|Nomadic SA Chick||
Publisher: Penguin Books
Page Count: 487
Fiction Genre: Historical, Mystery, Fantasy, Gothic, Books About Books
Dates Read: October 23-31, 2015
Reading Challenge: Mega Reading Challenge
Topic: #71: A Translated Novella
Series: Cemetery of Forgotten Books, Book 1
In 1945 Barcelona, a young boy named Daniel is mourning the loss of his mother. His father, a local bookseller, decides that it is now time to introduce Daniel to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books. While traversing the numerous winding stacks in the cemetery, Daniel discovers The Shadow of The Wind. Unbeknownst to him at the time, this book has a profound effect on his life for many years to come. Daniel spends his childhood trying to uncover the mystery of who the author, Julian Carax is and what happened to him, and more importantly, why is the man who smells like burned books is so desperate to get his hands on The Shadow of The Wind.
Before I dig into the nitty-gritty of this book, I must confess that the first thing that drew me into this book was the cover. Just look at that cover, it's so beautiful, and says so much while saying nothing at all. *drools* I admit it, I judge a book by its cover; sometimes that is my only basis for interest or disinterest in a book. I make no apologize for this.
Admittedly, this book was a bit of a roller coaster for me. I fell in love with this book immediately. However, towards the middle I started asking myself what was going on and found myself questioning if I should continue on with the book. Yes, I actually considered giving up on the book. I struggled trying to understand how a book that started off so great could fall into this pit of boring self-loathing. Somehow I kept plodding along. I kept hoping that things would get better. Thankfully I hung in there, because things got better, and boy, did they get better.
When I started this book I though it would center around The Cemetery, but it didn't. The key focus of this book is the book, The Shadow of The Wind, that Daniel discovers while in The Cemetery. This book drives the story. Though I found the ending a tad on the predictable side, I loved the path Zafon paved getting to it. There are a lot of characters and at times the timeline can get a bit muddled as the story switches between timelines.
Given all of the flaws this book has, I cannot overlook how great it is. Zafon has great prose and weaves a very magical story. Originally written in Spanish, the translation is smooth, and essential words are kept in Spanish to emphasize special points. Getting to the end of the book left me grateful that I didn't give up on this one. I'm grateful because as crummy as the middle part of this book was, the beginning and ending were well worth that struggle.
I have been recommending this book to everyone
Ratings (based on a 10 point scale)
Quality of Writing - 9
Pace - 6
Plot Development - 6
Characters - 8
Enjoyability - 9
Insightfulness - 7
Ease of Reading - 7
Photos/Illustrations - N/A
Overall Rating - 5 out of 5 stars