Title: The Watcher in the Shadows
Author: Carlos Ruiz Zafón
Series: Mist Trilogy #3
Format I Read/Publisher: Paperback, Mondadori
A mysterious toymaker who lives as a recluse in an old mansion, surrounded by the mechanical beings he has created… An enigma surrounding strange lights that shine through the mists that envelop the small island on which the old lighthouse stands… A shadowy creature that hides deep in the woods… These are the elements of a mystery that will bind 14-year old Irene to Ismael during one magical summer spent in the Blue Bay. Her mother has taken a job as a housekeeper for the toymaker, but his house contains more secrets than Irene and Ismael have bargained for.
This was definitely my favourite book out of the Mist Trilogy! For starters, the story was so much more engaging and exciting than the rest of the trilogy. The main characters finally did something that helped them discover the truth, and the major findings didn’t only come from pages and pages of character speech. Without giving away too much, I loved the ending, which totally surprised me, and all the twists and turns in between.
The characters seemed much more real than in the previous two books: I actually felt like I knew Irene and the little Dorian, and I cared deeply about them and their mother Simone. The relationships between the characters were also far more engaging, and really formed the backbone of the novel. Going beyond the pure “supernatural-mystery-story” aspect of this book, for me this was really about love (or its absence) in its various forms, from the thrills of Irene and Ismael’s first, teenage love to the tenderness of Simone’s motherly love, right up to Lazarus Jahn’s desperate love for his wife. Now, this might just be me, but I thought this subtext really added a lot of depth to the reading, and kept the story moving even in its potentially weakest points.
This book also gets bonus points for the introduction of Andreas Corelli – a central character in The Angel’s Game – once again a mysterious and disturbing presence in the story. In typical Ruiz Zafón-style, the whole atmosphere of the novel was at once sinister and enchanting, purely gothic with just the right amount of creepiness and mysteries to keep you going until the end. I would definitely recommend this to all fans of Ruiz Zafón’s work and to anyone looking for a good mystery with a touch of romance: you’ll be intrigued, entertained, and not at all disappointed.