Review: The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon


The primary reason I picked this up is, on one of the websites I frequent we have a reading challenge which has one particular challenge which requires us to read an Author A-Z. This book, by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, counts towards my Z author. Also, I did begin this – with intention to finish – during the Rainbowthon!

Based on that simple fact, I went in to this with a very open mind. However, after a wee bit of investigation, I did then realise that it was a very highly rated book on goodreads. It has an average of 4.22 which is probably one of the highest rated books that I’ve picked up this year!

Once it got going, The Shadow of the Wind was an amazing book. The only way to describe it is an epic. It was somewhat reminiscent of The Historian in it’s plot, even though I haven’t read that book for a few years it still came to my mind as I was reading this. The plot was pretty damn good, a boy of 10 finds a book in The Cemetery of Forgotten Books by a long forgotten author and it piques his interest. We follow our protagonist, Daniel, over a number of years on his quest to find out more about the elusive author Julian Carax. The characters we meet along the way are absolutely wonderful on the whole; they’re rich, vibrant and most importantly, very real.

I think it was, ultimately, the characters that made this book. There were so many themes and it fits in to so many genres – mystery, suspense and romance to name a few. But it is Daniel and the parallels with Julian, I loved Fermin. I loved looking in to the history of all the characters and how everyone overlapped and interlinked. I really loved reading a book set in Spain – something I don’t think I’ve ever actually done! I wish I could have read this in Spanish to get the full richness, but my Spanish ends at counting to 10 and saying “water, please”!

My only issue was that I felt that maybe 200 pages in the middle could have been very easily condensed down to fewer than half that many. A lot of it seemed to drag to me and I did really struggle to get through a lot of the middle of the book. It was good but some of it seemed to send me to sleep! Once it got going again, I couldn’t put it down. I read the final 200 pages in about 3 hours or so.

I would very happily give this a 4/5 and I would definitely pick up more by him in the future!