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3.75  ·  Rating details ·  18,593 ratings  ·  1,549 reviews
A swashbuckling adventure story that reveals for the first time how Diego de la Vega became the masked man we all know so well Born in southern California late in the eighteenth century, Diego de la Vega is a child of two worlds. His father is an aristocratic Spanish military man turned landowner; his mother, a Shoshone warrior. At the age of sixteen, Diego is sent to Spai ...more
Paperback, Large Print, 677 pages
Published May 3rd 2005 by HarperLargePrint
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3.75  · 
Rating details
 ·  18,593 ratings  ·  1,549 reviews

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Ivana Books Are Magic
Is it fair to give only 3 stars to such an exceptionally talented writer as Allende? In my defense, I have to say that my judgement only applies to this particular novel. Otherwise, I am very much a fan of her work and in my eyes she will always be five star writer. As you might guess by my marking, this is my least favourite novel by Isabel Allende.

I'll get straight to the point. It just doesn't seem to flow as effortlessly and naturally as her other novels. I'm assuming that it is because her
Riku Sayuj
Feb 04, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: r-r-rs, translated

When Magical Realism Met Superheroes

Talk about an origin story.

If it were not for being Zorro’s story, this would be considered quite classy literature. Maybe it still is? I am not familiar with the critical reception.

It is finely detailed and expertly constructed, weaving history and legend seamlessly. Allende almost pulls it off, but the awareness of the ending seeps into the rest of the book, spoiling all the better moments. It might be an unavoidable thing and Allende deserves praise not bl
Suzie Quint
Apr 06, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf
I have been "reading" this book for almost a year and I'm still only halfway through it so the likelihood that I'm going to finish it are diminishing by the moment.

I love the idea of this book. The story of Zorro from his childhood? Wow, what's not to like? Except the story is "told" rather than "shown." There are paragraphs that take up full pages (in a *trade* paperback no less) and pages and pages between bits of dialog. This is ungodly slow reading. How anyone can take a swashbuckling hero l
Aug 14, 2010 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no one
Shelves: 2010-reads
It takes a certain kind of skill to write a boring book about a character like Zorro, and apparently, Isabel Allende possesses such. It also takes a certain brashness to pronounce your protagonist as "fun" in the first paragraph--and several times following that--and then fail to produce any real evidence of it.

I was excited about the prospect of this book--a great pulp hero like Zorro in the hands of someone with Allende's lit cred? It'd have to be great, right?

It took maybe 20-30 pages to disa
Mario Espinosa
Jan 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Este libro no trata sobre una aventura de El Zorro, si no de los orígenes de este mito. Así nos enteramos de la razón por la que el protagonista elige un zorro y no un perro o un león. De quién le enseña esgrima, de las luchas contra los indios de su padre, un soldado español, y de un montón de aventuras mezcladas con el increíble realismo mágico en el que tan bien se maneja Isabel Allende. Que una autora consagrada se atreva con un personaje tan conocido me parece muy valiente. Imaginaos si Pér ...more
(review in English below)

Uma boa história, com um sólido enquadramento histórico, que decorre na Califórnia (ainda espanhola) e em Barcelona, no princípio do século XIX.

Achei a narrativa demasiado descritiva (no sentido em que os acontecimentos são-nos contados duma forma distanciada, sem emoção) e acabei por só me entusiasmar a partir do meio do livro. Não gostei da forma como o narrador se dirige directamente ao leitor nem me fez grande sentido quando se descobre quem é. Acho que talvez tivess
Great backstory for the adult Zorro, aka Don Diego de la Vega, whose adventures were spun out in serial form by McCulley from the 20's to the 40's. Allende renders a compelling saga at the turn of the 18th century with vivid characters from many walks of life and cultures. We get a believable vision of how an upbringing could instill the necessary balance of compassion, crafty duality, and gueriilla warfare skills that imbue the intrepid hero of the downtrodden. She takes you on a fun ride in cl ...more
Jul 04, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016
Having grown up watching the tv series, it was with pleasure that I started this novel. Add to this that it was written by Isabel Allende, and my expectations soared.

