review: the shadow of the wind

10 August 2012

book info:
ages: 14 and up (younger audiences are OK, but I think mature readers will really appreciate it more)
grades: 9 and up (years: 10 and up)
on sale: now
copy from: library
pages: 512

title: The Shadow of the Wind (El cementerio de los libros olvidados #1)
author: Carlos Ruiz Zafón (translator: Lucia Graves)

photo: goodreads
Barcelona, 1945—Just after the war, a great world city lies in shadow, nursing its wounds, and a boy named Daniel awakes one day to find that he can no longer remember his mother’s face. To console his only child, Daniel’s widowed father, an antiquarian book dealer, initiates him into the secret of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, a library tended by Barcelona’s guild of rare-book dealers as a repository for books forgotten by the world, waiting for someone who will care about them again. Daniel’s father coaxes him to choose a book from the spiraling labyrinth of shelves, one that, it is said, will have a special meaning for him. And Daniel so loves the book he selects, a novel called The Shadow of the Wind by one Julián Carax, that he sets out to find the rest of Carax’s work. To his shock, he discovers that someone has been systematically destroying every copy of every book this author has written. In fact, he may have the last of Carax’s books in existence. Before Daniel knows it, his seemingly innocent quest has opened a door into one of Barcelona’s darkest secrets, an epic story of murder, magic, madness, and doomed love, and before long he realizes that if he doesn’t find out the truth about Julián Carax, he and those closest to him will suffer horribly

First thoughts: brilliant. I sometimes (often) skip pages or jump paragraphs when reading books, because a lot that I've been reading has just been mediocre, but by the first few pages, I knew I couldn't do that. I couldn't miss a single amazing word that's written. When I got further in the book, I skipped around a bit, but not too much.

The life of the main character, Daniel, is very believable, and also magical at the same time (magical meaning the way he's portrayed). I think because he lives in the beautiful city of Barcelona, that has a lot of character and charm, and because this is set in a completely different time period where young people behaved much more differently than nowadays: I like it.

The pace of the steady, and follows Daniel over many years. And I like the way it's done like this, because basically, this is a mystery novel and I've seen shows where it happens in a week, but the story works best under the many years tactic.

The story itself is beautiful in the sense that it has this lovely, romantic air and the language...well, Ms Graves has done a lovely job. One can tell that this book was written in Spanish just by the way it reads in English.

The only thing I didn't like was how it seemed to drag out a bit near the middle-to-end, where I got a bit annoyed and flipped around a bit, skimming. But I wasn't disappointed, and the ending was shocking and brilliant! I absolutely loved it! Now I don't usually like mysteries: in fact, I hate them. Yet this doesn't read like a typical mystery (the ones that I've read) so I didn't even realise it was a mystery until the middle (the summary sounds like an adventure more than mystery) and it is. I enjoyed so much, the parallelism between Daniel and Mr Carax, and watching all the characters grow.

I'll give this novel 4.5 trees, marking down because of dragging near the end. I recommend this to more mature readers, as I think they'll appreciate it more. I know when I was younger, I would've just tossed this book aside. But it's lovely, and if you like how it sounds, read this!

3 thoughts:

  1. I've heard so many good things about this book, I'm glad you liked it :)

  2. gahh!!! this is close to next on my to read pile, and i can't wait!! maybe by late august we could discuss it =)

  3. I really liked this book! I read it several years ago and it's definitely one of those books that stays with you for a long time after you're finished reading!


Hello! Thanks so much for stopping by: I truly love and enjoy reading your comments!

pages All rights reserved © Blog Milk Powered by Blogger