by Daniëlle Blox
More books than you could ever imagine, on endless, old, dusty bookshelves. A true labyrinth that, once you are inside, it is difficult to know just how to get out again. I welcome you to the world of Carloz Ruiz Zafón, and his book the Shadow of the Wind.
Meet Daniel Sempere: a young boy who has lost his mother, and who realises one day that he could no longer remember her face. His father decides to take him to the cemetery of forgotten books, where books which no longer have an owner are lost, forgotten and deserted. Upon arrival, his father tells him to pick a book, and Daniel selects one called ‘the Shadow of the Wind’ written by Julian Carax. After reading the book over and over again, he finds his life shifting like he never imagined. The book astonishingly begins to tell the story of his own life. He becomes consumed with finding the writer of his beloved book, and the more he gets to know, secrets pop up which risk Daniel’s own safety.
Daniel is a lonely, curious boy with few friends. He lives with his father in Barcelona; they own a bookstore where Daniel spends lots of his time. He is a caring, inquisitive child, shown especially when he helps the wanderer Fermin Romero de Torres, a former prisoner, to get a job at his father’s bookstore and his life back. Daniel and Fermin become close friends, and Fermin helps him to find more information about the mysterious Julian Carax. As they fight the bad guys, who are trying to kill the surprisingly still alive Julian Carax, a true friendship between the two characters grow.
Right from the start, Zafón catches the reader’s attention with his intriguing passages and detailed descriptions of the protagonists. The writer takes you to Barcelona, a place close to his heart, in the year 1945. As you read, it almost feels as if the city has become your own, like you were there, living it. Despite some scenes being rather unrealistic (with each advancing moment of the tale conveniently fitting with the last) there is an excitement nonetheless. An eagerness takes over you and you become absorbed in the world Zafón has created.
This is definitely not a novel where you can just read one chapter before you go to bed. The mysterious story which unfolds will definitely have you guessing right up to the end. It will keep you awake at night, with asking yourself the question: how will this end? The Shadow of the Wind is the first book of Zafón’s unfinished series on Daniel Sempere and the mystery on Julian Carax: a mystifying collection of books which answer this question in ways you will never forget.