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Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Carlos Ruiz Zafón was born in Barcelona in 1964. His work has been published in more than forty languages, and honored with numerous international awards, including the Edebé Award, Spain’s most prestigious prize for young adult fiction. Before his death in June 2020, he divided his time between Barcelona and Los Angeles, where he worked as a scriptwriter. Here’s Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s website.


The Angel’s Game: Held me in thrall for a week

The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

I had intended to simply glance at the first page of The Angel’s Game and then set it aside to finish other books I was reading, but the first paragraph ensnared me:
A writer never forgets the first time he accepted a few coins or a word of praise in exchange for a story. He will never forget the sweet poison of vanity in his blood, and the belief that, if he succeeds in not letting anyone discover his lack of talent, the dream of literature will provide him with a roof over his head, a hot meal at the end of the day, and what he covets the most: his name printed on a miserable piece of paper that surely will outlive him. A writer is condemned to remember that moment, because from then on he is doomed and his soul has a price.
The Angel’s Game follows up on the promise of its first paragraph with great skill. The... Read More

The Midnight Palace: Addresses serious issues in an authentic way

The Midnight Palace by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Twins are separated at birth, neither one knowing about the other. They are pursued by a villain who seems almost supernatural. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? The Midnight Palace, written by Carlos Ruiz Zafón, who wrote The Angel’s Game, embraces the twins-in-danger story and still delivers surprises.

The Midnight Palace is marketed as young adult. Zafón respects his audience, addressing serious issues in an authentic way. Real world problems are not solved at the end with a homily about everyone getting along. I was a little disappointed in some of the secondary characters, who were not as developed as I would have liked. Overall, though, the vivid visuals, the setting (1932 Calcutta) and the interesting story carried me along. Ben and Sheere, the twins, are sweet, and Ian, who narrates part... Read More

Marina: A gorgeous story for teens and adults

Marina by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

"Marina once told me that we only remember what never really happened. It would take me a lifetime to understand what those words meant. But I suppose I'd better start at the beginning, which in this case is the end."

Oscar Drai is an apathetic student at a boarding school in Barcelona in 1980. While he isn’t too excited about his studies, he is enamored with the old quarter of Barcelona where his school resides, and he escapes to explore the city every chance that he gets. When we first meet Oscar, he has just been picked up by the police because he’s been missing from school for a week. They find him confused and walking dazedly around the city. He is quickly processed at the police station and sent back to school. Then he tells us the story of the strange and tragic events that have just happened to him.

It all started when Oscar heard beautiful music coming from what he ... Read More

Other books by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Carlos Ruiz Zafón The Prince Of MistThe Prince Of Mist — (2010) Young adult. Publisher: The novel begins when Max Carver’s father — a watchmaker and inventor — decides to move his family to a small town on the Atlantic coast. They move into a house that was built for a prestigious surgeon, Dr Richard Fleischmann and his wife but was abandoned when the couple’s son drowned in a tragic accident. Behind the house Max spies an overgrown garden full of statues surrounded by a metal fence topped with a six-pointed star. When he goes to investigate, Max finds that the statues seem to consist of a kind of circus troop. In the centre of the garden is the large statue of a clown set in another six-pointed star. Max has the curious sensation that the statue is beckoning to him. As the family settles in they grow increasingly uneasy: they discover a box of old films belonging to the Fleischmanns; his sister has unsettling dreams and his other sister hears voices whispering to her from an old wardrobe. But Max spends most of his time with his new friend Roland, who takes him diving to the wreck of a boat that sank close to the coast in a terrible storm. Everyone on board perished except for one man — an engineer who built the lighthouse at the end of the beach. During the dive, Max sees something that leaves him cold — on the old mast floats a tattered flag and on it is the symbol of the circle and six-pointed star. As they learn more about the wreck, the chilling story of a legendary figure called Prince of the Mists begins to emerge.

fantasy and science fiction book reviewsThe Watcher in the Shadows — (2013) Young adult. Publisher: It was an unforgettable summer…. When fourteen-year-old Irene Sauvelle moves with her family to Cape House on the coast of Normandy, she’s immediately taken by the beauty of the place — its expansive cliffs, coasts, and harbors. There, she meets a local boy named Ishmael, and the two soon fall in love. But a dark mystery is about to unfold, involving a reclusive toymaker who lives in a gigantic mansion filled with mechanical beings and shadows of the past. As strange lights shine through the fog surrounding a small, barren island, Irene’s younger brother dreams of a dark creature hidden deep in the forest. And when a young girl is found murdered, her body at the end of a path torn through the woods by a monstrous, inhuman force, Irene and Ishmael wonder — has a demonic presence been unleashed on the inhabitants of Cape House? Together, they’ll have to survive the most terrifying summer of their lives, as they try to piece together the many mysteries and secrets hidden in a town torn apart by tragedy, amidst a labyrinth of lights and shadows.