The Labyrinth of the Spirits by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Finally, after 5 years of waiting, we have the fourth and final installment of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books. The Labyrinth of Spirits concludes the story that started with Daniel who discovered the works of Julian Carax in the The Shadow of the Wind. A series that started with an enchanting story and kept you invested with all it’s subsequent sequels.  The word sequel is in italics because despite the order of publication, it is said that you can read the series in any order. If you ask me, I’d recommend that the fourth installment definitely need to be read after both The Shadow of the Wind and The Angels Game. The third book, The Prisoner of Heaven, you can read without having read The Angel’s Game, as at that point in the series, there isn’t much that connects book two to book one or three.

In The Labyrinth of the Spirits we are re-introduced to characters from all the previous novels and we learn how they are all connected to each other. The series is a story about a love for books, libraries and reading. In all three books there is a focus on a different fictional author, in the first book we learn of Julian Carax who wrote The Shadow of the Wind and in The Angel’s Game we are introduced to David Martin, an author of thrillers who were mysteriously commissioned to write a book about a new religion. In the last book we encounter Victor Mataix, an author of children’s books, who became a friend of David when they were both imprisoned during the Civil War.

The stories centers around the disappearance of the minister, Mauricio Valls. An investigation follows to locate him, but later in the story we learn that as much as there is a huge focus by the state on his disappearance, they have no intention of wanting to find him either. It turns out that Valls is a war-time criminal whose crimes will implicate a lot of other people in high positions. The new character, Alicia Gris is one of the police investigators that is tasked with finding Valls. Through her investigation we learn a different side of Valls and how his crimes have impacted the lives of the Sempere family and Victor Mataix. It’s a sad story that reveals the true reason for why Mataix was imprisoned, why Daniel’s mother died and who the true parentage of some of the characters in the novel are.

At over 800 pages, The Labyrinth of the Spirits is a lengthy but impressive conclusion to the series. We get answers to most of our questions and once you are immersed in the story, it won’t feel as if you’re reading such a door stopper! I will say that there are some questions that were not explicitly answered but are left to the reader to conclude. I know that we can’t always have everything spelled out for us, so I’ll overlook that, because the last instalment was an epic conclusion and Zafón again illustrates why he will always be one of my very favourite authors. EVER.

Thanks for Harper Collins for providing me with an ARC.