Zorro is really an 'Origins' story, recounting how the masked crusader came to be, piecing together all the key elements, from the circumstances of Diego's birth to his embodying the myth. 
The author used a big cast, with many interesting characters, and a wealth of settings, each vast, colourful and intricate. Historical details ab
Feb 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Arrivava un momento, a casa mia, quando ero più piccola, in cui bastava che andasse in onda una sigla televisiva per far sì che sulla cucina scendesse un’aura di sacertà senza eguali, era il momento in cui un cavallo nero impennava all’orizzonte e la sigla televisiva faceva così “Zorro, Zorro, ha una vita segreta; Zorro, Zorro il segno suo è la zeta”. Per quante volte avessimo già visto le trite e ritrite puntate, l’eroe mascherato di nero continuava ad avere su di noi, figlie, l’effetto che ave ...more
What is it about Zorro? Back when the Disney channel was watchable by people over age 16, they showed the Guy Williams Zorro, the ones in black and white. The show is far older than I am, but it's still cool. There was also the Zorro series on the Family Channel (what is now ABC Family). That series was good, far better than the Black Stallion series on the same channel. And who can forget Antonio and Catherine?

Zorro is the American version of Robin Hood. He works in California before the Americ
Jan 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I LOVED this book. Granted, I think Isabel Allende is one of the best authors I have ever read but despite my bias this was still a really good book! I love the story of Zorro to begin with but Isabel Allende writes it from the point when Zorro's parents meet and then how he is born and becomes Zorro. It is great historical fiction and I have always liked how Allende uses magic realism in her writing. The book gives insight into the California Mission system, as well as interesting information a ...more
Luís C.
An exciting version of youth and adventures of Zorro the masked avenger.
We do not mind a moment in this story that gives pride to the secondary characters, male and female.
Youth in Spain brings an interesting light on the profile of this legendary character.
A good reading moment...
Sep 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Zorro's early years! This novel begins in 1790 in Spanish controlled California and hits highlights of Panama, Spain, and New Orleans as Diego is shaped into the Zorro that we all know and love.

Apparently some reviews felt that there was a lack of swashbuckling (there wasn't), which surprised me because I thought this focused more on the Native American origins of this particular character. I said "Swashbuckling Native Americans?" because that seemed like an odd expectation to me. But this actu
فهد الفهد
الكتابة الجادة عن بطل تحتاج إلى شجاعة حقيقية، هي مغامرة، قبلتها (إيزابيل الليندي) كما نرى، بكل الشغف الذي يميز كتاباتها، فأولا ً تحتاج صناعة البطل الأدبي، إلى خلق الظروف التي يوجد فيها، خلقا ً لا يجعل صورته ساذجة، وهذه المهمة تصبح أكثر صعوبة عندما يكون البطل موجودا ً، لأن علينا عندها تحريره من ركام الكتابات السابقة التي ربما شوهت صورته، وأضافت لها الكثير من الخيال الذي أفقدها واقعيتها، وزورو من هذه الشخصيات التي كتب عنها الكثير منذ اختلقها (جونسون مكولي) سنة 1919 م بروايته (لعنة كابسترانو)، وصنع ...more
Jan 22, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 20-16, library
tarp ispanijos ir kalifornijos

Reikia pripažinti, kad iš pirmo žvilgsnio Zoro pavadinime kiek atbaido, o dar ta jaunystė lietuviškame jo vertime ne juokais kuria fan-fiction iliuziją. Bet nors vietomis toks jausmas ir aplanko (nepaisant fakto, kad su visa Zoro mitologija net nesu itin susipažinusi), iš tiesų tai eilinė magiškų detalių kupina ir pietų karščiu alsuojanti istorija apie jauną vaikiną, stipriai išgyvenantį dėl neteisybės ir bandantį ekstremalioms situacijoms užklupus su tuo kovoti. Bū
Alina Cătărău
„Eroismul este o ocupație prost plătită, care adesea duce la un sfârșit prematur, de aceea atrage atâția fanatici și persoane cu o fascinație maladivă pentru moarte. Există foarte puțini eroi cu inimă romantică și sânge iute. S-o spunem de-a dreptul: ca Zorro nu e nimeni.”

