review: shadow of the wind

28 September 2012

book info:
ages: 15 and up
grades: 9-10 and up
years: 11 and up
on sale: NOW
copy from: library
pages: 487

title: The Shadow of the Wind (el cementario de los libros olvidados)
author: Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Barcelona, 1945: A city slowly heals in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, and Daniel, an antiquarian book dealer’s son who mourns the loss of his mother, finds solace in a mysterious book entitled The Shadow of the Wind, by one Julián Carax. But when he sets out to find the author’s other works, he makes a shocking discovery: someone has been systematically destroying every copy of every book Carax has written. In fact, Daniel may have the last of Carax’s books in existence. Soon Daniel’s seemingly innocent quest opens a door into one of Barcelona’s darkest secrets--an epic story of murder, madness, and doomed love.

OK, I read this a month ago, so this review is long overdue. I find it hard to review books that I really love, because I end up just rambling on why I love it so much. But I've read the sequel to this, and it made me SO HAPPY today because it is SO GOOD! AHHH!

"I still remember the day my father took me to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books for the first time" (Zafon, 1)

The first sentence had me hooked and immediately drew me in with the beautiful, lyrical writing that followed.  I've had experiences with books where the first few pages were brilliant, and then the goodness slowly deteriorated as the book continued. Yet this was not like that. The Shadow of the Wind maintains a beautiful high-standard, rich level that's paced so perfectly and....well, perfectly that it seems like a film. A film that flows like a soft river.

There's something about Spanish books that I find absolutely enchanting. The language, the way it translates into English, or simply the beautiful prose that's hidden in the heart of every Spaniard: I haven't a clue except that I love it. My favourite book, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, (who is Brazilian and therefore speaks Portuguese, but both nationalities are similar), is simple and beautiful and The Shadow of the Wind reminds me of it's beautiful simplicity.

Yet another favourite, my favourite classical book, The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas, shares more in common. I've often preached that it's the best classic in that it has all the elements to make a perfect book: the romance, the tragedy, the mystery, the adventure etc...Zafon ACTUALLY mentions The Count of Monte Cristo! With good connotation of course. I'm so thrilled! I know that it's had an influence on the stories Zafon writes, but to have elements of my favourite classic, to have the benefit of being a Spaniard and have that prose, and to write an "original" (something I haven't seen before) story that's so twisted and complicated and deliciously good: it's a dream come true.

Since I can't accurately review this, all I will say is: You must read this. Like, it doesn't matter what types of books you prefer: this is one you must read.

Five trees. You must know by now that five trees are rare on a single book, but I have to say this is the best novel I have read in soo loong! It's meant for older teens and adults, I think, and it'd have a greater effect on you if you're mature enough to understand it. I'd buy it nonetheless. Keep it on your shelf until you're old enough, or read it now because...AHHH READ IT!
PS: Just finished The Angel's Game (the book after this one) and gahh, I'm even more of a fan-girl. I'm so afraid to start the next one, I don't want to stop reading his books! :) I'll have a review of it up soon!

1 thoughts:

  1. Oh boy! You just mentioned The Count of Monte Cristo. I'm so down for this book now! Hadn't heard of it before, but it sounds fantastic, and that first line is to die for.


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