Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Publisher and release date: Weidenfeld & Nicolson & Orion Books (UK) (2001)

Shadow of the Wind has been reviewed many times, and it isn’t in need of another, but when you find something this entertaining it’s hard not to share your opinion.

The tale takes place in 20th century Barcelona and is a love story within a mystery. It begins when Daniel Sempere’s father takes him to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books and he comes across a book by the ghost of an author Julián Carax. Daniel reads it with delight then relentlessly tries to find out all about the writer of The Shadow of the Wind, who has escaped from the eyes of everyone for more than a couple years. The events that occur afterwards are wonderfully told by Zafón, and his way of putting words together had me re-reading lines in admiration. In other words: Shadow of the Wind contains immaculate writing and is deserving of its critical praise.

Daniel’s quest to uncover Carax’s life takes him years and is thwarted constantly by psycho-sicko Francisco Javier Fumero. Eventually, we discover the reasons behind the burning of Carax’s book, and it’s distressing, as is the secret relationship between him and Beatriz ‘Bea’ Aguilar, which is a tragedy that’s hard not to be affected by. However, Daniel and Penelope’s love story imitates the one between Julian and Beatriz a lot, but it’s still a delight to read and possesses the sort of chemistry that brings a smile to your face without you noticing.

It takes a while for the entire story to reveal itself and it’s a good journey all the way there, but I found the overall revelation slightly disappointing. I couldn’t help thinking that a lot of the horrible situations the characters ended up getting into could have been avoided if they had pursued the girl or boy next door rather than the best friend’s sister or the off-limits cutie. Nonetheless, The Shadow of the Wind is a masterpiece and is a very, very good book.

  • Reasons to read: the suspense in this book is immense. Good for those sweet, lovey-dovey bits. Inspiring for any aspiring writer.
  • Reading level: dictionary required at times.
  • Length: 565 pages.
  • Where to get: physical and electronic retailers as well as any good library.
  • Favourite quote: “There are worse prisons than words.”

The idea for favourite quotes was inspired by something similar to what Melinda does at The Book Musings, and I also want to thank her for suggesting it to me as I had completely forgotten about it after a friend’s previous suggestion.

Have you read Shadow of the Wind? What did you think of it? Let us know in the comments

  1. Shadow of the Wind is also one of my favourite books. It was a pleasent journey in time, in books and in Barcelona alongside some great personalities .

  2. Sure, they could have avoided all those horrid situations but the book might have been less interesting. However, glad you liked the book. It’s a real classic. I posted my own review a few weeks ago.

    1. It definitely could have been, but it’s hard not to read a book sometimes and not think: “If only he/she would have done this, then…” I get you though. Yep, one of the best writers I’ve come across.

      Just checked your blog out and will now most definitely read some of Alexandre Dumas’s stories in the future.

  3. I am inspired to read this book! I love a good mystery and a good love story, so both at the same time is a special kind of book heaven for me. I do like the favorite quotes section. I am pondering doing some book reviews on my blog and I may (if it’s all right) use your format as a template. Your review is brief, interesting, and information.

  4. I do indeed recall this stand-out, beautifully written book even if it’s about five years since I read it in paperback. I appreciate your point about the conclusion but being a different kind of book conceptually, I think that’s just part of the package. Very good overall review well done.

  5. I am SO glad that you enjoyed it! This is by far one of my favourite books and I keep recommending it to everyone. I hope you enjoy the rest of the series too, although I must tell you, out of the 3 books this one is the best, but that’s just my opinion…

    1. Yeah I can see why. The writing in the book is breathtaking. Keep on encouraging people to read it. I’ve heard, so I’m not too eager to read the others because of that, but I might do one day.

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