I don’t know where to begin. Well, for starters I didn’t know this was the first of a three-book series. I was given “The Angel’s Game” by a dear friend of mine but didn’t start reading it right away. My cousin, who is an avid and very smart reader, told me that this is the second of a three-book series. When we went together to the Cairo Book Fair we looked for the first “The Shadow of the Wind” and the third “The Prisoner of Heaven” of the series, thankfully found both and without a hint of hesitation (mainly due to the really strong recommendation she gave me) I bought them.
Here goes my review of “The Shadow of the Wind” by Carlos Ruiz Zafón.
This book is now a favorite of mine. Why? Because of the beautiful way it’s written, because of the intense feelings and emotions it made me feel, because of the late nights I spent reading through its lines and couldn’t put it down, because of the journey it took me on and most importantly, the way it made me appreciate and categorize it as “literary genius”.
I think a major reason I appreciated this book is that I was just in Spain over the summer and all those street names of Barcelona mentioned in the pages of the book were very familiar to me. When Zafón spoke about The Ramblas and the Barceloneta beach, I could visualize the scenes perfectly. Oh and Calle Muntaner (Calle means street in Spanish) and Calle Balmes, which is where my hotel was located, right at the intersection of those two streets. You see, it would have probably taken me a while to know what Calle means if I hadn’t been to Spain and of course because I don’t know any other words in Spanish besides the usual “Buenas Dias”, “Buenas Noches”, “Gracias” and “Por Favor” I learned from a Mexican/American friend of mine. All those walks the protagonist took late at night and the squares he met other characters wouldn’t have resonated with me to this extent if I hadn’t walked down those same streets or been to those exact places myself.
The novel is about a young boy (who grew into a young man as the story progressed) who was mesmerized by a book he picked up from The Cemetery of Forgotten Books. A secret place his father took him to, in which all the books of shut down bookstores or libraries would go. The boy, Daniel, was so engrossed in the book that he read it all in one night. The book “The Shadow of the Wind” was written by a Julian Carax. Just like any reader who absolutely loves a book, Daniel went on to look for other books written by the same author but found no traces of his books anywhere. He heard somewhere, or heard from someone in the publishing business as his father owned a small bookstore and was acquainted with all the tycoons of publishing and book collecting in the city, that all the books by Carax were hunted down and burned. And so the mystery begins where Zafón takes the reader on a journey through the history of Carax and why all his books, and therefore its author, were almost non-existent and unrecognized by anyone.
I don’t want to get carried away with the story because I honestly don’t want to ruin the mystery or any of the surprises in the pages of the book for anyone. I strongly recommend this novel for anyone looking for the perfect blend of drama, mystery, love and just a dash of fantasy. Look at me describing it like I would a recipe, but you see that’s the brilliant thing about this book; its elements are so well mixed together to just the perfect amount that it makes you think of the best cooked meal you’ve had in your life.
The one thing I regret not doing is that I didn’t keep a note next to me every time I read the book to write down all those beautiful quotes and words the author wrote. But that’s the good thing, I get to do that the next time I read, which I’m certain will be a totally different literary experience for me.
At first, as soon as I saw how beautifully written it is, I read it slowly. A couple of pages at a time, wanting to savor every word, every line, every paragraph to the fullest (again, just like I would a delicious meal). But then I got caught up in the story and how much of a page-turner it is. I absolutely could not put it down! I kept it with me the whole time. There were even times (when the story got intense) that I would read a few pages while my car engine heats up before I start driving (Yes, it was that much of an attraction force). I would rush home from a night out with my friends because I couldn’t wait to read through and open the secret doors every page contained. And it never failed to put a smile on my lips, or a frown on my face or sometimes even a tear in my eyes. You know, “Just Right”. Safe to say I was under the literary spell of Carlos Ruiz Zafón.
By now, you probably get how touched I was by this book and would absolutely recommend it for all avid novel readers and for all those new to reading, the pages of this book are not going to prove anything but charming and exciting.
Happy “The Shadow of the Wind” reading and stay tuned for my review of “The Angel’s Game” which I am currently exploring 🙂
Image source: Goodreads