Saturday, 29 September 2018

Book Review: The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

When Daniel Sempere is a young boy, his father brings him to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books and tells him he can choose whichever book he likes. The book that Daniel chooses, The Shadow of the Wind, ignites his passion for literature and unravelling the fate of this book and its author.

“Few things leave a deeper mark on a reader than the first book that finds its way into his heart.”

I’ve been blankly staring at my review post for the last 10 minutes - I think a tumbleweed actually blew by. I really don’t know where to begin or how to even put into words how absolutely incredible this book is. When I finished this book, I just sat and cried. Not because of the outcome or the fate of our characters, but because this story was over and I’d never get to experience this for the first time again. And that’s how you know you’ve read a special book!

It’s so easy to get swept up in this story and the intimacy of getting to know a range of characters throughout numerous stages of their life. You become so deeply entrenched in the lives of this cast of characters that it almost feels like you've lost some friends when you turn the final page (I am aware there are further books in this series, but not really direct sequels?) As for the plot itself, the mystery is slowly unravelled through various tidbits from different character perspectives - and on a number of occasions I audibly GASPED and messaged fellow readers in all capitals (which you know I hate) to fangirl over how blown away I was.

The setting is so beautifully gothic that it led me to text Matthew as soon as I finished to say “please bring me to Barcelona”. Barcelona is yet another character to add to the fold. A lot of different genres are covered here: it’s a little bit creepy and dark at times, and there’s romance and mystery and it’s pretty funny at times too (thank you Fermin)! I adored how it was like story inception, a story within a story, and it was really interesting seeing all the parallels between Daniel and Carax's lives. There's just so many layers to this novel and Zafon weaves them all together so seamlessly.

This has become one of those books that I would love to push through everyone’s letterbox and tell them all to READ IT! It’s a book for book lovers in particular and so many of the passages had me swooning and in awe of Zafon’s writing. I obviously cannot directly compare the translation to the original text, but I'm going to assume that Lucia Graves has done an amazing job as the writing is simply stunning and doesn't feel like a clunky translation at all. It's a book that really reminds you why you are a reader - to get truly lost in someone else's story. Truly magical!

5 stars. Although I would give it ALL THE STARS if I could.


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