Title: The Shadows of the WindAuthor: Carlos Ruiz Zafón
First Published: 2001
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
Let me start by saying that I loved the book.
I’ve been on roll for the past few months. One great book after another and I wish it doesn’t stop. The story took me to a place and time while reading. I was quite transported to Spain. Not only spiritually, but the imagined trip to the narrow streets of Barcelona felt very real. Sometimes I would go away from the pages wondering the streets of the city. I sat in the café. I visited Sempere’s old bookshop, and Clara’s apartment.
After finishing a book, I usually sit with myself with a cup of coffee trying decipher what I read, looking for hidden meanings, life lessons not morals, I never look for those really. And still can’t make up my mind. The book is about a quest, solving a mystery, it talks about books and above all it is about love. These are among my favorite things. The story felt very personal. I identified with it, I honestly for a moment believed that Carlos Zafon wrote it specifically for me. Sometimes the narratives are light but the horror of the civil war, the miserable lonely lives that everyone is living and the cruelty of time and bad people take you back to the reality of the situation and the urgency of the quest.
Daniel is a sensible young man. I quite like him. His determination is what I liked most about him. It did cost him and others a great deal of grief but a mystery is only there to be solved. The author kept pointing the similarity between Daniel and Julian and it might be true that both took similar paths in life, both loved wholeheartedly, but I still can’t see him doing what Julian had to do. I can’t picture him as a killer, or any criminal of sort. He might not play by the roles laid by others, he might get too passionate but he remains sensible and I imagined him having a gentle soul. Another momentous figure in the book is Fumero. I hated Fumero because I feared him. He reminds of someone who used to torment me to death as a child. Other characters in the book played their parts however small or unimportant. Some more than others were fully formed. I felt others should have been given more to grow like Bea for example. She was nowhere to be found, and suddenly she is Daniel love interest and I felt that sometimes the story shifted from uncovering the mystery to Daniel wanting to be with her and keep her safe. Fermin on the other hand, I didn’t care about him much. He is supposed to be wise, a comic relief maybe, but he annoyed me more than anything else. I felt sorry for him when he was telling his story to Daniel but not enough to make him less intolerable.
Before writing this, I just found out that there is prequel called The Angel's Game. I would definitely pick it up, and put it in my TBR list for 2013 and I hope it’s as good as The Shadow of the Wind.
For the mystery/thriller/historical fiction enthusiasts out there this book is highly recommend. For everyone else it’s still a good read. It might not be a great literature but it’s a damn good book nonetheless .