Publisher: Little, Brown, Young Readers
Release Date: May 2011
Review copy courtesy of Book It Forward Tours
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.
16 year old twins, Ben and Sheere, are reunited after being separated at birth by a terrible set of circumstances that took the life of their mother. Raised in an orphanage in Calcutta, Ben has relied on the support of his close knit group of friends and the kindness of the Headmaster. It’s been a good life for Ben at the orphanage, but upon the children’s 16th birthday in 1932, they are considered adults, and are set free to make their own way. Sheere has been raised by their grandmother and has been moved from city to city, all of her life, in order to avoid a lurking terror that threatens the twins’ very lives. The friends will have to make a stand against this evil, or have no hope for the future.
I’ll be honest with you. There were portions of this book that bored me to tears. I did a lot of skimming. That said, there were parts that were interesting, especially concerning Indian history, and I enjoyed the relationships between the friends. However, there was a lot of “storytelling” by a few characters, and as a general rule, I don’t like this kind of writing. I realize how it can be necessary in certain situations, but most of the time, at least to me, it seems like filler. Also keep in mind this is a Spanish to English translation, and I realize how tough it is to retain nuance and other subtleties in a translation. I can’t say this book was bad, because it wasn’t, but it most certainly wasn’t my cup of tea. I know that Carlos Ruiz Zafon is an extremely popular writer, but I don’t know if I’ll be seeking out more of his work. The finale of The Midnight Palace just wasn’t worth the effort for me.