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The Midnight Palace Paperback – April 10, 2012


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The Midnight Palace + The Prince of Mist + The Prisoner of Heaven: A Novel
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (April 10, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780316044745
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316044745
  • ASIN: 0316044741
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #252,291 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

It's fast-moving and never hesitates, and it quickly sketches the eight young people who inhabit its pages as quirky and likeable individuals, from the taciturn artist, Michael, to the fiery and intelligent Isobel. It's also a story about stories: tales from the past are woven into the narrative in an elegant way, with the whole book framed by the narrative of the last surviving member of the group. THE GUARDIAN ...if you have a taste for mystery, for the supernatural, for characters of mythic strength, loyalty and heroism... then pick this book up and revel in it. ARMADILLO Zafon's young adult fiction was published in Spain long before he became an international sensation, and its fascinating to see, in his second book, premonitory glimpses of The Shadow of the Wind. ..Zafon makes it look so easy but he's in a class of his own -- Suzi Feay FINANCIAL TIMES A beautiful, haunting and atmospheric tale imbued with the scent of the shady alleyways of Calcutta and a foreboding of tragedy. Good Book Guide March --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Carlos Ruiz Zafón is the author of six novels, including the New York Times bestseller The Prince of Mist and the international phenomena The Shadow of the Wind and The Angel's Game. His work has been published in more than fifty countries and honored with numerous awards. He divides his time between Barcelona, Spain, and Los Angeles, California.

More About the Author

Carlos Ruiz Zafón is the author of six novels, including the international phenomenon The Shadow of the Wind. His work has been published in more than forty different languages, and honored with numerous international awards, including the Edebé Award, Spain's most prestigious prize for young adult fiction. He divides his time between Barcelona, Spain, and Los Angeles, California.

Customer Reviews

This one may work for a young adult, but not for me.
Bookbird
I remember it took me a while to really get into the book, but once I did it, I couldn't put the book down until I was done reading it.
Murphy's Library
The characters and story are well-developed, and the book flows in ways that aren't predictable.
Christopher Alexander

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

44 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Keris Nine TOP 500 REVIEWER on May 5, 2011
Format: Hardcover
If you've read Shadow of the Wind, you'll know that there's not going to be a great deal of difference to the author's style and content when it comes to his earlier children's fiction, now being published in English. The Midnight Palace contains the same sense of adventure and mystery tied up in an elaborate family melodrama with literary references and a clear love of storytelling. Although there are less adult themes, The Midnight Palace is clearly the work of the same author, and it may even be better for the restraint imposed on it being a work for younger readers, and all the more effective in sustaining its magical qualities.

The Midnight Palace is the meeting place of a group of orphans in Calcutta in 1932 who have formed a secret society where they meet and tell stories, and there's a description in the book of the place exuding an "aura of magic and dreams that rarely exists beyond the blurred memories of our early years". Carlos Ruiz Zafón's writing (which reads extremely well here in a fluid translation) exudes the same aura, finding a potent mix of exoticism, symbolism, adventure and history and tying it into the destiny of two twins separated at birth who, as they reach 16 years of age, are being threatened by a dark magician.

There are many reasons why the book works so well, the author finding an exotic setting, a wonderful group of young orphans each with their own special talents to help each other out, and a thrilling dark fantasy mystery tied up in India's desire for independence, but principally the book extols the virtues of storytelling and thereby inspires the imagination of investigative young minds. Wonderfully written, The Midnight Palace is itself a terrific example of the power of those very same qualities that will work for children and for adults wishing to rekindle that sense of wonder that exists in "the blurred memories of our early years".
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By April @ My Shelf Confessions on May 15, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Reviewed by My Shelf Confessions blog

The Midnight Palace begins on a stormy night in Calcutta on May 1916; Lieutenant Peake is being chased by assassins as he carries two babies. The lieutenant is able to get them safely into the arms of a woman who he knows will protect them with her life. The woman then makes the momentous choice that in order to protect both children they will need to be separated from one another, so she abandons Ben at the doorstep of St. Patrick's Orphanage with only a letter explaining that his parents were murdered and the murderer swore to kill the child and any descendents.

The night the baby is discovered at the orphanage a strange man named Jawahal stops by unexpectedly and pries for information about the new orphan. The director of the orphanage suspects something is amiss and doesn't share any information with the stranger. Jawahal is particularly interested on what age the orphans are released into the world on their own - 16 years old - and he vows to return at that time.

Ben grows up not knowing his past but gets along well with the other orphans. He also starts a secret society with 6 other orphans, holding meetings at a local abandoned mansion they nickname The Midnight Palace. In May 1932, their lives change forever as every member turns 16 and is about to be released into the world to live their own lives, their secret society disbanded. Unfortunately, things don't go as smoothly as planned, and Ben's past steps back into his life in the form of a girl that appears on the doorstep of the orphanage as they are having a celebration to mark the special occasion. They must all work together in order to discover the mysteries of their past in the hopes they can stop a madman from stealing their future.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on April 20, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Once again, Carlos Ruiz Zafon has created characters, atmosphere, and a story that exhibit why he is a master in the tradition of Dumas. This sequel to "The Prince of Mist" gives us a fine story as well as a glimpse into the development of an author who would later write the masterpiece "The Shadow of the Wind." The only drawback to reading this book is knowing that it will be at least another year before a new one comes out.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Cynthia Hudson on October 4, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Something evil tried to kill Ben the night he was born, although he knows nothing about it. All he knows is that he was raised in an orphanage, and as his 16th birthday approaches he has to decide what he'll do when he has to leave there in a few days. He and his friends of the same age, who form a group they call the Chowbar Society, are celebrating together before they all must leave the orphanage as well. But strange events are about to change their plans.

Ben dreams of a fiery train with children trapped inside. An old woman comes to visit, bringing with her a granddaughter named Sheere. Ben learns Sheere is his twin, and they both are in grave danger from the being who killed their parents. He is called Jawahal, and he possesses extraordinary powers of destruction. Together the friends must find a way to find Jawahal and stop him before he finishes what he started 16 years before.

The Midnight Palace by Carlos Ruiz Zafon is deliciously dark. Zafon has mastered the art of creating mysterious and twisted antagonists, and he excels here with Jawahal, who is a frightening monster who lets nothing get in his way. Don't read this one at bedtime, or you may find that he haunts your dreams.

I recommend The Midnight Palace for ages 14 and up.
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