La Sombra del Viento (El cementerio de los libros olvidados #1)
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La Sombra del Viento (El cementerio de los libros olvidados #1)

4.21 of 5 stars 4.21  ·  rating details  ·  203,203 ratings  ·  16,692 reviews
Un amanecer de 1945 un muchacho es conducido por su padre a un misterioso lugar oculto en el corazón de la ciudad vieja: El Cementerio de los Libros Olvidados. Allí, Daniel Sempere encuentra un libro maldito que cambiará el rumbo de su vida y le arrastrará a un laberinto de intrigas y secretos enterrados en el alma oscura de la ciudad.

La Sombra del Viento es un misterio li...more
Paperback, 584 pages
Published 2011 (first published 2001)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jamie
Mar 26, 2011 Jamie rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone. So good.
Recommended to Jamie by: The girl at the Ferry Building Bookshop
There's probably nothing much I "learned" in the introspective sense, but this is a novel like a novel ought to be. This is an epic film on paper, gloomy and engaging, smokey, noir with crumbling ruins, young love, disfigurment, lust, torture...the stuff of Dumas, DuMauier and, as of late, The Historian. I woke up at five a.m. and had to sweet talk myself back to sleep: all I wanted to do was read. One Friday, after work, I took sanctuary in The Hotel Biron, those little tables in the dark, page...more
Annalisa
Feb 10, 2014 Annalisa rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: some language and sex
Recommended to Annalisa by: book club
I read the opening few pages and instantly knew 3 things:
1. I was going to love this book.
2. I needed a whole pad of post-its to mark quotes.
3. I wanted to read this in Spanish for the rich poetry the language would add.

A young boy Daniel is taken by his father to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books and told to salvage a book which he must take stewardship over. He choses a novel—or maybe it chose him—that touches him, stirs his desire for literature, and forever entangles him with the fate of the b...more
Daniel
After reading The Shadow of the Wind, I was left with somewhat mixed feelings. On the one hand, this is such a beautifully written book, and is in essence an ode to literature. On the other hand, there are some serious flaws which distracts from the whole experience.

The best thing about the book, in my opinion, is Zafon's skill in artistic writing. It reminds me of why I love to read in the first place, and makes me wish I could write as beautiful as this. The book contains lots of memorable qu...more
Tanja (Tanychy) St. Delphi
Sep 11, 2013 Tanja (Tanychy) St. Delphi rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Tanja (Tanychy) by: a friend
The fact is that I’ll never be able to write a real review for this book. Here is why :

1. I’m not good enough.
I’m not now and I’ll never be. It doesn’t matter how many books you have read or how smart you are, you’ll never be good enough for that. You won’t be able to find exact words and it’s not just you. Only person who can is the author himself, but I think he already said everything he wanted.
Don’t believe me?
- “Books are mirrors - you only see in them what you already have inside you.”...more
Lola
I found this novel by accident, while quickly browsing shelves at the local library, and let me just say it was the best accidental find i've had in years. From the very first line to the end i loved it, and as a reader i am not easily pleased by anything. I love stories out of the ordinary that captivate my imagination and run away with it. That is exactly what The Shadow of The Wind did.

Right off the bat the plot intrigued me, Daniel Sempere is taken to the a secret labyrinth of forgotten book...more
Simon
It's been a couple years since I read this book so I shouldn't and won't go into details, but the effect has lingered all this time. There's no other book I'm quicker to recommend than this one. It's not that it's particularly important in a lot of the ways "important" books are, it's just that it works as pure reading pleasure (and sometimes, isn't that enough?); so I find reviews from people desperate to discover structural flaws and stylistic cliches to be totally missing the point. Buy it ne...more
Kelly
Trying too hard. I wonder if I hadn't read this right after Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell if I would have liked it better. They were both trying to pay homage to the gothic/Romantic era writers, except that Strange and Norrell was brilliant, and this one was.. eh. I appreciated what the author was trying to do, but he didn't do it well enough to keep me reading. Yes, Romantic lit is full of cliche, but the thing is to do it in an intriguing way and with enough wit to keep your audience intere...more
Nataliya
"Books are mirrors: you only see in them what you already have inside you."
Well, I wonder then what part of me I saw inside this book - a book I adored despite its imperfections, despite its frequent veering into melodrama, despite (or maybe because of?) its densely Gothic atmosphere.

Whatever it was, it was enough to make me lose myself completely in the rich setting of mid-20th century Barcelona, in the world of seductive dangerous power of literature and perils and passions of young love, an...more
Jon Cox
I can't believe someone actually published this book. Even worse, in my opinion is the fact that this book is on the New York Times Bestseller List. How is this possible? It must only mean that there are a lot of people out there that think very differently from me. Don't you be one of them. Seriously. Don't be fooled by this book. It is insipid, lame, and poorly written.

