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.

Verdict 4/5

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.


  1. Oh I had no idea there were going to be 4 that all fit together like that... interesting. I liked this book but it was pretty complex at times!

  2. One of my favorite books. And I have the Angel's Game to read also.

  3. Another book you ahve read recently that I have loved. I have yet to read The Angels Game, something keeps holding me back!

  4. I'm currently reading The Angel's Game, and I had no idea it was part of a semi-series! Oh well...I'm enjoying it so far, and I'm not confused at all so I guess that's a good sign. :)

  5. This is one of my all time favourite books!! I LOVED it!! I have read 'The Angel's Game' and while good, I felt it wasn't 'as good' but other people seem to love it so it might just have been that my expectations were too high.

  6. Jenny - hopefully reading the other books mean that certain thing in The Shadow of the Wind make more sense.

    Bird Dog & Simon - I also have a copy of The Angels Game but its a long way down the pile at the moment unfortunately.

    Zara - I was almost tempted to read The Angels Game first as you can read the books in any order. If you read The Shadow of the Wind then things should click more about The angels game.

    Rachel - I have high expectations for The angels game which is why I think I putting it off!

  7. I really enjoyed The Shadow of the Wind...but I found The Angel's Game really confusing!

  8. Thanks for your recent visits and comments over at LindyLouMacBookReviews or News From Italy. With all our visitors now departed I am catching up on my reading and hope to be blogging again soon.

    So glad you enjoyed this, as you know I put off reading this for a long while due to all the hype surrounding it.

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  10. This is one of my all time favorite books. I read it before I'd heard anything about it. It's always wonderful when you can avoid the hype. Glad you liked it!

  11. booksploring - thankyou for the heads up on that!

    Lindy and Avid reader - it wasnt quite what I was expecting, I dont think I was expecting it to be so dark in places but I still really liked it.

  12. I really enjoyed this book! I was really excited when Angel's Game was released but now I keep pushing it to the back of the pile for some reason. I wonder why.

  13. I too read this a couple years ago without knowing much about it. Loved it -- it just may be the only book that I read first as a library copy and then went out to buy my own copy. I haven't read The Angel's Game, but it is on the list.

  14. Nice, balanced review! I agree with you that the critical acclaim was a bit hard to get over while reading - personally, I kept waiting to be blown away, and never really was. Plus, all the flashbacks annoyed me. :)

    My review is here, if you're interested:

  15. Book Whisperer - Im in no rush to read Angels game I admit. Maybe Ill read book 3 first or something.

    Kim - its a very good read, I have leant it to Chris as I think he would enjoy it.

    Greg - I was ok with the flashbacks even thught they distracted a little from the story sometimes. I think I pretty much agree with your review.