Monday, 2 August 2010
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
The Shadow of the Wind is going to be one of four books in a series by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (The Angels Game being the second) Apparently each book can be read as a stand alone novel and in any order but once all read should fit together in what the author describes as a 'puzzle'. I think I was more intrigued by the idea of the four novels fitting together which was my reason for reading this rather than the rave reviews that The Shadow of the Wind has been getting.
Set in Barcelona after the Spanish civil war a young boy called Daniel finds a book in the 'Cemetery of Forgotten Books' called The Shadow of the Wind. After becoming captivated by this book Daniel tries to find other books written by the same author Julian Carax, only to find that there aren't any in existence. Daniel also discovers that someone else, a burn victim who carries the same name as the devil in The Shadow of the Wind has been hunting all the books written by Julian Carax and burning them.
There is a lot in this book, mystery, love, and coming of age. Daniel is a young boy in the beginning of the book and a young man by the end and the tone of the book changes appropriately to accommodate this.
The story unfolds quickly and Barcelona is used perfectly in this packed tale. During the day the characters do their jobs and get on with the mundane day to day stuff, at night the mist seeps in and the story then fills with faceless men, sadistic police officers and people hiding in the shadows, there is even a creepy old mansion to boot. Interweaving through all this there is a lot of humour and some romance as Daniel comes of age. There are a lot of characters but for me Daniels friend Fermin, (a man who when we first meet him is living on the streets) was the best character and he certainly made me chuckle a few times with his 'rants' about subjects ranging from love to crime.
This book has been a huge success and has been given good reviews but there have been some criticisms which I have pondered over. This book is certainly filled with its fair share of melodrama and its certainly not perfect but I don't want to dwell on this. The book is filled with enough atmosphere and has some well crafted characters which kept my interest and makes me want to read The Angels Game.
Would I recommend it? Yes, aside from the rave reviews this book is packed with so many different elements that it would appeal to most people.
Posted by Jess
About the author – The Shadow of the Wind is Carlos Ruiz Zafon's first adult novel but fifth book, his four previous novels were YA novels and were not translated into English at the time those books were published. I'm assuming because of the success of The Shadow of the Wind but one of his earlier YA books The Prince of Mist has now been recently translated into English.