Literature / Marina
is a 2001 novel by Spanish writer Carlos Ruiz Zafón. It was his last young adult novel, and is considered by Zafón as his greatest work in said genre.
In the 70's Spain, cynic highschooler Óscar Drai likes to explore the old parts of Barcelona at his boarding school's free time. His life is boring and anodine until in one of his walkouts he mets a dreamy girl named Marina, who soon involves them both in a mystery which has its roots in the city's glorious past. Through the story, Óscar and Marina will be forced to solve an enigma which will threaten their lives and whose nature few could immagine...
Tropes in this work include:
- Action Survivor: Óscar.
- Artistic License – Biology: Kolvenik uses a serum synthesized from a butterfly species which allows to reanimate clinically dead but otherwise intact (or rebuilt) organisms. While this doesn't trascend the Applied Phlebotinum field, the fact that Kolvenik himself could be resurrected after rotting in his grave during 20 years is quite head-scratching, as his tissues would be too decayed to work with the serum.
- Back from the Dead: Mijail Kolvenik is resurrected by María Shelley.
- Badass Normal: Óscar may be just an average highschooler, but he knows how to save the day when it's needed.
- Big Bad: Mijail Kolvenik.
- Bittersweet Ending: Kolvenik is killed again and his nightmares burn with him, but Marina dies, and Óscar is left to his dark life again to lick the wounds of his heart and carry on.
- Body Horror: Kolvenik and his creatures.
- Broken Bird: Marina. She has the same illness which killed her mother and knows she has little time to live.
- The Call Knows Where You Live: In this case, Kolvenik knows where you live.
- Classical Anti Hero: Óscar describes himself as talented in nothing and little more than an average highschool boy.
- Cool Old Guy: Germán.
- Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: Kolvenik says yeah.
- Darker and Edgier: Unusually for a young adult novel, although rather usual in Zafón's works.
- Deadpan Snarker: Marina and Óscar are both quite snarking characters, specially at each other.
- Death by Newbery Medal: Marina at the end.
- Eating the Eye Candy: Happens at the beach, with surprisingly discrete results, when Óscar eyes Marina's wet underwear after swimming until she covers herself upon realizing this.
- First Love: Implied with Óscar, and probably with Marina as well.
- First-Person Smartass: A Zafón trademark.
- Friendless Background: Marina, as she is homeschooled. Óscar qualifies as well, as he seems to have no friends aside JF.
- Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: The titular girl has hay-colored hair, in the protagonist's words.
- Heroic B.S.O.D.: Óscar after Marina's death.
- Humanoid Abomination: Kolvenik and his creatures.
- Inner Monologue
- Invisible Parents: Óscar's parents are mentioned, but we never meet them, as they are away.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Again, both Óscar and Marina. They can be somewhat jerky and/or displicent, especially when their buttons are touched, but deep down they are warm people who care very much for each's other.
- Macabre Moth Motif: The teufel moths.
- Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Deconstructed and played for drama. Marina definitely lights up Óscar's life, and even he acknowledges to himself how Wish Fulfillment-ish looks the case of a sad, lonely daydreamer like him befriending a sweet beautiful girl who makes his joyless life dangerously interesting. However, this only causes him to completely break down when she dies, as he loses the girl he loved and the only light there was in his life.
- Marionette Master: Kolvenik created puppet minions out of dead people.
- Non-Action Guy: Óscar.
- P.O.V. Boy, Poster Girl: The book definitely follows this dynamic.
- Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: Downplayed. Marina is not that energetic, but she has way more energy than the easy-going Óscar.
- Secondary Character Title: The book is called "Marina", but the central protagonist is Óscar. Justified as, in his own words, the story is about her.
- María Shelley is an obvious one to Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein.
- Both Kolvenik's room full of toylike artificial beings (among them a weird harlequin) and JF's name are probably nods to Blade Runner.
- Spell My Name with an "S": Although vaguely Russian-sounding, "Kolvenik" isn't actually a name anywhere; Kolenik, however, is a fairly popular Czech last name.
- Sugar-and-Ice Personality: Marina's personality often fluctuates between sweet and cynic.
- Who Wants to Live Forever?