First. The prose is so overblown that the author uses three adjectives for every single noun. Count them. He evidently was to...more
sckenda
Daniel woke up and could no longer remember the face of his dead mother. In sad Barcelona of 1945, Franco’s secret police terrorize survivors of the Spanish Civil War. The psyches of Barcelonans are as scarred as the bullet-pocked buildings, and the streets are haunted with the melancholy shadows of the dead and the disappeared. Little Daniel will not pause until he can again recall the world of shadow.

Daniel’s father, an antique bookseller, takes him to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books where ne...more
Jordan
This book SEEMED like it was going to be so good - a dark mystery set in post-war Barcelona, with tragic love and a place called The Cemetary of Forgotton Books... what's not to love? (To be honest, I'm not a fan of tragic love, but everything else at least seemed great). But while I was vaguely curious to see how everything pieced together, I didn't like or care about any of the characters, and dialogue like "Sometimes I no longer know who you are," kept me at a distance. The book never went be...more
Deb
I bought a copy of this book last September at the library's book sale, but it languished unread on my shelf until yesterday. What prompted me to pick it up was this: I was browsing through the backlist and pre-orders at Subterranean Press because of an author I'd found who releases specialized, small run stories that I thought I'd like to read. (Caitlin R. Kiernan) Turns out her books now run about $40-60 a pop and are generally only available third hand. As I browsed down the list, I saw that...more
Kim

This novel begins with a visit to an amazingly evocative location. A father takes his ten-year-old son Daniel to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, a secret labyrinth visited and maintained by Barcelona’s second-hand booksellers. Daniel must choose a book to treasure and keep with him all his life. He chooses a novel written by Julián Carax, an author who has disappeared and whose books have been sought out and destroyed by a strange, shadowy figure named after a character from one of Carax's nove...more
Suzy
Jan 26, 2008 Suzy rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Patient readers
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lauren
Ruiz Zafón has created a near-perfect novel: seductive and intriguing characters, a brilliant Spanish locale, and a lyrical style reminiscent of past literary masters. I found myself reading passages countless times just to savor the words. The language was so solid and mesmerizing, I could not believe it was a translation. The story lingers in your mind hours and days after reading it, and I become nostalgic; wishing I could read it again for the first time.

When Daniel Sempere first enters the...more
umberto
In fact I came across this novel some few months ago at Kinokuniya Bookstore in Bangkok but I decided not to buy it then, I thought I didn't have time to finish its 500+ pages. I wasn't sure if it's a page-turner and I had never heard of Carlos Ruiz Zafon or read his book before.

However, I bought a copy from one of the booths in our annual Book Expo XVI held early this month in Bangkok. Surprisingly, its first page thrilled me with words I've never read before: "The only thing I can recall is th...more
Monique Gerken
This is my favorite book of all time! It is my goal in life to have everyone read this. There wasn't a dull moment and it keeps you guessing.

"The time is the 1950s; the place, Barcelona. Daniel Sempere, the son of a widowed bookstore owner, is 10 when he discovers a novel, The Shadow of the Wind, by Julián Carax. The novel is rare, the author obscure, and rumors tell of a horribly disfigured man who has been burning every copy he can find of Carax's novels. The man calls himself Laín Coubert-th...more
Diane
This novel started off very promising, but soon devolved into bad writing and ridiculous plotting. I finally had to abandon it after 200 pages because I didn't want to waste another minute on it. I'm going to give the writer the benefit of the doubt and wonder if this was poorly translated from the Spanish.

The story is set in Barcelona in 1945. What I liked about the beginning was the idea of a young boy being drawn into a secret world of readers. Daniel was 10 when his father took him to the C...more
Warwick
Dire. The writing is along Dan Brown lines, with flowery metaphors mixed until they become meaningless. From page 1: "My father sighed, hiding behind the sad smile that followed him like a shadow all through his life." How can he be hiding behind it if it's following him? Then on the next page someone is described as having "vulturine features", but in the following sentence he has an "aquiline gaze". This sloppiness is everywhere.

The whole thing feels like it desperately wants be seen as some k...more
Carol
Apr 26, 2012 Carol rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Carol by: Paul, Helen, book groups
Several of my GoodReads friends really loved Shadow of the Wind. Paul and Helen nudged me to move it up on my list and I can't thank them enough for this. I have just spent the last week reading one of the most engaging novels that I've read this past year. Watch out everyone. I'm going to badger you until you read it too.

Shadow of the Wind is a bit of a humbling experience; I'm truly not certain I can do it justice. If you're a book lover, someone who loves to read, who appreciates stories wit...more
Seth Hahne
The problem with The Shadow of the Wind is that it tricked me into believing it was a great book by being so freaking fun. It is only now, after a month or so has passed since my reading, that I realize that No, The Shadow of the Wind was not a great book.

