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La sombra del viento

(El cementerio de los libros olvidados #1)

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  402,425 ratings  ·  31,263 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 encuentra La Sombra del Viento, 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. Ambientada en la enigmática Barcelona ...more
Paperback, 576 pages
Published February 3rd 2009 by Vintage Espanol (first published 2001)
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Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.26  · 
Rating details
 ·  402,425 ratings  ·  31,263 reviews


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Annalisa
Jul 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  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 entang
...more
Jamie
Jan 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Tanja (Tanychy) St. Delphi/James
Oct 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Daniel Teo
Jan 05, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, novels
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
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
Maxwell
Fourth reading: May 7-17, 2017
Of course I love this book soooo much. It's my all-time favorite. This is the 4th year in a row I've read it, and it never gets old. If you haven't already read this at my suggestion, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!

Third reading: May 14-21, 2016

Second reading: May 23-25, 2015-
Okay, I can confidently say, upon re-reading this, that it is one of my all-time favorite books. It was just as surprising and enchanting and delightful as the first time I read it, if not more so. The/>Second/>Third
...more
Mohammed Arabey
Mar 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Welcome to The Cemetery of the Forgotten Books
Choose one book. But be aware, you may get trapped into its pages, as The Shadow of the Wind

“As it unfolded, the structure of the story began to remind me of one of those Russian dolls that contain innumerable diminishing replicas of itself inside. Step by step the narrative split into a thousand stories, as if it had entered a gallery of mirrors, its identity fragmented into endless reflections.”
And for me, by the end..after these long pages and stories -with phases of some boredom-,after this long j-withWind
...more
jessica
Jan 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
riveting. mysterious. haunting. imaginative. charming. sentimental.

the list of adjectives is endless. and while this book was all of these, the one thing that i will forever remember about this book is how it made me appreciate the art of storytelling. i didnt feel like i was reading a novel; i felt as if someone very dear was sitting next to me and telling me their favourite tale. i was enamoured with the nuances of the language and swept up with all the action. it was an absolute p
...more
Simon
Jul 08, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mark Lawrence
Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a book about books, a story about stories. It starts and ends in a library of sorts, themes and plots are echoed across decades, tied together by actors who find their roles changing, and by a pen that links two cycles of the story and has its own tale that started before and goes on beyond.

"the art of reading is slowly dying, it's an intimate ritual, a book is a mirror that offers us only what we already carry inside us, when we read, we do it with all our heart and mind, an
...more
Matthew
This is an excellent piece of literature. It contains poetic storytelling, shocking twists, thoroughly developed characters, symbolism, humor, romance, betrayal, action, sentimentality, nostalgia, and much, much more.

For book lovers it is perfect because it revolves around the mysteries of a little known author (Julian Carax) that the main protagonist, Daniel, stumbles across in a secret stash of literature called the Cemetery of Forgotten books. From there it quickly develops into a fantastic
...more
❄️Nani❄️
Rereading the series in preparation for one of my most anticipated releases of the year, The Labyrinth of the Spirits.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~<><>~~~~~~~~~~

ALL THE STARS.
⭐ ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Welcome to The Cemetery of Forgotten Books.

** Hauntingly beautiful.

** Gothic & atmospheric.

** A book about the love of books.

what more could a reader ask for?

** And the best part? This book was never even on my radar until I heard someone t
...more
Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘


2/2.5 stars. Look, it's not my thing to mince my words, so I'll give you my opinion and ultimately, you'll decide what to make of it anyway : as far as I'm concerned, The Shadow of the Wind is overrated and, to say the truth, a bit of a smokescreen. Despite its obvious qualities, I have to admit that I'm a little baffled of its status given that all the flaws, if found in some random YA book, would be called out without any doubt.



Caricatures as characters, from Daniel the Romantic whose constant whining reminded me of some 1
...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 forgot
...more
Kevin Ansbro
"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."


In post-civil war Barcelona, ten-year-old birthday boy, Daniel Sempere is taken by his father to a top-secret, labyrinthine library called 'The Cemetery of Forgotten Books' and is asked to select whichever one of the dusty publications calls out to him from an exhaustive succession of shelves.
He chooses an obscure novel, The Shadow of the Wind written by
...more
Hannah Greendale
Jun 04, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gothic, audiobook
Sound the alarm! Unpopular opinion to follow! (Making this review a bit more personal than usual, because I can't slam a one-star review on this highly popular title without giving some explanation for my disappointment).

To put it simply: verbose and wearying. Zafón seems to have swallowed a thesaurus and proceeds to regurgitate synonyms with unrelenting force. In The Shadow of the Wind, a man does not simply urinate, he "discharge[s] his generous, steamy cascade."

