James's Reviews > El prisionero del cielo

El prisionero del cielo by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
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M 50x66
's review
Apr 15, 2012

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This is definitely a book for fans of the series only: it would not be recommended to be read as a stand-alone book, in the way that Shadow of the Wind and Angel's Game could be.

The majority of El Prisionero del Cielo can be described as "plot dump", as Fermin tells Daniel about his experience in prison, where he met and befriended David Martin and came to know of the events that lead to Daniel's mother's death. In the remainder of the book, Daniel digests this information and debates what to do, if anything, in response to it. Sadly, the book is very short and it ends just as Daniel might be about to take action - nothing significant, in the grand scheme of things, actually happens in Prisionero del Cielo, apart from Daniel learning about past events.

Zafon fails to bring the city of Barcelona to life in the same way as in the previous books - or rather, he does not even attempt to do this, focusing on straightforward narrative and exposition. The tension of the previous books is missing here, rendering this third book undeniably inferior.

One particular issue that left me unsatisfied in Angel's Game was Martin's (alleged) intense, undying love for Cristina. I never truly believed in this love and now in the latest book there is not a single mention of Cristina or of her death - in fact, we are told that David Martin's only purpose was to avenge Isabella's death. A new villain, Mauricio Valls, is introduced in Prisoniero del Cielo, while any questions that readers might have about the mysterious Andreas Corelli after reading Angel's Game remain largely unanswered. Furthermore, at this stage it is difficult to reconcile the strange epilogue to that book with the events of Prisionero del Cielo.

I just feel that Zafon has left himself with a very difficult task in the fourth (and presumably final) book, to give a complete, coherent and convincing conclusion to the saga, and i hope that readers will not be left disappointed.

The saving grace of this book, however, is the witty brilliance of the character Fermin, who will be fondly remembered by readers of Shadow of the Wind and who takes centre stage in this book, making it an enjoyable read despite its flaws.
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