Posts Tagged: The Shadow of the Wind

The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

The Prisoner of Heaven

By Carlos Ruiz Zafón
Pages: 288 pages
Publisher: Harper
Release Date: 07/10/12
ISBN: 0062206281

I feel it only appropriate to begin this review with a note mentioning that Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s The Shadow of the Wind (REVIEW) is my favourite novel. I say this because it presents an inherent bias in me that won’t necessarily exist for the average reader, and is a double-edged sword in terms of setting up my expectations and, ultimately, determining this review of The Prisoner of Heaven, the first true sequel to The Shadow of the Wind, after 2009’s The Angel’s Game.

This bias worked against The Angel’s Game (REVIEW). My anticipation for the novel was sky-high, having first read The Shadow of the Wind only a few months earlier, I was desperately eager to spend more time in Zafón’s version of Barcelona, with his characters that I loved dearly. The bar was set impossibly high and, as the old adages often do, “the higher they are, the farther they fall” proved too true. My initial review of The Angel’s Game was positive (and I still think positively about the novel), but on reflection the flaws can’t be ignored and, as a follow-up to The Shadow of the Wind, The Angel’s Game was a disappointment. It stands to reason, then, that my expectations for The Prisoner of Heaven would be tempered somewhat. But, no. That little squealing fanboy in me couldn’t help but put Zafón’s latest novel on a pedestal, well before it ever hit store shelves. So, keep that in mind. I’m not to be trusted. For a bias is a wicked beast in the mind of a critic. Read More »

The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

If, like me, you’re dying to get your hands on The Prisoner of Heaven, the sequel to Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s critically-acclaimed The Shadow of the Wind, you might be in luck. I wandered down to my local bookstore and saw copies of the novel sitting there on the shelf, over two weeks before the official release date. I’ve heard from other folk that they’ve also seen copies in the wild. So, if you’re waiting, it’s worth checking your bookstore to see if they have copies available now. I’ve got one, and just in time for a nice camping trip. Woo-ha!

If you’re not familiar with Zafon’s work, you might be interested in my review of The Shadow of the Wind. I consider it my favourite novel. Ever.

The Prince of Mist by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

The Prince of Mist

AuthorCarlos Ruiz Zafon
Pages: 224
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: May 4, 2010
ISBN-10: 0316044776


Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s The Shadow of the Wind is one of my two favourite novels. The other is The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. On the surface, these novels appear to have little in common – one is quest Fantasy, set in a mythical world, the other is a coming-of-age story set in 1940’s Spain. Where they’re similar, though, is in their origins and the reasons they were written.

Tolkien originally wrote The Hobbit for his children, a tale of adventure and hijinks meant to entertain and excite them. I much prefer it to The Lord of the Rings for its brevity, for its ability to get to the point and tell a story for storytelling’s sake.

I once saw young adult (YA) novels described as (and I’m paraphrasing) ‘Adult novels without all the crap’. I thought this a rather apt description of the oft-maligned publishing category. Though I’m ultimately a reader of adult novels, I’m drawn to YA for its hungry veracity to lay the story out before its audience, to cut out all the nuance and posturing and let the reader into its secrets, to reward them quickly for their commitment. It’s like a moped to a motorcycle: simple, little stress the reader, but ultimately enjoyable.

I like to think of The Shadow of the Wind as an evolution of this style of storytelling. It’s more drawn out than typical YA, with much of that extraneous fat and muscle added back on, but Zafon was able to draw on his experience writing YA and apply what he’d learned to craft a story that was as fable-like as the best YA. From a small cast of characters, to a youthful, zesty voice, to its ability and willingness to question the world, The Shadow of the Wind is a YA Adult novel grown up. This bumbling, awkward kid’s turned into a sophisticated gentleman.
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The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

The Angel’s Game

AuthorCarlos Ruiz Zafon

Pages: 544 pages
Publisher: Doubleday
Release Date: June 16th, 2009
ISBN-10: 0385528701

Certainly the best novel I’ve read this year, The Shadow of the Wind may very well be my favourite novel I’ve ever read. Zafon’s haunting tale of love, lust, revenge and friendship has everything I could want from a novel and more. It’s not often that a novel can actually live up to the hype surrounding it; it’s even less often when a novel can surpass that hype, but that is exactly what The Shadow of the Wind accomplished. I eagerly await the English translation of El Juego del Angel.

So ended my review of The Shadow of the Wind by Spanish author Carlos Ruiz Zafon. Strong words, but sounding no less true from where I sit now, months removed from writing them. In fact, my opinion of the novel has only grown, as I look back on it and reminisce – there’s no quibbling about it anymore, The Shadow of the Wind is my favourite novel, by a fair margin.

So where does that put me now, having finished that novel I was so eagerly referring to in the first review? I’ve read The Angel’s Game (the English title of El Juego del Angel), and have had to sit for weeks, letting my thoughts coalesce into something that I can define coherently enough to call it a review.
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The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

The Shadow of the Wind

AuthorCarlos Ruiz Zafon

Pages: 487 pages
Publisher: Penguin
Release Date: January 25, 2005
ISBN-10: 0143034901

Years ago, when I last travelled through Europe, standing in the middle of a bustling bookstore in a Cologne train station, I held a copy of Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s The Shadow of the Wind in my hands. I contemplated it, having heard the first rumblings of the novel and its quality. I ended up putting it back on the shelf, not purchasing it. Ever since that day, I regretted not reading it on that trip, and so when it came time to hit the train stations of Europe, I made sure to bring a copy with me.

This time, as my train trundled its slow way through the quaint, rolling hills of northern Slovakia, I was gazing out the window, The Shadow of the Wind resting on the seat beside me.

“Ahh, I’ve read that one,” says the young man across from me, broken English tumbling its way inelegantly through his thick accent. “Museum of Forgotten Books, right?”

“Yeah,” I said, encouraged by his enthusiasm.

“It’s good. A good book,” he said.

The young fellow on the train may have had the name of the fabled Cemetery of Forgotten Books wrong (though it could have been lost in the Slovakian translation), but he certainly got one thing right – The Shadow of the Wind is a good book. A very good book.
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