The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon | A dark mystery encased in a love for books

The Shadow of the Wind

This book was a reread for me – in the form of a buddy read. Both myself and Amy @ ShoutAme felt we needed to read this book, with it being a favourite of ours, and so June brought that reread along. I was slightly paranoid that I wouldn’t enjoy it as much as the original time I read it, since I couldn’t remember a thing and my tastes have changed a lot, but…well, you’ll see from this review how it went.

spoiler free

Let’s dive right in!

The Shadow of the Wind


Synopsis (1)

(Found on Goodreads)

Barcelona, 1945-just after the war, a great world city lies in shadow, nursing its wounds, and a boy named Daniel awakes on his eleventh birthday 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 volume from the spiraling labyrinth of shelves, one that, it is said, will have a special meaning for him. And Daniel so loves the novel he selects, 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 one 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.


This was a reread for me – Originally read in 2015

I was so nervous that I wouldn’t like this book anymore on rereading it. To not remember anything about it seemed like a bad omen in some ways (I don’t know how, when I know for a fact I’m just really bad at remembering things.) But I was very, very wrong.

Once again, I was completely enthralled by this book!

I’m kind of glad I completely forgot everything that happened. I mean, it is a mystery book after all – it would have been no good knowing the answers behind everything. But no, instead I could experience it as if for the first time, and I’m so glad for it. Especially once things started to reveal themselves. I’d even forgotten one of the main plot twists, and audibly gasped when I read it!

But it’s not just the mystery behind it all. This is one of those bizarre cases (for me, at least), where I don’t actually *like* any of the characters…and yet still enjoy reading about them. There’s the main character, Daniel, who just seemed to fall in love with every woman who looked at him (where the romance actually goes is up to you guys to find out). There was Fermin, one of the most eccentric characters I’ve ever read about, and who though I didn’t necessarily like how he talked about women, I could see that was very much due to the time and place this is set. A number of the female characters, who seem to just be really misleading and popping in every so often for no apparent reason. Or Daniel’s father, who was just sort of… there. 

Seriously, I’m pretty sure his only part in this book is authenticity.

But though I didn’t really like any of them, this is very much a plot-based book, and so the story surrounding them shrouds against any misgivings that might have niggled at me.

Then we have the writing itself, which just feels like another thing entirely. Carlos Ruiz Zafon really has a way with words, and I found myself wanting to take so many quotes out of this book and jot them down. Especially with there being so much passion about books too. Having being translated, this is the sort of book that made me wish I was fluent in Spanish, so that I could reread it again in its original tongue. If it’s written so well in English after translation, I can only imagine how wonderful it is originally.

And so as you can probably tell, I am still very much a fan of this book. It’s variety of characters weaving together an elaborate sort of story seems to lure me in without my realising. What looks like a heartfelt story about books turns out to be quite a dark and brutal mystery – seriously. Once again this book caught my attention and kept it throughout, and I’m so glad to have reread it.

Trigger Warnings: Domestic Abuse, Rape, Suicide

Rated 5/5 stars!

5 stars

Book Depository

give a warning

Share your thoughts!

Have you read this book? What did you think?

If you haven’t, have you read any of his others? Do you plan to?

Let me know in the comments!

Until next time…


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5 thoughts on “The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon | A dark mystery encased in a love for books

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