The Midnight Palace

In the heart of Calcutta lurks a dark mystery. . . .

Sometimes it’s better to know nothing than knowing the truth. You’ll believe in this after reading the book The midnight palace by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. It tells the story of a brother and sister, called Ben and Sheere, who grew up separately. Ben grew up in an orphanage and Sheere lived with her grandmother. Their grandmother split them up after their parents died because they would be in danger if they stayed together. The tragic story of the deaths of their parents comes back. The murderer of their parents, Jahawal, reenters their lives when they turn sixteen. Until their sixteenth Ben and Sheer have lived in peace without knowing they had a twin sister or brother and without knowing about the existence of Jahawal. But when they turn sixteen the story begins. Ben and his friends of the Chowbar society reach the age to leave the orphanage and Sheere’s grandmother wants to move to another country because Sheere would be in danger. But before they leave, Sheere’s grandmother pays a last visit to the orphanage to make sure Ben will be safe. While waiting on her grandmother Sheere meets Ben and Ben invites her to the last meeting of the Chowbar society. After her meeting with Ben and his friends Sheere doesn’t want to leave anymore. Sheere asks help from the Chowbar society so she can stay. Ben and his friends want to help her and go talk to her grandmother. Who tells them finally the real story about their father. But they want to know more and dig deeper. They do not realise this digging exposes them to a huge risk.

When you begin reading the book it immediately draws you in. It opens with the pursuit of lieutenant Peak, who tries to save Sheere and Ben, by a man who wants to catch them. The book continues with the tale of the separation of the twins. So your first thought of the book will be exciting and beautiful. This thought will be confirmed while you continue reading but then at one certain point it turns around on itself. There your thought could develop in two directions. Either: it gets even better, this will happen when you love fantasy books. Or it could end up my way: the beautiful and exciting reality turns into a fake fantasy where Jahawal turns out to be a ghost. But the fact that it was a fantasy wasn’t the worst part. A fantasy story by itself can be beautiful, but in this book, the moment when you find out does not feel right. It is too abrupt. You are not prepared for such a moment. My thoughts about how the book might develop were so different from how it continued in reality. At first you love the book and this feeling gets more and more confirmed while you continue to read it, and then,  at one point, your feelings suddenly change. Now that you are prepared, maybe you will like the book more than I did. But still I wouldn’t recommend the book if you would ask me.


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