The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

The Shadow of the Wind by Spanish author Carlos Ruiz Zafón is one of my favorite books of all time. The book is on the best selling books list and Stephen King calls it “One gorgeous read”. With that I have to agree and I cannot describe my experience reading this book better than a quote taken from the book itself:

“Page after page I let the spell of the story and it’s world take me over, until the breath of dawn touched my window and my tired eyes slid over the last page”


The story is centred on the ‘Cemetery of Forgotten Books’ – a library where forgotten books and books that went out of print are stored. One of the bibliophiles who knows about it’s existence brings his 10 year old son, Daniel to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books where he is allowed to choose one book. Daniel discovers ‘The Shadow of the Wind’ by Julian Carax and becomes completely engrossed with the story and thereafter tries to look for more books by the same author. Along with his friend Fermín Romero de Torres, a former prisoner, he traces the life of Julian Carax – the mysteries, secrets and the tragedies. After being approached by a mysterious figure who reminds him of a character in the book called Lain Coubert he finds out is that he is in possession of the last printed copy of The Shadow of the Wind. This mysterious man is trying to track down all Julian’s work in order to burn them, while in the book Lain Coubert is the name of the Devil. What they find in the end, happens to be a tragic ending to a tragic love story…

The story paints a vivid picture of post Civil war (1945) under the dictatorship of Franco. Zafón’s beloved Barcelona is evident in his descriptions of the beautiful city, the streets, the gothic quarter and the atmosphere and solitude of the Spanish people after the war.  The book I find was deeply engrossing and entertaining –  filled with mystery, fear, hatred, love, compassion and friendship. I found Daniel’s determination to find out the truth about what happened with Julian inspiring and Fermin was an absolute delight . He is funniest character in the book, or any other book I’ve read. What I loved most about the story is that it’s a book about a book!

La Sombra Del Viento (Spanish title) has been translated into English by Lucia Graves.

Some memorable quotes from the book:

“Someone once said that the moment you stop to think about whether you love someone, you’ve already stopped loving that person forever”

“Paris is the only city in the world where starving to death is still considered an art”

I read a lot of books, and so far this is the one I’ve enjoyed reading the most. In fact, I’ve read this novel twice already and I might just read it again. Why? Because…

 “Few things leave a deeper mark on a reader than the first book that finds its way into his heart. Those first images, the echo of words we think we have left behind, accompany us throughout our lives and sculpt a place in our memory to which, sooner or later—no matter how many books we read, how many worlds we discover, or how much we learn or forget—we will return.” {The Shadow of the Wind, Carlos Ruiz Zafón}

Rating: ★★★★★

Further reading: Sypnosis and Reviews {from his official website}

Image source

  • I love the review on this book, so much so that an obsession just planted itself in me to get it. Its true that all of us has that one book that sticks in your mind. My one is Sole Survivor by Dean Koontz – I was just very intrigued by it!

    • Mel

      I haven’t read that one yet or heard of it! I will check it out on GoodReads!

      Ps: I’ve told you many times to get the book 😉 please do and let me know what you think.

  • The review on this book planted a seed of obsession to read it now. Your right you seldom forget the first book that got stuck in your head for me that book was Venom – it intrigued me and was a very intense read and I cannot remember the author for the life of me and have been searching for it for years just to own it!

    • Mel

      Can’t wait to hear your thoughts. I will search on goodreads and see if we find it. I hope you will like this book, I love mysteries and this one has got a slight gothic twist to it. Captivating 🙂

  • This sounds great! I love books about books and the idea of a “Cemetery of Forgotten Books” sounds enchanting. I’ll add this to my to read list and hopefully read it sometime this year. 🙂

    • Mel

      I really like this book and I hope you do too. Looking forward to read your review sometime this year 🙂

  • I’ve seen so many people recommend this book! Clearly I need to add it to my list.

    • Mel

      Yes you should 🙂
      I hope you will enjoy it!

  • I’ve said this before, but I read this book and loved it. But seriously, the first chapter left me hooked because it was SO beautiful! I could have been satisfied with just the first chapter as a short story. . . it was amazing! I can’t wait to read 2 and 3!

    • Mel

      I agree about the first chapter. After reading that I just knew I was hooked, completely! You should read 2 and 3 😉

      Ps: His new book gets released 9 May

  • A book about book? I’m in!

  • I haven’t heard of The Shadow of the Wind. Will check out at Amazon. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Mel

      Well now you have 😉
      Please do and let me know what you think! (Or I can just look out for your review :))

  • I’ve heard such wonderful things about this book and hope to read it for the Around the World in 80 books reaing challenge I’m doing. Visiting from In the Woods book club discussion and a new follower. Love the design of your blog, especially the clean font and purple background 🙂

    • Mel

      Hi Tanya, I really hope you will like the book once you get to read it! Thanks for visiting my blog and for the compliment 🙂
      Will pop over to your blog too

  • Isi

    Ohh yes, I liked it very much, but I read it long time ago and I don’r remember the plot.
    I should reread it and continue reading the rest of the books.