Sunt numeroși autori cunoscuți pe care vreau neapărat să-i citesc, însă contează foarte mult prima carte aleasă, fiindcă impresia pe care ți-o lasă poate avea un rol decisiv asupra lecturilor tale următoare. Mai exact, dacă pri
J Jahir
Dec 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars.

ni siquiera pude hacer un status update desde que marqué el libro, ya que me lo comí prácticamente. desde que lo marqué sólo dije que lo había empezado pero no hubo retazos de impresiones conforme leía, tal como con el resto de libros.
ahora ya lo he concluido, ¡uno más! Y debo decir que me gustó la historia, aunque debo admitir que al principio me estaba confundiendo un poco, y tuve que releer la parte inicial porque eran demasiados personajes y contaba mucho en pocas páginas, pero con
Ale Rivero
Mar 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Siempre me ha encantado El Zorro, así que la idea de Allende de contarnos su origen, me encanta.
La creación y evolución de los personajes es suave, ya que vamos leyendo y luego de pasar determinados hechos nos damos cuenta del desarrollo que se ha obrado. Es obvio que mi personaje favorito es Diego, pero Isabel le pisa los talones.
El tipo de narrador, testigo, hace que nos sintamos dentro de la historia y podamos ver las cosas desde adentro. Y también es interesante descubrir quién nos narra la
Feb 04, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: forest_2016
A wonderful imaging of Zorro's early life. A nice blend of legend and history.
I was looking for a clever retelling of this fictional American homegrown hero, something with an interesting feminine twist. What I got was indeed a retelling, but not as clever or interesting as I had hoped.

This is a "tale of origin" explaining how Zorro became the masked avenger. He is born Diego de la Vega, son of a Spanish hidalgo and a fierce Shoshone she-warrior. Apparently, the author took great pains to research this book. Kudos. Despite all the research, there seemed to be something a
Nov 14, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is a tough review to write. Why? Because this was the first book I've read this year that I was disappointed with.
Zorro is written by Isabel Allende, who is apparently a successful writer from Latin America. But frankly, I just don't think this was all that good. I expected more of a swashbuckling, action-packed story. Instead, the story focuses a lot on Diego de la Vega, whose alter-ego is Zorro, growing up in California and Spain. Zorro doesn't make his first appearance until something li
Linda Puente
If I could give this book 10 stars I would. I read it in Spanish on the recommendation of several of the people in my Spanish conversation group. Over the following year I read the entire book through at least 3 times, and some sections 5 or 6 times, and I don't reread books. I introduced it to a group of students and kids who hadn't wanted to read anything before were suddenly competing to read aloud. This book has so much action, so much history. It's kind of like The Count of Monte Cristo or ...more
Jun 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
رواية تسحرك وتدخلك على عالم الأساطير وحياة الهود الحمر في كاليفورنيا عندما بدأ الأسبان وسكان أمريكا الجنوبية ينزحون إليها ، ويعمرونها ويغيرون وجهها ، ونظام الحياة فيها والنظام الاجتماعي والاقتصادي بها ، وتتنقل بك عبر عدة محطات لحياة البطل زورو ،
أشعر أني كي أكتب عنها لا بد وأن أعيد قرائتها مرة أخرى ، لأنها طويلة وضخمة وممتدة عبر حقبة زمنية أكثر من خمسين عاما حدثت خلالها تحولات تاريخية وأحداث سياسية وثورات أعادت تشكيل خريطة ليس أسبانيا وفرنسا فقط بل أوروبا كلها بسبب حملات نابوليون وانتصاراته وانت
Sep 12, 2008 rated it liked it
I found this an interesting and entertaining book, though not necessarily a good one.