But it was freaking fun.

Seriously. Despite the pretty good writing, the largely stereotyped characters, the cliched plot development, and the soap-operatic twists and revelations, The Shadow of the Wind was a very fun ride. Despite the fact tha...more
Dracolibris
This book had me hooked when the young protagonist is taken to "The Cemetery of Forgotten Books" by his father in 1945 Barcelona. There he is allowed to choose one book that he will "adopt" and take care of, making sure it is never forgotten. He picks, seemingly at random, a book titled "The Shadow of the Wind" by an unknown author named Julian Carax.

But problems arise when, as the years go by, it becomes apparent that someone wants to make sure that all of Carax's books are not just forgotten,...more
Madeline
"This is a place of mystery, Daniel, a sanctuary. Every book, every volume you see here, has a soul. The soul of the person who wrote it and of those who read it and lived and dreamed with it. Every time a book changes hands, every time someone runs his eyes down the pages, its spirit grows and strengthens. This place was already ancient when my father brought me here for the first time, many years ago. Perhaps as old as the city itself. Nobody knows for certain how long it has existed, or who c...more
Becky
I've had this book on my mountainous To-Read list for well over three years. It's not the longest that a book has been on the list, but it's up there, and I think it's a shame it took me this long to get to this book.

Because I really loved it. I thought it was gorgeously written, compelling, and intriguing, and it engrossed me almost from start to finish. I really enjoyed the characters, and man, would I have LOVED to read Julian Carax's books. They sound amazing.

*ahem* Mr. Ruiz Zafón? I hope...more
Tea Jovanović
I remember taking a Canadian edition with me to vacation in Dubai... And when we went to see Golden souk, instead of, like true female, enjoying all the displayed golden wonders, I found first bench and finished the book, while my family ohed and ahed over so much gold in one place...
one of the five best books I've read in last 10 years
Paul
Atmospheric is a good way to describe this; it’s a bit like an old black and white film noir with soft edges. The language was lovely and draws in the reader. Genre is difficult to pin down. It is set in Barcelona in the 1940s and 1950s; but there is a story within the story that goes back to the 1920s and 1930s. The backdrop is the civil war and the Franco regime. There is an element of historical novel, coming of age, mystery/detective, mystical, love stories, family drama and probably a few m...more
Charlene
I don't always read horror. I love to read classics and in my mind, this tale is a classic.

This is the first book in a series called The Cemetery of Forgotten Books. The story is set in Barcelona shortly after the Spanish Civil War. Written originally in Spanish, and translated by Lucia Graves, this tome has something for everyone.

A young Daniel visits the Cemetery of Forgotten Books with his father a few years after the loss of his mother. Throughout the halls and pathways that are the Cemeter...more
Lance Greenfield
A book within a book

There are so many layers, and levels, and intertwining stories within this book. The main story is begins in 1945 with a ten-year-old Barcelona boy, Daniel Sempere, being taken to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, by his bookseller father, to choose a book, which he must keep alive.

Daniel chooses The Shadow of the Wind by Julian Carax. The book and the mystery surrounding its author, who appears to have suffered his fate in a duel in Paris, soon infatuate him.

Against the backg...more
Cheryl
It was time to revisit the Cemetery of the Book, as the summer is perfect for a mystery, gothic and love stories, characters trying to find out who they are, a novel of novels set just after the Spanish Civil War. All describe THE SHADOW OF THE WIND.

It's the story of Daniel who is brought to the Cemetery of the Book by his father to choose a book that he will guard from extinction of memory. Carlos Ruiz Zafon's novel is bathed in the magical atmosphere of Barcelona with lights flickering on the...more
Michael
Barcelona, 1945; Spain is still dealing with the aftermaths of the Spanish Civil War. An antiquarian book dealer’s son, Daniel, who is mourning the recent loss of his mother, finds comfort in a book called The Shadow of the Wind by Julián Carax. When he decides to hunt down more books by this mysterious author, he is shocked to find someone is on a mission to destroy every copy of Carax’s books. It is possible that Daniel may in fact have the very last copy of a Julián Carax book.

I think I‘m in...more
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Carlos Ruiz Zafón is a Spanish novelist. Born in Barcelona in 1964, he has lived in Los Angeles, United States, since 1994, and works as a scriptwriter aside from writing novels.

His first novel, El príncipe de la niebla (The Prince of Mist, 1993), earned the Edebé literary prize for young adult fiction. He is also the author of three more young-adult novels, El palacio de la medianoche (1994), Las...more
More about Carlos Ruiz Zafón...
The Angel's Game (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, #2) The Prisoner of Heaven (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, #3) The Prince of Mist (Niebla, #1) Marina The Midnight Palace (Niebla, #2)

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“Books are mirrors: you only see in them what you already have inside you.” 3455 likes
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