The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Every once and a while, you find yourself holding a special book. A book that makes you go "wow". A book that is complex, intriguing, colourful, intelligent and written with such beauty and grace that you just don't want to let it go. For me, The Shadow of the Wind, was that kind of book. 

Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Gothic, Romance
Year Published: 2001
Publisher: Text Publishing
Rating: 5/5

This novel is set in Barcelona after the Spanish Civil War.  It is about a young boy named Daniel who is grieving for his mother, who recently died. He lives with his father and they run a second hand bookstore specialising in hard-to-find books.

As Daniel nears his 11th birthday, his father takes him on a special journey. A journey to a secret  place called "The Cemetary of Forgotten Books". A huge, old maze of a library full of books with no homes. According to tradition, Daniel being a newcomer to this library must choose one book to take home with him, which he must protect for life. 

"As I walked in the dark through the tunnels and tunnels of books, I could not help being overcome by a sense of sadness. I couldn't help thinking that if I, by pure chance, had found a whole universe in a single unknown book, buried in that endless necropolis, tens of thousands more would remain unexplored, forgotten forever. I felt myself surrounded by millions of abandoned pages, by worlds and souls without an owner sinking in an ocean of darkness, while the world that throbbed outside the library seemed to be losing its memory, day after day, unknowingly, feeling all the wiser the more it forgot."

After much searching, Daniel finds a book called "The Shadow of the Wind" by Julián Carax. A book that seems to speak to him, that needs him to take it home. Daniel quickly devours this book and finds the most brilliant story he has ever read. 

This sets Daniel on a search to find more out about Julián Carax and his other works. Much to Daniel's surprise, no one seems to know much about Carax and his novels are no where to be found. Instead, he is confronted by creepy stories about a man who calls himself Laín Coubert (which just happens to be the name of the Devil in "The Shadow of the Wind" by Carax), a haunting figure who also is seeking to find all of these novels... so he can burn them. 

Soon Daniel finds himself caught up in a mystery that consumes his life, and the lives of those around him. A mystery full of terror, heartbreak and evil. 

This novel follows the story of what happened to Julián Carax alongside the story of Daniel, his search for answers and his journey into manhood.

I LOVED LOVED LOVED this book!!! This book was a fantastic mystery, a  tragic love story and a story of passion - a great passion for literature! This book was made for those of us who love books. 

This novel was beautifully written, the words just flowed seamlessly from page to page. Although complex, with many characters and twists, it was easy to follow and very engrossing. The characters were  endearing (despite their obvious faults) and I really felt that they were like 'old friends' by the end of the novel.

Like Clara, the blind and misguided woman who first steals Daniel's heart but refuses to give him hers. To, Nuria Monfort, the woman who gave her life for Julian even though she knew his heart would always belong to Penelope. And, of course, Fermin. A man who had fallen on hard times, who Daniel showed great kindness and was re-payed with great friendship.

I recommend this novel to anyone who loves to be overtaken by a good story. Because that is really what this novel is all about, telling a good story.

The prequel to this novel, The Angel's Game has been released! Now I have a mission... get my hands on this this book!

Note: There is so much more to this novel than what I have talked about in this review that I really don't feel like I have done it justice. All I can say is that this is one of those novels that I will recommend to anyone I know who loves books and reading. It is also one of those novels I will come back to and re-read in the future. I am adding this to my "all time favourites" list. 
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