Paperback, 524 Pages
Adult/ Historical Fiction/ Mystery
By: Carlos Ruiz Zafón, Lucia Graves (Translator)
“Books are mirrors: you only see in them what you already have inside you.”
The general rule still stand true: Whenever I keep putting off reading a book it ends up as one of my favorites. I bought this one almost two years ago and just kept waiting for the right time to read it and I suddenly found myself wanting to read it and it ended up as a new favorite. To you an idea about how much I enjoyed this one I bought the rest of the series immediately after finishing the book!
It’s a tricky book because I always thought it involved some fantasy elements but it is not exactly that. It is more of a mystery novel in a historical fiction sitting. It is a book about books but also about an interconnecting bunch of characters and it is one of the smartest books I read so far.
“A story is a letter that the author writes to himself, to tell himself things that he would be unable to discover otherwise.”
The story starts with charming world-building taking us into Barcelona and to a secret place called The Cemetery of Lost Books. From there our protagonist Daniel finds that his life gets so much more complicated suddenly and is trying to solve the mystery of Julian Carax and his death and things get intense.
The story is told through many years and we see Daniel growing up from a boy to a young man and along the way many characters are added gradually and each character adds up something new to the story (Both the one that we are reading and that of Julian Carax). Fermín Romero de Torres joins the story soon and I loved his character so much that I hope to get more out of him in the next books. Each and every character were unique in their own way and they all felt like real people to me and that is the best kind of characterization.
The writing is great because it has that flowery prose that is done to the right degree and I think much of the credit goes to the translator too who I believe could captivate the essence of the story with this translation and still made the voice of the story unique to Zafon. There is a lot of humor and a lot of community criticism too. The characters may be sexist and there is a lot of fixation on the female bodies that is quite realistic for that period of time so it did not really bother me.
“People tend to complicate their own lives, as if living weren’t already complicated enough.”
The story itself is greatly narrated through many characters and I thought it was brilliant seeing it getting bigger and clearer with each and every time it was told until the truth was revealed. For that reason it was not easy to predict and I only saw the big reveal a few pages prior to the revelation and I appreciate this kind of unpredictability as it means I was just immersed in the story and enjoying it without overthinking about it too much.
Summary: Brilliant story combining great writing, unforgettable characters and very smart story telling that made it an instant favorite. I know this is a book I will be recommending more and more from now on and as I said above, I already bought the rest of the series and hope it is as good as this one.
5* !! I’ve been recommended this book for my “12 books 12 friends” challenge and I’m so ecstatic to finally start reading it!
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Wasn’t I the one who recommended it? I don’t remember well.
From my Instagram story? Nope.
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