“Books are mirrors: you only see in them what you already have inside you.”
Barcelona, 1945: A city slowly heals in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, 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 Julián 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.
“Making money isn't hard in itself... What's hard is to earn it doing something worth devoting one's life to.”
When I started this book I wasn't sure I'll enjoy it, I'd go as far that I don't think I'd ever picked it up if not for my lovely friend who gave it to me for my birthday. When I read the first few pages I knew instantly that I'd love this book and that it would be nothing like any other novel I've read before. All my assumptions were right. Zafón created a story that will not let you go long after you've finished it.
Zafón is one of those authors who is truly wonderful at describing the characters' surroundings, or the characters themselves. I'm usually afraid of not being able to get into a historical fiction novel because of the lack of description but I had no problem imagining 1940's Barcelona. I could particularly see before my eyes all the mentioned places, such as The Cemetery of Forgotten Books or the hatshop.
Reading The Shadow of the Wind was like putting together a puzzle. At first the small, individual pieces formed bigger pictures until in the end everything came together. Things that I never thought had anything to do with each other connected together until in the end they formed a perfect story. I never thought that writing such a complex story, with so many sub-plots was possible, without confusing the reader. It's usually harder to get into a more complex story than into a, say contemporary romance, but Zafón made it easy.
The Shadow of the Wind is one of those books in which you know it won't end well for some of the characters but you still keep hoping. And when everything goes up in flames you'll have tons of "what if?" questions.
It was interesting seeing Daniel's present mendling together with Julián's past. I loved the parallel between their lives but what I loved more was how much Daniel learnt from Julián's mistakes.
The characters were all well-crafted. It was impossible not to feel sympathy towards them, (maybe despite one) because Zafón made a point of showing us the most significant parts of their lives. It wasn't important if I agreed with their choices or not, what was important was seeing their reasons for being this way. Zafón made a point of introducing properly the supporting characters too, so it was easy to remember every single one of them. I felt like every character suffered a great deal in their lives but I was glad to see that while Zafón didn't sugarcoat anything, he didn't made it seem like they were nothing but their sufferings.
I adored the romance, I won't say between who because that would pretty much be a spoiler. It wasn't really slow-developed but it felt extremely strong and I was sure their love was true.
Favorite characters: EVERYONE, but if I really have to choose I'd say: Daniel, Julián, Penelopé, Daniel's father
Least favorite: -
The story idea: 5/5
The realization of the story: 6/5
The characters: 6/5
The cover: 5/5
Enjoy factor: 6/5
What is your favorite genre? Your favorite book from it? :)