Literature / Marina
is a 2001 novel by Spanish writer Carlos Ruiz Zafón. It was his last young adult novel.
In the 70's Spain, cynic Ordinary High-School Student
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 that has its roots in the city's glorious past. Through the story, Óscar and Marina will be forced to solve an enigma that will threaten their lives and whose nature few could imagine...
Tropes in this work include:
- Action Survivor: Óscar may be just an average highschooler, but he knows how to save the day when it's needed.
- Artistic License – Biology:
- Kolvenik uses a serum synthesized from a butterfly species that 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.
- It's never explained how exactly does Kolvenik have his zombies Brainwashed in order to obey him. In fact, Óscar gets María to momentarily snap out of the mind control when he finds her turned into an abomination.
- Back from the Dead: Mijail Kolvenik is resurrected by María Shelley.
- 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 that 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 for nothing and little more than an average highschool boy.
- Cool Old Guy: Germán.
- Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: Though, in Kolvenik's case, he was already insane before he turned himself into a cyborg.
- 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, especially at each other.
- Death by Newbery Medal: Marina at the end.
- Eating the Eye Candy: Happens at the beach, with surprisingly discrete results compared to most examples of the trope, 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 genuinely kind 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 is the case of a 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.
- P.O.V. Boy, Poster Girl: The book definitely follows this dynamic, title included.
- Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: Downplayed. Marina is not very energetic by the standards of this trope, but she is the one who drags around the duller Óscar to their adventures (at least until the adventures start dragging them around).
- 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 fluctuates between sweet and cynic.
- Who Wants to Live Forever?