Release Date: May 31, 2011
Source of my copy: publisher
Series: Niebla #2
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
In the heart of Calcutta lurks a dark mystery...
Set in Calcutta in the 1930s, The Midnight Palace begins on a dark night when an English lieutenant fights to save newborn twins Ben and Sheere from an unthinkable threat. Despite monsoon-force rains and terrible danger lurking around every street corner, the young lieutenant manages to get them to safety, but not without losing his own life...
Years later, on the eve of Ben and Sheere's sixteenth birthday, the mysterious threat reenters their lives. This time, it may be impossible to escape. With the help of their brave friends, the twins will have to take a stand against the terror that watches them in the shadows of the night--and face the most frightening creature in the history of the City of Palaces.
Carlos Ruiz Zafon's novel The Shadow of the Wind is an all-time favorite of mine and I was very eager to read more by him, especially one written for young adults. This is the second book after The Prince of Mists but this book can be read as a standalone. I have not read Prince but I didn't feel I was missing anything.
The book began with a man, with newborn twins in his arms, running to escape an evil man and his thugs intent on taking the babies, a girl and a boy, from him and to kill him. He brings the twins to their grandmother who in turn separates the them for their protection. The girl baby remained with her and she takes the boy to an orphanage. The boy, Ben, grew up relatively normal without knowing of what occurred when he was a baby. The girl, Sheere, had been traveling non-stop for the last sixteen years with her grandmother not staying in one place too long in fear that the madman will find them. Knowing Ben, who at sixteen years old was considered an adult, is ready to leave the orphanage to make his own way in the world, the grandmother and Sheere comes back to Calcutta to warn him of the danger. Family secrets are revealed and the mysterious identity of the evil man must be solved in order to stop him because this time he is determined to get what he wants and nothing will stop him.
The author writes in a unique style and it's very pronounced in this book--sometimes I find myself thinking that I am still reading The Shadow of the Wind. But plot didn't flow as naturally here. There were some parts that were somewhat cheesy but the story was by still satisfying in the end. Like in Shadow, my favorite part of this book was the setting and the mood the author invokes with his wonderful descriptions. The characters were also wonderful--I really liked the friendship between Ben and his orphanage friends and their loyalty to one another. I quite enjoyed this dark, creepy and mysterious tale with supernatural elements. I have finally read a book I can readily recommend to boys (but girls, of course, can enjoy it too) for a great summer read. 4 out of 5 stars