’ve been longing for more from this author to read.

I would classify The Prince of Mist as more horror than the others I’ve read by him. Still, it felt more like I was reading a book that was scary than that I was being scared by the book. Does that make sense? I’m guessing it’s because it’s a YA title.

The writing in this book doesn’t seem as vibrant to me as in the other two books I’ve read of his. I’m not sure if that’s because this was his first book, or if, perhaps, it’s because it’s for a younger audience.

I thought the way the author gets the adults out of the way for most of the action was great. The main characters are able to have a well-adjusted family but the danger-fraught story line isn’t hindered by their presence.

As much as I was happy to read this book, it’s not my favorite from him; that position is still firmly held by The Shadow of the Wind. That’s due in part to the story (this one isn’t book-centric, and it’s also a bit on the scary side for my taste, which is funny to say because it really feels like a YA book in this respect) and in part to the writing (which wasn’t bad in this case, but really shines in the other titles of his I’ve read). I’ll still jump at the next Ruiz Zafón book I can get in English, though.

The book’s trailer:

About the author
Carlos Ruiz Zafón doesn’t write fast enough for my taste; he’s the author of 6 books.

Other reviews
Alison’s Book Marks
The Introverted Reader
Fantasy Book Critic
A Dribble of Ink

Have you reviewed this book? Leave me a link and I’ll add it here.

I received this book from the publisher.