When a group of orphans in Calcutta form a secret society, they vow to protect one another as a family would. Little do they know how much that pledge will demand of them later. As the children prepare to “graduate” from the orphanage to the real world, Ben learns he has a twin sister, Sheere, whose grandmother separated the two at birth to protect them from a force of evil that travels under the name Jawahal. Ben entreats his fellow society members to help secure Sheere’s safety and find out what Jawahal wants. Welcome to The Midnight Palace.

Author Carlos Ruiz Zafón (Shadow of the Wind) has created a dark and unforgiving world for these children to navigate. The stench of raw sewage seems to leap off the page, and Jawahal is a truly frightening and violent character. But this bleak backdrop is warmed by the love Ben feels for his friends and newfound family, and by several small mysteries that they must solve along the way. Even the perilous final showdown with Jawahal takes the form of a game: Ben must reach into boxes, hoping to withdraw the names of his friends to win their release . . . but one box contains a poisonous snake.

The story’s conclusion is explosive, literally and emotionally, and deeply moving. Fans of Zafón will love this book for its rich storytelling and co-mingling of fantasy and reality, and new readers will quickly become fans after visiting The Midnight Palace.

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