Is it possible to Mary Sue a male character? What would that be called? Because, yeah, we all know Zorro has to kick all sorts of figurative and literal ass, but apparently his only flaw is that his ears stick out, being the real reason for wearing the mask.

Allende's book is not so much a typical Zorro adventure, such as we are used to seeing in movies and on television. It's really more the story of the creatin
Jul 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was the Branigan BookClub selection for November 2005.

Reading ZORRO confirms Allende's well deserved reputation as a brilliant, passionate story teller. She takes the legend of the masked man and fleshes it out into a fullblown historical novel with a depth and sweeping panorama fully the equal of the greatest epics of world literature. This is the work of an unquestioned master of story telling at the top of her form. There is not one false note, not one flawed plot line in the entire work
JoAnne Pulcino
Nov 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing

Isabel Allende

Zorro is a captivating retelling of the Zorro legend by an author so adept at mixing history and reality this becomes a sensational look at a swashbuckling hero.

Diego de la Vega grows up in California, raised beside his wet nurses’ son, Bernardo. Despite the class differences they become “milk brothers” for life. Diego’s sense of justice and identification with the underdog has its roots in their friendship and his outrage over the exploited natives. Sent to Spain to go to sch
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
"Heroism is a badly remunerated occupation, and often it leads to an early end, which is why it appeals to fanatics or persons with an unhealthy fascination with death."

I found the early part of this book decidedly more fascinating than the last half or so. As I recall, the book sort of lost its way as it progressed, whereas the beginning was riveting. But as a whole it's another excellent piece of Isabel Allende's fiction. It was particularly interesting to me to read about early California an
Jan 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I fell in love with Isabella Allende's writing when I read Daughter of Fortune. I was not disappointed with Zorro. Allende is a dynamic diva of story telling.
Allende's Zorro begins in California with how his Spanish father met his Indian mother. His evolution into Zorro, and the beginning of his legendary fight for injustices takes him to Spain, to Jean Lafitte's legendary Barataria and back to California.
I usually prefer to read books with female protagonists but since Allende wrote Zorro, I th
Julio Vm
Dec 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recuerdo cuando aún no había leído nada de Allende, me puse a indagar entre su bibliografía, y este fue uno de los primeros libros que me entró por el ojo. Muchas reseñas decían cosas como que era de corte juvenil o que no es de sus mejores libros... Me desanimé. Y empecé por otro: La isla bajo el mar. Fue una verdadera explosión, y Allende se convirtió automáticamente (a pesar de mi "alergia" por autores muy conocidos) en una de mis grandes favoritas.
Tiempo después, decidí dar, finalmente, una
Apr 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Susie by: Bibliotheek De Panne
★★★★☆ - Really liked

Well, so here we are friends! Amigos!

OK, I will stop there before I get carried away. Ahem.

So, for the astute amongst you, you should have already realised that this is not the tale of Zorro that the films were based off of (look for The Mark of Zorro for that), but a different tale also based on the legend, but this covering how the legend began.

I have watched the first of the films with Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta Jones more than once (although I haven’t yet seen
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Isabel Allende Llona is a Chilean-American novelist. Allende, who writes in the "magic realism" tradition, is considered one of the first successful women novelists in Latin America. She has written novels based in part on her own experiences, often focusing on the experiences of women, weaving myth and realism together. She has lectured and done extensive book tours and has taught literature at s ...more
“He realized...that the loudest are the least sincere, that arrogance is a quality of the ignorant, and that flatterers tend to be vicious. ” 57 likes
“Do you truly believe that life is fair, Senor de la Vega?
-No, maestro, but I plan to do everything in my power to make it so.”
More quotes…