Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Genre: historical, Spain Civil War, mystery
FTC Disclosure: bought from Borders
Published: 2001
Pages: 487
Content: R for violence, sex (a few fairly explicit scenes), and language (f-bombs quite a few times)
Reading Challenge: A to Z Challenge (title S)

One Line Summary: Boy learns to change his life by finding someone else's.

Daniel is ten when his father takes him to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, where someone once, a long time ago, started piling thousands of forgotten books in a crypt. He is to tell no one about it and he can take one book with him to keep safe forever. Daniel takes The Shadow of the Wind by Julián Carax. He loves it so much that he wants to find all the books written by this man...but he soon learns that someone has been systematically buying and then destroying all of this man's books, a mysterious man who is burned beyond recognition and calls himself the devil.

We follow Daniel and his cohorts over the years as he tries to find out the mystery of Carax and his books.

I really enjoyed this novel. It takes place right after Spain's Civil War in about 1945 in Barcelona. It was a treat to follow Daniel in his journey of life; how his life in many ways compared with Carax's and how he was able to learn from his mistakes in order to make his life a better one. Zafón draws us in with his descriptions of Barcelona and Spain's Civil War. I loved how he drew us into all of the characters and made us care about them. No one was perfect. They mystery was also very intriguing. I had guessed a few things and was right about some and not others.

Quote: "Every book, every volume you see here, has a soul. The soul of the person who read it and lived it and dreamed with it." I think that's true. Which is one of the reasons I have a hard time giving up my books even if I didn't like them that much. After I've read one it becomes a part of me somehow for good or for bad.

This book also reminded me of when I first read Jane Eyre and the impact that had on me. It was the first time I had ever actually loved a book.

These are just a few of the many gems in this book!

Rating: 4/5


  1. This is one of the 50 books I have to read this year. I'm really looking forward to it after reading your review :)

  2. i read this a couple years ago and loved it. especially loved the relation with books and bookstore. i have the latest zafon book and am sooo looking forward to dipping into it. did you get your copy yet?

  3. I love the sound of the book. It sounds very interesting to read it. And the quote is so true, i feel the same way too!

  4. I'm not squeamish about the "f" word, some violence or some sex in a book so I don't think that will bother me. But it is good to know they're there.

  5. I enjoy a good Gothic mystery and really enjoyed this book a few years back -- so much I actually bought it after reading it from the library. Fermin was my favorite character. Loved the idea of a "cemetary for fogotten books".


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