Book reviews

I’d already read The Shadow of the Wind and loved it enormously, so was very happy to find The Midnight Palace in the latest big bag of books that Aunty G shared with me.

The Midnight Palace had a children’s adventure story-feel about it. The story followed a group of teenage orphans living in Calcutta in 1932, one of whom appeared to be in danger of being killed by a supernatural, evil being called Jawahel.

The story began with an English soldier rescuing new-born twins, a boy and a girl from Jawahel after the death of their mother. The soldier took the twins to their grandmother who sent the boy, Ben, to an orphanage while keeping the girl, Sheere with her in an attempt to hide their identities. Growing up, Sheere lived a transient life with her grandmother as they hid from Jawahel.

Eventually Ben and Sheere met in Calcutta and discovered they were twins. With the help of Ben’s friends from the orphanage, who called themselves the members of the Chowbar Society, they sought to learn why Jawahel wanted to kill Ben or Sheere, or both.

I was very disappointed in this story and found myself skimming through the second half of the book. The writing was beautiful, as you would expect from the author of The Shadow of the Wind but the fantastical elements of the story didn’t make sense to me and a lot of the plot just seemed silly. I believe The Midnight Palace is the second book in a trilogy, but I don’t expect to read either of the other books in this series in future. If a stand-alone book for adults by this author comes my way in future though, I’ll gladly read it.

Comments on: "The Midnight Palace by Carlos Ruiz Zafon" (7)

  1. Sorry this one didn’t work out for you 😦 the setting sounds interesting though.

  2. The setting was interesting, although I was surprised the author didn’t set the book in his native Spain, which would have seemed equally as exotic a setting to me.

  3. This author fascinates me because I ought to love his work and thus far, I don’t. I read The Shadow of the Wind and struggled – I felt I was missing something; I couldn’t really see what the fuss was about. Much later I learned that that it was the first in a trilogy and I came across the audio book of the 3rd in the series. I thought maybe hearing it would help but nope – didn’t do a thing for me. It was returned very quickly. I’m wondering if I lose something in the translation. I’m tempted by a YA book though, Rose. Perhaps if I came across the one you’ve reviewed, I would give him a final try!

  4. It’s funny that you say that, Sandra. The Shadow of the Wind was in a bag of books I was given recently and I started to read it, but the story seemed familiar, although I couldn’t remember reading it previously. Anyway, I looked back through my blog and found that I read it about five years ago and raved about it in my review!
    The Midnight Palace was much shorter so perhaps that might sway you…

  5. So you loved it first time around but it didn’t leaving a strong enough impression that you recognised it fully on a second reading. I find it fascinating how some books stay with me even if I didn’t necessarily enjoy them, and others fade away quickly despite my having loved them. You have me wondering now how many from that latter category have slipped away from me! Now I know why I keep a list, however rudimentary, of all that I read these days!

  6. When I started my blog I joked that I as I get older and more forgetful I can use it to remind me of what I’ve already read. The joke seems to be on me as that day is already here!

  7. 😱😂 I sympathise, Rose!

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