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.