Goodreads Rating 4.23 ★★★★
My Rating: 5 ★★★★★★
Genre: Mystery, Historical Fiction, Cultural, Literary Fiction.
“Books are mirrors: you only see in them what you already have inside you.”
Words cannot describe what this book entails… I am completely and utterly dumbfounded, what an experience! I have never been held captive by a book like this one, it was like tripping on acid for like a week, I hurried up whatever life responsibility to get lost in the pages of the book & it was a problem because I started this book at one in the morning. It haunted me when I went to sleep, always whispering
“read me read me”, Zafón’s magic was infectious & given the chance I would do it again.
“People tend to complicate their own lives as if living weren’t already complicated enough.”
The book follows Daniel, after the loss of her mother and haunted by sorrow, his father decides to share with him a magical place called “Cemetery of Forgotten Books” where lost or forgotten books end up. Inside he stumbles upon a book called The Shadow of the Wind, he devours it in one night and it resonates with him and sets him on a path to discover the history behind the author. He soon discovers that someone has been acquiring the books & burning them, also some aspects of his life mirror the author’s life. :0 Filled with dark, haunting secrets and colourful characters the book opens the past and much more. (I would advise going in blind and just experience it)
“Every book, every volume you see here, has a soul. The soul of the person who wrote it and of those who read it and lived and dreamed with it. Every time a book changes hands, every time someone runs his eyes down its pages, its spirit grows and strengthens.”
I don’t think any review can represent what this book has to offer. The layers that unfold with each page, the atmosphere that sets the story, the characters that literally jump off the page & Zafón is a master. He managed to capture the Gothic feel of Barcelona in the 1950s, that I thought I was time travelling. The quality of his writing shines & its consistency is very impressive and he held it tight for me
even though I tend to have a short attention span. I was tabbing and re-reading quotes heck I was about to get them tattooed because they were like…
The culture of reading is celebrated immensely and I now understand why people recommend this book for book-lovers, stacks of literary references, book description and bookstore feels it was like being hugged by a book.
Themes of loss, love, family, friendship, war and complex mental illness were discussed and explored fully and in a settled way through the characters and their interactions
The characters were colourful, to say the least with each presenting a depth that makes you care for them just after a few pages & every character, big or small, added to the story. I wouldn’t change a thing or remove anyone. The dialogue between them was realistic with strong relationship formed amongst themselves, showcasing the value of true friendship, the importance of a family support & it was amazing to see it all play out.
“Destiny is usually just around the corner. Like a thief, a hooker, or a lottery vendor: its three most common personifications. But what destiny does not do is home visits. You have to go for it.”
The mystery unfolded so well, it will keep you on your toes… you will be so blinded by the beauty of the storytelling that some reveal would shock you. The dark castles, Gothic feel of the atmosphere was creepy and oh my god it was so good. I was expecting some fantastical elements when I first heard of this book but regardless this exceeded my expectation.
I would recommend this book to everyone because it offers something to everyone, you will close the last chapter and be affected someway. It opened my eyes to the value of reading, to how that invisible connection between the author and the reader is truly magic
It made appreciate my favourite books and to see authors as fragile as the reader themselves. As you can tell from all that rumbling that is probably one of the best books I have ever read (and anticipating a future re-read). I am so jealous of those who will experience this book for the first time because it was truly magical.