First, let me say this book is ridiculously hard to summarize. It required a little more time and attention than most other fiction I have read, mainl...moreFirst, let me say this book is ridiculously hard to summarize. It required a little more time and attention than most other fiction I have read, mainly because it is the sort of mystery in which tiny details are given throughout, and most of them play an important part in piecing everything together by the end of the book. The story is told in layers and each is interdependent on other layers.
The novel is the story of Daniel Sempere, who at age 10 is taken by his father, a Barcelona bookseller, to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books. While there he chooses a book called "The Shadow of the Wind" by Julian Carax. He is so enthralled by the novel that as he enters adulthood he sets out to find every book Carax has written, but encounters an obstacle. 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.Every copy of every book the author has written is being tracked down and burned by a disfigured man who bears a striking resemblance to a character in Carax's novel and even carries his name. Daniel's quest to save the remaining copies is intertwined with the story of Barcelona and its recovery from the Spanish Civil War. But "The Shadow of the Wind" is much more than a literary mystery. It is a gothic tale, filled with action, romance, mystery and, of course, books.
When I say that it's a mystery, I don't mean it in the traditional "whodunit" sense of the word. The mystery is not just about solving a murder, but about reconstructing the story of a life. This book is a complex tale composed of stories within stories. Throughout the book the reader finds out bits and pieces of the mystery of Julian Carax; who he was and how his life affected those around him. Those facts are not always given in sequence, however, and so there is a lot for the reader to speculate on and guess at while reading.
The characters in this novel are outstandingly portrayed. The surrounding cast each have their own personal history and even some quirks, but they come across as genuine and interesting. In particular, the character of Fermin Romero de Torres was humorous and wise. There are so many instances in this book where you want to underline a line or two of Fermin's dialog in order to refer back to it because you realize the true pearls of wisdom in what he says.
"Destiny is usually just around the corner. Like a thief, a hooker, or a lottery vendor: its three most common personifications. But what destiny does not do is home visits. You have to go for it." - Fermin Romero De Torres
The Shadow of the Wind’ is a novel that offers entertainment, amusement, intelligence and good writing. It has become on of my favorites and I would highly recommend it to everyone. (less)
Okay, I have said for a very long time I would never read this series of books. I thought it too cheesy and way over hyped. So here is what I have dec...moreOkay, I have said for a very long time I would never read this series of books. I thought it too cheesy and way over hyped. So here is what I have decided:
Is it well written? - Not even close. How many times does a reader need to know that a boy is good looking? According to Stephanie Meyer 348 times. How many ways can you describe a crooked smile? According to Stephanie Meyer, just one way should suffice.
Were the characters well developed? - Beyond knowing that Bella is clumsy and Edward is Adonis like in appearance, we learn little else about the people. Perhaps it can be said that will be developed in the next book, but that is cheating.
Did the book make me feel anything? - Yes. It made me feel like tossing it against the wall and yelling "NO! Not again! I already know Edward is good looking"
The teen angst was over done. The fact that up until the arrival of Bella from Phoenix, no one in the town of Forks (as in pitch) had a clue that Edward and his clan were anything more than eccentric is absurd.
So how do I really feel about this book? Well, the best way I can describe it is to say it is like pork rinds. Not terribly good, but addictive. So, with that being said. I'll be reading the next one.
And one more thing. I wish this application would allow us to give a 1/2 star. 3 stars is not really good enough, but 4 stars are too many. (less)