Title: The Shadow of the Wind
Author: Carlos Ruiz Zafón
Publication Year: 2001, English translation, 2005
Genre: Historical Fiction
Number of Pages: 487
Summary: From Goodreads: Barcelona, 1945: A city slowly heals from its war wounds, and Daniel, an antiquarian book dealer’s son who mourns the loss of his mother, finds solace in a mysterious book entitled The Shadow of the Wind, by one Julian Carax. But when he sets out to find the author’s other works, he makes a shocking discovery: someone has been systematically destroying every copy of every book Carax has written. In fact, Daniel may have the last of Carax’s books in existence. Soon Daniel’s seemingly innocent quest opens a door into one of Barcelona’s darkest secrets–an epic story of murder, madness, and doomed love.
Review: Last year, I started a book club for some of my friends, and our January book of the month was The Shadow of the Wind. This is my second time reading it, and I definitely enjoyed it more this time around.
The Shadow of the Wind is complicated in that it’s almost like a book in a book. This book follows Daniel, the son of a bookseller, who discovers a book called The Shadow of the Wind by Julian Carax in the Cemetery of Forgotten Books. Soon Daniel learns that someone has been systematically destroying every copy of Carax’s books, and as he dives into Carax’s life, he gets tangled up in a web of dark secrets. There are a lot of parallels between Daniel’s story and Carax’s story, and it’s fascinating to watch as the two timelines intertwine with each other.
This book has a lot of characters in it, and most of them are quite memorable. This book takes place over a long period, and it was interesting seeing Daniel grow up. At the beginning of the book, he’s young, naïve, and infatuated with another character. As time goes by, he grows up, experiences different friendships and relationships, and you can see him maturing and turning into a young man, even if he is in over his head at times.
I think my favourite character in the book was Fermin. I thought he was a memorable character, and I enjoyed his character arc. He had many moments that amused me, and I liked his sense of humour. I also liked that he had ties to both sets of characters from the two parallel storylines in this book.
Even though it was complicated at times, I think what makes this book truly special is the parallel timelines. I loved how this book went from the present to the past, and how the past bled into the present. I loved how different conversations unveiled different parts of Carax’s story and how everything ended up tying together at the end. It was a complicated web that was woven through the story, but by the end of it, it was quite amazing.
I loved the setting of this book. This book takes place in Barcelona, after the war. The city is healing, but there are still scars everywhere. It’s a different place, and I loved watching the story unfold there.
I also loved that this book was about how a book can change your life. All of the events in this book unfolded because Daniel stumbled upon The Shadow of the Wind in the Cemetery of Forgotten Books. I also loved that this book was full of a bunch of fantastic lines that I tabbed like crazy so I can go back and read them again.
A few other things that I want to mention is that this book did have its share of cringy moments. This book also had its fair share of violent scenes, which made me a bit uncomfortable because I generally don’t handle violence very well.
Overall, this book is fantastic. It has lots of layers, and I am so glad that I picked it up again for a reread.
Rating: 4 Stars!