Thursday, July 18, 2013

Ghostly Pick: The Watcher in the Shadows

The Watcher in the Shadows
by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Little, Brown and Company
262 pages

See what the author says about his young adult books

Master storyteller Carlos Ruiz Zafon (The Shadow of the Wind, The Prince of Mist) has done it again! The Watcher in the Shadows is that rare and beautiful book that will captivate young readers. It has all the elements a reader craves: a dark mystery, an eccentric inventor who lives in a strange mansion--Cravenmoore--so aptly named--it's a dark name, a gothic name. The mansion is full of whimsical inventions but some are truly terrifying. The setting: the rugged coast of Normandy. The characters: Irene Sauville, a fourteen year old girl who moves to Normandy with her widowed mother and younger brother Dorian. Irene's mother, Simone takes the position of manager of Cravenmoore for the strange and quirky inventor Lazarus Jann (even the name Lazarus is creepy--in the Bible, Lazarus rose from the dead).

Irene meets a local boy named Ismael who shows her the town and takes her sailing. They are smitten with one another and soon are inseparable. Lazarus tells young Dorian a strange story of a man who makes a deal with the devil, so to speak. The man and his shadow are separated and his shadow runs rampant on a murdering spree. The shadow is a doppelganger (a copy) of the man. Dorian likes spending time with the strange inventor even though some of his automatons (robots) scare him.

When a murder occurs near Cravenmoore, villagers begin to spread rumors. Ismael and Irene  investigate and soon find danger everywhere they turn. The kids will need to act fast if they want to save their own lives and Irene's mother and brother. What evil invention has Lazarus brought to life? And why is it intent on killing them? What is the strange fascination Lazarus has for Simone? What secrets are hidden in the secret rooms of Cravenmoore?

Richly imagined, finely tuned, fast paced and fun, The Watcher in the Shadows delivers.

Highly, highly recommended grade 5-up. A must read for lovers of ghost stories and gothic literature.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.

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1 comment:

  1. I read the Shadow of the Wind. The setting was mesmeric. This one sounds equally appealing--and I love a good ghost story. I'll look out for it.