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The writing and storytelling in this is incredible. It isn't a fast read or a light read but it IS worth it. It really comes together, revealing the mystery and the truth of the characters.
I'd recommend this to anyone who is a fan of historical fiction, the setting of post-war Barcelona was really interesting. In 3 words; dark, romantic and mysterious.
This intricate and atmospheric book takes place in post-WW II Barcelona. The story begins with an 11-year-old boy (Daniel) being introduced to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books. Daniel is encouraged to take one book home and make it his own. He chooses a book that changes his life forever. As we follow Daniel's journey to find out more about the reclusive author of his chosen book, danger seems to lurk around every corner. This is a gothic mystery that weaves a tight labyrinth of a tale. I almost needed to put up a chart as the present begins to mirror the past. Who knows what? When did they know it? What do we know that Daniel does not? Told from Daniel's 1st person perspective with interludes that detail the events other characters participate in apart from him. Beautiful prose, a lasting message about the power of books and a supreme translation. I am intrigued enough to pick up the next book in the trilogy -- if I only had more time.
A very, very dark gothic novel. There were no major players that I liked or admired. The main two characters - Julian Carax and Daniel Sempere were flawed by hopeless and naive love of women - and each was twarted by class separation, prejudice and revenge. The basic story is about a mystery and a search by Daniel to unravel it.
I wanted to like this novel but couldn't. It became more and more sad and depressing.
This book was a veeeerrrryyyy slow read. The characters are crass and the women are depicted only as sex objects.
The young protagonist is taken to “The Cemetery of Forgotten Books” by his father in 1945 Barcelona. He is allowed to “adopt” one book, and make sure it is never forgotten. He picks, seemingly at random, “The Shadow of the Wind” by an unknown author named Julian Carax.
I picked this book up in the Newton Library Book Sale on the fly, the copy was quite tatty and I was not sure if it was my “thing”, but for 50 cents, it was worth a try! On reading the first few pages I was hooked! The characters were well-thought out, and the plot was intriguing. On several occasions, I was sure I knew the ending only to find another twist I wasn’t prepared for. One wonderful feature of Zafon’s books is he never leaves anything hanging, all loose ends are tied up by the end no matter how small the detail. (submited by library customer JF)
When his father introduces ten-year-old Daniel to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books and bids him select a title to adopt, ensuring that it is never forgotten (already possibly the most noble opening of a novel ever!), Daniel chooses 'The Shadow of the Wind,' and upon completing it becomes obsessed with learning more about its author, Julián Carax. However, Carax's identity proves enigmatic and, even more troubling, Daniel learns that someone has been burning all of Carax's works.
At its core, this is a captivating and beautiful literary mystery, full of surprising twists and turns. I don't read many works in translation and so have little basis for comparison, but it feels very well done.
One of my all-time favorite books. Haunting, beautifully written, complex characters and a book mystery.
This artistically written novel is a Gothic tale of post-war Barcelona. Within this modern literary masterwork, *The Shadow of the Wind* is actually a book within the book, and that book is "about accursed books, about the man who wrote them, about a character who broke out of the pages of a novel so that he could burn it, about a betrayal and a lost friendship. It's a story of love, of hatred, and of the dreams that live in the shadow of the wind."
I was enthralled by this book from beginning to end. I cannot accurately described how this book has left me feeling. I feel as if I lived an entire lifetime while reading it. It is a story within a story within a story. Every night I read it (which wasn't many because I finished it so rapidly), my dreams were filled with the characters from this book. I would wake up in the middle of the night, exhausted, but I would reach for the book because despite my exhaustion, I did not want to pass at the chance to read a chapter or two before returning to my dreams.........
THIS IS A MUST READ. I literally cannot stop my brain from recalling every little detail of this story. I will be distracted at work for a few days clearly! I know my review is vague, but if you love books, this book will make you love books even more than you thought possible.
Though the writing is this book was absolutely beautiful, I found the story to be predictable. Like watching my least favorite type of movie, I found myself grimacing while watching the characters make predictably horrible decisions with their lives.
Once I got started, I could barely put this book down let alone go to sleep when the hour became late. Writing exquisite, full of life, vivid descriptions, well developed characters, intrigue... The story of Daniel, Julien, Fermin and many more as they discover mysteries of the past/present. A book within a book!
If I could give this one ten stars, I would do so.
An early quote: " -- read the first few lines and before I knew what was happening, I had fallen right into it."
That's exactly what happened to me ....
This book is so many things: A murder mystery; a paean to a time and place; a coming-of-age story; and a literary masterpiece. The twists and turns of plot are mind-bending; I would defy anyone reading the first 100 pages to come close to predicting where the story will lead. Zafón has crafted some of the most compelling characters I've encountered for a long time, including Fumero, surely the most convincing of villains.
Definitely in the same league with Les misérables or A Tale of Two Cities in its power and scope. And the best novel I've read in many years.
Set in Barcelona in the early part of the 20th century, this novel crosses generations to deliver an elegant and witty tale of revenge, murder, mystery and above all love.
One of my all-time favorite works, this novel is written beautifully, and captivates the reader right from the very beginning. I am eagerly anticipating his next novel, (and the conclusion to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books series), The Labyrinth of Spirits (English translation) in 2018.
This was a beautifully written book and well worth the read. I gave it 3.5 out of 5 stars because I felt the narration broke down toward the end.
A gorgeously-written story set in early 20th-century Barcelona and filled with lovable characters. I wanted to climb inside this book and live in its world of literature, history, romance and mysterious, magical shadows. I can't wait to read Zafon's other novels!
It's been a couple of years since I read this book but I sill remember the effect it made on me - beautiful, mystic, mesmerizing, epic.
Definitely belongs to Magical Realism.
Definitely a must read! A romance mystery that has become one of my favorite novels instantly. I highly recommend this page turner. I was on the edge of my seat all time time.
I was truly amazed by the flow and beautiful language used throughout, to make this powerful story!
This is in my top five favorite books of all time. I read it on a whim after seeing a comment on the library's "What are you reading?" FB post. I'm so glad I did. I cannot recommend it enough!
I didn't know what to do with myself when I finished this novel. Absolutely one of the best books I've ever read. The language and vocabulary is as intoxicating as "Sophie's Choice." If you haven't read this yet, drop what you are doing and find a copy.
While reading a review of "Angels Game" realized I have read this book, quite awhile ago, before the Library System had this review area.
Really beautiful writing, many twists and complex. Agree with writer Kregal, this is a must for Club Dumas fans. Great read!
Wow, where was this book for most of my life! If you are a fan of "Club Dumas" or anything by Umberto Eco, this will be a jewel. Sad, funny, scary, curious, and everything else.