Author: Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Publisher: W & N
First Published: 1999
In May 1980, 15-year-old Oscar Drai suddenly vanishes from his boarding school in the old quarter of Barcelona. For seven days and nights no one knows his whereabouts. His story begins in the heart of old Barcelona, when he meets Marina and her father German Blau, a portrait painter. Marina takes Oscar to a cemetery to watch a macabre ritual that occurs on the fourth Sunday of each month. At 10 a.m. precisely a coach pulled by black horses appears. From it descends a woman dressed in black, her face shrouded, wearing gloves, holding a single rose. She walks over to a gravestone that bears no name, only the mysterious emblem of a black butterfly with open wings. When Oscar and Marina decide to follow her they begin a journey that will take them to the heights of a forgotten, post-war Barcelona, a world of aristocrats and actresses, inventors and tycoons; and a dark secret that lies waiting in the mysterious labyrinth beneath the city streets. (From Goodreads, 1st December 2013)
I was very excited when I won a copy of ‘Marina’ By Carlos Ruiz Zafon after entering a Goodreads competition. I was a huge fan of ‘The Shadow of the Wind’ and ‘Angels Game’ both by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.
Marina is a dark Gothic style novel that will make your hair stand on end. This is a novel aimed for young adults but was still very chilling in my opinion, and many adults will enjoy this macabre novel. One of the reasons I really enjoyed ‘Marina’ was that the story was new to me. Many novels I read nowadays are either similar to ones I have read before or new takes on fairy tales. ‘Marina’ had a fresh new mystery, with new demons, new monsters, and a new setting. Maybe for Spanish readers this may not be the case, and some of this story reflects local folklore, but maybe not. But as an British reader, the ideas in ‘Marina’ were new to me.
Carlos Ruiz Zafon is a fantastic author, whose prose just draws you in. His writing style is high class, and simply beautiful. I cannot express how fantastic his writing is. If you haven’t read a novel by Carlos Ruiz Zafon you must pick one up. ‘Marina’ is maybe not as expressive as ‘Shadow of the Wind’ but I believe that to be due to the target audience of each book.
‘Marina’ is a fast paced novel and a quick read. We have love, loss, tragedy, mystery, horror, death, everything, it has everything. It is a book I suggest reading for Halloween, and a book I want everyone to get there hands on. I feel that I cannot really do justice in reviewing a book by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, as his books sing to me. I love them. I simply love them.
5 out of 5
- Marina by Carlos Ruiz Zafón – review (theguardian.com)