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Het middernachtspaleis by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Het middernachtspaleis (edition 2011)

by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

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5923216,592 (3.41)18
Title:Het middernachtspaleis
Authors:Carlos Ruiz Zafón (Author)
Info:Utrecht Bruna 2011
Collections:Read but unowned
Tags:Zafon, jeugd, + 14

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The Midnight Palace by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

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English (23)  Dutch (4)  Italian (2)  Spanish (1)  Catalan (1)  German (1)  All languages (32)
Showing 1-5 of 23 (next | show all)
The Midnight Palace is the second book in the Trilogy of Fog series. I read the Prince of Mist as well and enjoyed it but thought this second book was better. Both books are excellently written and hold your interest but The Midnight Palace provides more fleshed out characters and depth. This book tells the story of twin orphans who are separated to protect them from an evil entity that is in pursuit of them. Zafon does a wonderful job of keeping the suspense ratcheted up and keeping the reader engaged. There is also a plot twist midway through that I didn't see coming at all. Great read! I recommend this to those who enjoy paranormal fiction or historical fictions. 4 stars! ( )
  68papyrus | May 29, 2014 |
This was an intriguing read but not as compelling as Zafon's books for adults; I found the fantasy aspects somewhat overdone, but the noir atmosphere still came through. ( )
  LibrarianMaven | Apr 19, 2014 |
Those places where sadness and misery abound are favored settings for stories of ghosts and apparitions. Calcutta has countless such stories hidden in its darkness, stories that nobody wants to admit they believe but which, nevertheless, survive in the memory of generations as the only chronicle of the past. It is as if the people who inhabit the streets, inspired by some mysterious wisdom, realize that the true history of Calcutta has always been written in the invisible tales of its spirits and unspoken curses. (from The Midnight Palace)

Twins, separated by birth in an effort to hide them from a terrible danger. An architectural landmark, far ahead of its time, sitting charred after its destruction by a terrible catastrophe. A secret weapon, also dangerously ahead of its time, fused with a supernatural power. Calcutta, India, in 1916 and 1932, the year the above-mentioned twins were born and the year they turn 16 and are considered adults. A ghostly train piloted by a specter, carrying the souls of dead children.

What is [The Midnight Palace]? It's YA, historical fiction, horror, a ghost story, a fantasy wrapped in mythology with perhaps a trace of steampunk thrown in. There were some things I didn't like about it, some things that weren't quite consistent. How did the narrator know all that he knew, given the ending of the story? How did one character who provided vital information know what she knew? And, of course, there were aspects that didn't fit my worldview at all. And about 3/4 of the way through, it took a turn I neither expected nor particularly liked.

Yet the quality of the writing, the scope of the vision, and the flow of the story moved me to give it 4 stars.

I listened to the audio version, occasionally enhanced by atmospheric background music composed by the author of the book.

* The "Trilogy of Fog," or at least the first two installments of it, are not really related except for the fact that they are stories of the supernatural, in historical settings, dealing with battles between good and evil. There are not common characters or settings, at least in the first two that I've read. I do plan to read the third, however. ( )
3 vote tymfos | Oct 31, 2013 |
The Midnight Palace is a short novel about the power of revenge and madness in 1930's Calcutta. It centers on the lives of two newborn twins and their fate at the hands of a creature more supernatural than human.
At the death of their mother they are saved by a young English soldier who hides them from the monster.

...Peake raised his eyes to Jawahal, and as he did so he noticed the man's pupils narrowing into thin slits, his golden irises blazing. With painstaking elegance, Jawahal started to remove the glove on his right hand.
"Unfortunately you won't live to see it," Jawahal added. "Don't think for a second that your heroic act has served any purpose. You're an idiot Lieutenant Peake. You always gave me the impression, and now all you have done is confirm it. I hope there is a hell reserved especially for idiots, Peake, because that's where I'm sending you."...

The twins are separated to confuse the creature and upon their sixteenth birthday, find themselves thrown together again. It is then that they learn of their past and the horrible murder of their parents. It is then that they learn of the madman Jawahal and his vendetta against their father. It is then that they learn that Jawahal is something more than just a man.
Aided by young friends, a band of orphans who call themselves the Chowbar Society, they decide to strike back at the creature. To stand against Jawahal. It is then they will also learn that the truth is sometimes best left as a lie. That fate entwines itself deeply and what the darkness hides it can also bring forth.

..."There was a time when I thought that nothing could be more powerful than love. And it's true, love is powerful, but that power pales into insignificance next to the fire of hatred."...

Ben and Sheere (the young twins) must face a creature born of fire and revenge and nursed at the very breast of madness. A creature whose hatred is more powerful than anything that has ever stood before it. Jawahal's history is central to this story as it intertwines with legacy of Ben and Sheere's parents.
Jawahal is a creature unlike any other. It desires it's sole objective and that it the death of the twins. It is human and not. It is mindless and brilliant at the same time. It's sole existence is it's purpose.
Carlos Ruiz Zafon is a Spanish author who's prior novels, The Shadow of the Wind and The Angel's Game are ambitious and wonderfully woven tales. The Midnight Palace is much like them only on a smaller scale. You get the feel that it is an old ghost story told among family that changes slightly as the years go by. Depending upon which family member is speaking is how the story will go.
I always worry that when I am reading a novel that was written first in another language; that subtle nuances will be lost in the translation. But Zafon's The Midnight Palace flows. Its setting and characters reminiscent of the short stories of Kipling I read as a child.
A good and worthy read. ( )
  agarcia85257 | Sep 16, 2013 |
Eloquently written, a dark novel with horror overtones. Ruiz Zafon writes lyrically, with beautiful descriptions and a dark and quite gritty feel. This was a better story than the "Prince of Mists" but still left me feeling somewhat unsettled and unfulfilled. ( )
  LemurKat | Sep 12, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 23 (next | show all)
There's a lot to like about this novel. 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 book is not without its flaws, however, containing some simple contradictions that can be an irritation to the reader: to give an example, one moment we're told that Ben and Sheere are worried when they learn that Jawahal has penetrated their father's secret house, while a few pages later, they settle down to sleep in that house, safe in the knowledge that "if . . . Jawahal had been able to get in, he would have done so already".

Despite this, however, The Midnight Palace is an enjoyable novel, with a wonderfully sinister villain, plucky and resourceful heroes and some visually arresting imagery, most notably in the depiction of the Firebird, a deadly weapon whose fire engulfs a phantom train of murdered orphans.

» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Carlos Ruiz Zafónprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Graves, LuciaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
וולק, ארזTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0316044733, Hardcover)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:30:23 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

When a mysterious threat reenters the lives of twins Ben and Sheere, separated as babies and reunited as teenagers in 1930s Calcutta, the siblings must confront an unspeakable terror, with the help of their secret society of fellow orphans.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 6 descriptions

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