Book Review: The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

November 22, 2010


The Shadow of the Wind” by Carlos Ruiz Zafón is a 2001 fictional story and a worldwide best seller. The book follows a young boy named Daniel and has possibly one of the best literary inventions of the decade the “Cemetery of Forgotten Books“.

  • 487 pages
  • Publisher : Penguin Books
  • Language: : English
  • ISBN-10 : 0143034901

My rating for The Shadow of the Wind –5
A Worldwide Best Seller & you don’t have it – Buy it here!*
More Books by Carlos Ruiz Zafón*


I love books about books and this biblio-adventure is no different.

Reading “Shadow of the Wind” and couldn’t put it down, even though Goth is not my genre. The story is well rounded, combining politics, romance, horror and fantastic wit into a skillful narrative. Even though the plot twists are by no means surprising the overall effect is immense. Everything about this book is smooth, the language, prose, and twists leisurely unravel at a slower pace than one expects a book of such size to be.

This is a superbly entertaining book, yet highly sophisticated. Zafón is a master at spinning this complex yarn using Barcelona as a setting for night time pursuits and dark melodrama.

My compliments to the translator Lucia Graves who, I believe, kept the story true and the jokes funny


The book takes place in Barcelona before the Spanish Civil War. Our hero, Daniel, is taken by his father to a secret place called the “Cemetery of Forgotten Books” (as a book lover, this opening immediately got my attention). The “Cemetery” is a huge library of old books that no-one remembers run convincingly by a select few. The tradition is that everyone who get initiated is allowed to take one book and must do everything they can to protect it. Daniel selects a forgotten book called “The Shadow of the Wind” by an unknown author named Julian Carax. After he finishes reading the book he starts looking for other books by this author. During his search he comes across a man named Lain Coubert – which in the book is the Devil. Mr. Coubert has been buying Carax’s books for many years only to set them on fire.

There is much more to this book, interwoven stories about love gained, love lost success, and failures all somehow tied to the dead or alive Carax.

The “Cemetery of Forgotten Books” – You Got to Love That – Buy it here*
More Books by Carlos Ruiz Zafón*

Zohar — Man of la Book
Dis­claimer: I bought this book
*Ama­zon links point to an affil­i­ate account, the money is usually spent on books

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Wrap Up

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón


  • mummazappaNovember 19, 2010 at 1:05 am

    I loved this book, the cemetery of forgotten books, the gothic tones, the forbidden love, the whole thing! I was really disapointed with the Angel’s Game sadly.

    • zoharNovember 19, 2010 at 9:14 am

      Really? I thought The Angel’s Game was very good as well. I’m looking forward to your comments on my upcoming review of the book (I love to hear people disagree with me).

  • YiotaNovember 19, 2010 at 8:27 am

    I’ve read this one some years back. I remember that i did a week to read only the first half of the book and then bam! i finished the rest in one night!
    It’s really great!

    • zoharNovember 19, 2010 at 9:13 am

      I read this book a few years ago as well, I’m playing catch-up with my reviews.

  • AnnieNovember 23, 2010 at 9:20 am

    I am a huge fan of Carlos Ruiz Zafon. I read The Angel’s Game last year and absolutely loved it! I just finished The Shadow of the Wind and was completely blown away! I couldn’t put this incredible book down. Wow! The Shadow of the Wind is now in the ranks of one of my all time favorites! Great review!

    • zoharNovember 23, 2010 at 10:17 am

      Hi Annie, this was the first book I read by Zafon and became a lifetime fan.

  • Carolina [WritnBlock]November 24, 2010 at 5:57 pm

    Hi Zohar,

    I have to admit that I haven’t read this book or the previous one, but by the sounds of your review and the comments above I must say that I am intensely intrigued!
    This one is definitely going on my TBR list!!


    • zoharNovember 24, 2010 at 8:40 pm

      Hi Carolina,

      Both this book and The Angel’s Game are very good (even though I agree with the consensus that The Shadow of the Wind is better). They both take place in Barcelona and have some recurring themes and a character or two, but they are both independent stories.

  • Beth FNovember 25, 2010 at 8:01 am

    I listened to the audio of this book a long while ago. I loved it! I still haven’t gotten to Angel’s Game.

    • zoharNovember 26, 2010 at 10:24 am

      I found The Angel’s Game a bit more Goth, but still a great read as well.

  • Stephanie @ Read in a Single SittingNovember 25, 2010 at 7:28 pm

    I must be the only person in the world who hasn’t read this book. I do have a copy, though, and will get to it in the next few months. 🙂

    • zoharNovember 26, 2010 at 10:23 am

      LOL, there is a reason, it’s a great book.

  • TriciaNovember 27, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    I read The Shadow of the Wind a while ago and was pretty underwhelmed – I think my expectations were too high.

    • zoharNovember 27, 2010 at 11:48 pm

      Tricia, different opinions are what makes this world great and our book blogs interesting.

  • iubookgirlNovember 29, 2010 at 4:44 pm

    Hmm, sounds interesting. I love books about books too, so I’ll have to add this to the TBR list!

  • WDecember 31, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    You know, I picked up this book several times when I was at the bookstore. I read the first couple of pages (up until he was told to keep Julian Carax’s, I think) but I never ended up getting it. Can you tell me more about it? Especially the parts where you said the plot twists aren’t surprising, or the night time pursuits and dark melodrama. I’m debating whether I should have a go at it even though it didn’t draw me in the first time.

    • zoharJanuary 1, 2011 at 12:35 am

      I don’t want to give too much away but the book certainly has a goth feel to it and kind of eerie (yet I found some part hilarious). The twists come and go but I think they are not important as the mood of the book and the storyline itself. I think you should pick it up (your library should have it), I don’t think I read any bad reviews of this book so that should say something.

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