Title: The Shadow of the Wind
Author: Carlos Ruiz Zafón
Published: February 1st 2005 by Penguin (Non-Classics) (first published 2001)
Barcelona, 1945—Just after the war, a great world city lies in shadow, nursing its wounds, and a boy named Daniel awakes one day to find that he can no longer remember his mother’s face. To console his only child, Daniel’s widowed father, an antiquarian book dealer, initiates him into the secret of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, a library tended by Barcelona’s guild of rare-book dealers as a repository for books forgotten by the world, waiting for someone who will care about them again.
Daniel’s father coaxes him to choose a book from the spiraling labyrinth of shelves, one that, it is said, will have a special meaning for him. And Daniel so loves the book he selects, a novel called The Shadow of the Wind by one Julian Carax, that he sets out to find the rest of Carax’s work. To his shock, he discovers that someone has been systematically destroying every copy of every book this author has written. In fact, he may have the last of Carax’s books in existence.
Before Daniel knows it, his seemingly innocent quest has opened a door into one of Barcelona’s darkest secrets, an epic story of murder, magic, madness, and doomed love, and before long he realizes that if he doesn’t find out the truth about Julian Carax, he and those closest to him will suffer horribly.
“Every book, every volume you see here, has a soul. The soul of the person who wrote it and of those who read it and lived and dreamed with it. Every time a book changes hands, every time someone runs his eyes down its pages, its spirit grows and strengthens.”
I never actually expected to find this book let alone read it. Like the protagonist Daniel, who let compulsive feeling made him choose THE SHADOW OF THE WIND in the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, I also had the same feeling that made me buy this. It never entered my mind that I would love it the very first moment I opened it.
Carlos Zafón’s characters fit the settings he presented to the readers perfectly. He made you feel like an actual watcher of a great story that is yet to unfold. I especially love the main protagonist, Daniel. His thirst for acquiring a buried story behind his most treasured book made him very human. He may not have the proper heroics but his compassion and character makes you feel like he's not a fictional character but a known friend.
Overall, it’s not hard to fall in love with Zafón’s masterpiece that will string every reader in a world of mystery, tragedy, romance, drama, and a whole lot more. This is a book that even the famous thriller novelist, STEPHEN KING, gave rave reviews on. A genre like no other and the writer’s wittiness to actually use the title of the actual book inside the book itself is very amusing.
All I can say is that once you start reading this you can’t stop. A must have book that would turn even non-book lovers into reading.
I give it 5 whales.