Reviewed by Jackie Marchant
I’m a big fan of this author’s adult books and, as a fan of YA as well, I thought this would be just the book for me. It didn’t disappoint. It’s fast paced, with a cast of intriguing and likeable characters – apart from the villain of course, who is as evil as they come. Instead of Barcelona, we are treated to Ruis Zafon’s 1930’s Calcutta, which he paints with his usual skills, bringing alive the perfect atmosphere for the mystery that unfolds. This centres around newborn orphan twins who must be saved at all costs from a terrible fate. But they grow up unaware of their past, as well as of each other. Then, as they turn sixteen, the past rears its ugly head and they are both thrown into danger. As the secrets unfold, so does the sheer horror of what they have to face – a malevolent spirit who can move ghostly trains and bring up raging fire at will.
But the twins are not alone. One of them, Ben, has been brought up in an orphanage, where he is part of a secret society consisting of the children who will turn sixteen and be compelled to leave at the same time as him. They meet in a rundown old house they call the Midnight Palace and swear that they will always help each other, no matter what. But they haven’t bargained for what is going to happen to Ben when he turns sixteen.
This book is shorter than his adult books, but no less mysterious compelling and atmospheric. In fact I would say that the only difference, apart from the length, is the fact that the main characters are sixteen year olds rather than adults.
A compelling read, full of atmosphere and mystery.
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