Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s novel The Shadow of the Wind begins with a trip to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, a vast, labyrinthine repository for books of all kinds. Daniel Sempere’s father, a bookseller, cautions his son that he must never speak of what he sees to anyone—it’s a great secret. Ten-year-old Daniel is allowed to choose a book for his very own, to be its protector and champion and rescue it from obscurity. A mysterious book called The Shadow of the Wind by Julian Carax catches his eye. He devours the book, but when he tries to find more books by Carax, he discovers that someone has mysteriously been burning all of Carax’s works, and his copy of The Shadow of the Wind is one of the rarest books he will ever encounter. One day, Daniel is confronted by a man calling himself Lain Coubert, the devil in The Shadow of the Wind—the man who has been attempting to obliterate Carax’s works from the literary landscape. Daniel feels compelled to learn more about Carax. As Daniel grows, his life begins to eerily mimic events in Carax’s life.
The novel is an excellent mystery involving the obsession with reading and with true love. Jonathan Davis’s reading is superb. If he is not a native Spanish speaker, he certainly sounds like one. The audio book kept me riveted. I looked forward to my commutes so that I could listen to the story unfold. If I have one complaint, it is that the audio version employs mood music. On the one hand, the music was a cue to listen carefully as something very important would be happening, but it needed to be modulated differently—sometimes I strained to hear Davis over the music. As with any audio book, it is hard to go back and easily re-read portions, which is something I really wanted to do as I listened to this book. The story itself can be somewhat hard to follow—it takes twists and turns. However, Zafón brought the streets of Barcelona alive. Anyone who loves books should enjoy The Shadow of the Wind.
I read this book as part of the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge and the Gothic Reading Challenge. I am making steady progress in both challenges. I have six more books to complete the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge and fourteen more books for the Gothic Reading Challenge. Yeah, I bit off more than I could chew with that one.