Book Review – The Watcher in the Shadows by Carlos Ruiz Zafron

The Watcher in the Shadows  - Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Book Review


A mysterious toymaker who lives as a recluse in an old mansion, surrounded by the magical beings he has created... A sickly wife locked away in a hidden room... An enigma involving strange lights that shine out from the small island on which an old, disused lighthouse stands... A shadowy creature that hides deep in the woods...


This book follows the lives of Irene, Dorian and their mother Simone. After the death of their father, the family move to a small village where Simone takes a job as a housekeeper for the reclusive Lazurus Jann, a toymaker who creates wonderful automatons that almost look real. While her mother works and gets to know her new employer, Irene meets Ismael a young sailor who spend his days at sea and Dorian spends his time exploring the forests and beaches.


As the story progresses, we realise that something sinister is going on behind closed doors. Something is lurking in the darkness and is about to strike.


Despite the interesting characters, I did feel that I never got enough information on them. I wanted to know more about these characters, where they came from, why they are here, who they really are. I also felt that there needed to be more about the village and its inhabitants. I understand that the story was about the family and their employer but I wanted to know more about where they were and how it impacted on the characters.


Although this book is marketed as ‘young adult’ I found that the writing and story was for an older generation. At times I had to reread sections to understand what was going on and at times I felt there was too much information being given to me in such a short space of time. I know every book will have fast paced sections and slower paced, but this story seemed to be all over the place. All in all I did enjoy this book, it had a good story and interesting characters (although I did want to know more about them). I will definitely be picking up more from this author, he is a great story tell and has some interesting stories to tell.

Rating – 3.5/5