I finished this book a few days back and have yet to find the words with which to properly describe it. So, instead, I am going to tell you all a story.
It was a bright and sunny morning and I had just come back from a 9:00 A.M. class. Bored, and without the desire to do anything, I asked one of my roommates if she had any books to recommend. My roommate, let’s call her A, smiled broadly and handed me The Shadow of the Wind, a book she had read three times already. She went on to tell me that it was her favorite book of all time and never in all her life had she read a book like it. I, being me, smiled, nodded, and went to read another book.
Not long ago I went to used book sale. While there I looked around stacks of used hardcovers and paperbacks, hoping to find something that would catch my eye. No sooner had I remembered The Shadow of the Wind than by the will of God I saw the book nicely tucked in between some romance novels. Taking it as a sign that I obviously had to read it, I snatched it up and took it. After having paid a total of 50 cents for it, I took it home, excited to read it.
Admittedly, I put it off for a while. An entire month, to be precise. Then another one of my roommates got the book also, and then another, and soon all five of us had this book. It became a bit of a book club. Basically what it meant for me was that I had no choice but to read it now that my roommates were all doing it. Talk about peer pressure, right? So, that happened. I read it. Cover to cover. Every word. And you know what? I was unimpressed.
I don’t know what to rate this novel. I don’t even know what to say about it.
The writing of this book is beautiful. I kind of want to buy an original Spanish edition just to know the exact words the author meant to use. If it was this good in English, it must be absolutely gorgeous in Spanish. (Sorry, as a native Spanish speaker I am totally biased).
The book is a mystery, suspenseful, revenge filled magical realism masterpiece. It follows the life of Daniel, a child who is taken to The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, for the purpose of choosing a book and giving it life. There he finds a book eponymously titled, The Shadow of the Wind, by the mysterious Julian Carax.
From then on Daniel’s life takes a turn for the weird as he starts encountering many mysterious figures as he unravels one of Barcelona’s many little secrets. Here is when Daniel meets a mysterious man without a face named Lain Coubert, a character from one of Carax’s novel who seemingly “got out of the pages of a book so he could burn it”. He later meets Francisco Javier Fumero, a cruel police captain hell-bent on ruining the lives of all around him. He also comes across Nuria Monfort, an aging woman and old friend of Julian. As Daniel continues his journey he meets many curious people, all interconnected in a web of lies. As the mysteries of Julian Carax, and why all his books have been burned, comes to light, neither Daniel or any of those involved, will be the same.
The sad thing is that this book is too much. There is such a thing as trying too hard. This book went overboard with what it wanted to be. The plot was complicated, which I like, but it also lagged and went too deep into certain subplots that I simply did not care about. It became too easy for me to put this book down, I didn’t have that need to know what came next.
This novel is dark. It is twisted and messed up in the greatest of ways. I can totally see why people like it, and do not doubt that many of you will love it. I just was not one of those people. Three solid stars for me.
Check out our 2017 Reading Challenge