The Midnight Palace – Carlos Ruiz Zafón

I really like Carlos Ruiz Zafón. The Shadow of the Wind is one of my favourite books, and while I didn’t enjoy the content of The Angel’s Game as much as I wanted to, I still love his writing. It’s the type of writing that puts me in my insta-cozy reader’s world—all I want to do is sit on a couch on a rainy day with his book, a cup of tea, a blanket, and some chocolate. (I know, really original reader’s fantasy, eh?)

Anyways, I’ve wanted to read his YA books for a while, and when I was at the bookstore last, I saw The Midnight Palace.

The Midnight Palace tells the story of what happens between seven friends in Calcutta in May 1932. Ben, Ian, Isobel, Roshan, Siraj, and Michael are all orphans about to turn 16. But when a girl named Sheere, who is actually Ben’s twin sister (although neither of them know it) unexpectedly shows up at the orphanage, they learn something terrifying—a ghastly figure is hunting both twins, a figure with unimaginable power and a secret of his own.

This is the perfect introduction to Carlos Ruiz Zafón. Many of Zafón’s signature writing features are present here; the time period, the dirty and yet beautiful city descriptions, the intricate mystery that gradually unfolds throughout the tale, and the beginning hints of doomed love. However, the writing in this story is not at the same standard as his other adult works. The plot is simpler, and the language and descriptions aren’t quite as artistic. This story was written before The Shadow of the Wind, so this simplistic style might very well be from a combination of this being an early work, and it being directed for a teen audience. And that’s okay.

I enjoyed this story. It continuously reminded me of Stephen King’s It, with the group of misfit friends that have to face some great evil power. I loved that! I found that the ending fell a little flat for me because the mystery kept getting so crazy and huge that the ending just couldn’t, in my opinion, match the mystery itself. However, it was definitely still a good, gothic-y read, which is exactly what I look for with this author. For a bit of a lighter dose of Zafón, this is definitely a recommended title!


  • Donna Hosie

    The Shadow of the Wind is my favourite all time novel. Have you read The Prisoner of Heaven yet? It is only just released but is the third book in the series. It is so wonderful, better than The Angel's Game.

  • Mere Joyce

    No, I haven't! I saw it a couple of weeks ago in the store, and kind of freaked out, lol. But I had *just* bought a bunch of books (The Midnight Palace included), so I figured I'd better read some of them first. I'm going to be purchasing it soon, and am happy to hear it is better than The Angel's Game!

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