The Shadow of the Wind is an ode to books that's not so"discharge[s]
...more
Warwick
Dec 20, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, barcelona, spain
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 se
...more
Kelly
May 31, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: gothic/Romantic lit freaks
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
Margitte
After finishing this book, I was totally blown away by the number of GR friends who already read it. It was really the greatest thrill.

At last, yes, at last! It was finito! What a read it was. Honestly, I thought it was never going to end, that the saga beginning in 1945, after the Civil War in Spain, was just too dragging and too detailed for my sensitive soul. Emotionally I shut down around the halfway mark, hanging onto the picturesque, descriptive prose for dear life, sensing a light at the end of
...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, and th
...more
Arah-Lynda
Jul 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: top, i-said


Here is one for those of us who absolutely adore great literature. It is almost as though The Shadow of the Wind was written for book lovers everywhere. An adrenaline laced, pulse pounding, suspense filled, dark and romantic, gothic adventure, peopled with brilliantly developed, colourful, charismatic and ultimately,unforgetable characters. It really should come with a warning as it will keep you reading late into the night and long after you should have put it down. Fantastic! A must read folks
...more
Peter
Jan 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Foreboding
“I still remember the day my father took me to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books for the first time. It was the early summer of 1945, … 'Daniel you mustn’t tell anyone what you’re about to see today’ my father warned.”
The wonderful opening line that sets the scene for an eerie and mysterious story waiting to unfold over the next 400 pages. A captivating foreboding story that changes the air around you as you read.

The tradition for those that are fortunate to visit the 'Cemetery of Forgotte/>
...more
Jordan
Mar 26, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Will Byrnes
Oct 07, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fun read, intriguing, fast-paced, with interesting and engaging characters.
Dem
Jun 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Shadow of the Wind is wonderfully atmospheric, descriptive and a totally compelling read.

Barcelona 1945 and the aftermath of the Spanish civil war. An antiquarian book dealers son called Daniel mourns the loss of his mother. His father takes him to the secret and mysterious cemetery of Forgotten books, Daniels choses a book called the Shadow of the Wind by Julian Carax and when he sets out to discover the authors other works, he makes a shocking discovery and here the story begins.
...more
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
*****VERY UNPOPULAR OPINION TIME*****

The majority of my friends love this book to death but I didn't. Some of my friends didn't love it so I don't feel so alone thank goodness.

I tried reading the paperback awhile back and put it down. Then I picked it up again and the beginning was so good. I thought we were going to go on some kind of crazy journey when I read about the cemetery of forgotten books. It just never went where I thought it might go.

I finally got the audio version on O
...more
Raeleen Lemay
DNF'd on page 221

In theory, I should have loved this book. Structurally and plot-wise it reads sort of like a Spanish version of The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, but I just didn't connect with this story or the writing. Since I was still curious to see how the book ends, I read the plot summary on Wikipedia (I know, I'm terrible) and after doing that I'm glad I decided to stop reading. The book certainly goes in a direction that I didn't see coming, but I don't think it would be worth slogging through an
...more
Amy | shoutame
Apr 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, adult
Where do I begin? This is by far my favourite book of the year so far and I have already bought the second in the series so I can quench my obsession with Carlos Ruiz Zafon's gorgeous writing.

The story begins in Barcelona just after the Spanish Civil War, a young boy named Daniel lives alone with his Father and helps run the family bookshop. One day Daniel's Father takes him to a place knows as 'The Cemetery of Forgotten Books' - a labyrinthine place completely packed with beautiful
...more
Mutasim Billah
Aug 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, spain
“Few things leave a deeper mark on the reader, than the first book that finds its way to his heart.”

Barcelona, 1945. Daniel Sempere comes across a book on his eleventh birthday. Upon reading the novel, Daniel is so intrigued by the beauty of this "forgotten" book that he goes about on a search for any other works of the same author: a mysterious character called Julián Carax. It is then that he discovers that Carax's books have been fast disappearing from the face of the earth, as if someone w
...more
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17,172 followers
Carlos Ruiz Zafón is a Spanish novelist. Born in Barcelona in 1964, he has lived in Los Ángeles, 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 luces de septiembre (1(The
...more

Other books in the series

El cementerio de los libros olvidados (4 books)
  • The Angel's Game (El cementerio de los libros olvidados #2)
  • The Prisoner of Heaven (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, #3)
  • El laberinto de los espíritus (El cementerio de los libros olvidados, #4)
“Books are mirrors: you only see in them what you already have inside you.” 6196 likes
“Fools talk, cowards are silent, wise men listen.” 3360 likes
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