    • Mel

      Hi Isi, you should read The Angels Game and The Prisoner of Heaven. I liked them both, but still think The Shadow of the Wind is the best of the 3.

  • Isi

    By the way, if you want to read a really great book about our Civil war, you can try The frozen heart, by Almudena Grandes. One of the best books I’ve ever read, and don’t worry, it is not about the battle but the consequences of the war and about revenge, love, evil… everything.
    I loved it. It is one of my favourite books.

    • Mel

      Thanks for that suggestion! I will check it out. Have you read Winter in Madrid yet?

      • Isi

        No, I haven’t!
        I feel like you read more Spanish literature than I do!! 😉

        • Mel

          Check out my review of Winter in Madrid here .
          There’s a lot of spanish authors that I like,but I read the english translations 🙂

  • This was a great novel. I also really loved it. Your review is beautiful. A very exciting and yet sad storyline.

    • Mel

      A beautiful novel deserves a beautiful review 🙂
      I think this one will always be in my top 10, or maybe even my top 5 favorite novels! Thanks for stopping by, my dear.

  • I thought Fermin was wonderful too, such levity and spirit – great review.

    • Hi Jo, yes I loved Fermin he was very entertaining and I was so glad he was brought back in The Prisoner of Heaven 🙂 {He wasn’t a character in The Angel’s Game}

      Thanks for stopping by and for the compliment xx

  • I enjoyed this one too and want to read more by this author.

    • Thanks for stopping by.
      Yes, there is The Angel’s Game and The Prisoner of Heaven. Both good, but Shadow is still my favourite. He also wrote 2 young adult fiction, I’ve read them too 🙂

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  • I love this book also- and I agree this is the best of the three, thought The Prisoner of Heaven isn’t bad.

    • I liked Prisoner of Heaven too! Angels Game is my least favourite 🙂

  • I remember hearing about this but never got round to reading it, onto my good reads to read list it goes, and I will definitely read it. Thanks for the great review and reminding me about this one.

    • You’re welcome. I *hope* you enjoy it!

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  • Finally started reading it. I have a deadline, after all 😉

    • Yay! I’m so happy that you have (although I kind of “forced” you). I hope you like it, though!

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  • I enjoyed the bookish bits of this one and I liked the overall atmosphere, but it got a little melodramatic at the end for me. I really should try reading some more of his work!

    • Oh 🙁 Well I loved this book, I’ve read it a few years pre-blogging, and even now, after discovering great books via blog recommendations etc, I still love this book. Maybe it’s because the story touched me and you never forget that first book that made you go “wow, this is like my favourite book ever!” 🙂

      I personally think this one is the best of the 3 books, so if you found it a little melodramatic, you might not enjoy the rest…

  • I absolutely love books about books! I’ve had this one on my shelf for a while now and keep forgetting about it — I really should nudge it up queue 🙂

    • Hi Christine. Yes, you should. This was such a good read for me, I really hope you enjoy it!

      PS: I’ve read this twice 🙂

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  • Akeem Balogun

    Finally reviewed The Shadow of the Wind! Hope you enjoy.

    • Finally, I was actually looking out for it on your blog (other blog – TBS). Will pop over to read your review!

      • Akeem Balogun

        Oh okay, I’ve moved onto the inkposts team now so I’ll be posting when I can on there, but I made sure we started following The Book Musings 🙂

        • Thanks for the follow! I wish you didn’t delete your personal blog 🙁
          I’m now following there too. Happy reading and writing 🙂

          • Akeem Balogun

            Me neither to a certain extent, but I was thinking of a way to improve it for a while behind the scenes but decided it would be more interesting if I started a group blog that would allow others to contribute as well as myself, so that’s how inkposts came about.

            I still have ALL the content from TBS though! So I may go back and edit a few past reviews and put on em the new blog 😀

  • Melinda, you’ve got my attention now! This book is in my latest stack of aquisitions from a used bookstore nearby. I have not read Zafron before, at all, and this book is moving quickly to the top of the stack. Thanks for an intriguingly beautiful review.

    • Thanks Sherrey! This is one of my favourite books and one I keep recommending to everyone. I hope you enjoy reading the book, I do know that not everyone likes the same books, but I hope that you will find it a delightful read (as I have).

      There are some great quotes in the book 🙂

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  • Rachel Lauren

    Out of curiosity has anyone listened to the music he compiled to accompany the book ?