[Note - This review will not contain names of any of the characters, because I don't trust myself to not reveal the plot of the story, and I want anyone who reads this review to actually read this book]
A tale of passionate love, till the end of time friendship, ruthless hatred and extreme sorrow, the words in Shadow of the Wind wove a beautiful world of the early nineties in my mind in Barcelona.
What entirely captured my attention in the first few pages and let me read the first 20% of the book was the Cemetery of Forgotten Books. The concept. The place. Its description. How little Daniel feels as he enters it. His transformation as he reads. This is what kept me going, and am glad I did.
I can call this a love story and go on to talk about the love friends feel for each other, or what a father feels for his offspring, or what a boy will feel for a girl and how passionate each of these facets of love are, in this book.
I can also call it an almost-horror story, with its deep dark details of haunted mansions and old legends, and the chill in the spine these create as you are reading them.
But then what will I do about the mystery part of this book? Well, this is very much a mystery, thriller kind of a novel as it is a love story or a horror story.
I had not felt these many emotions while reading a single book ever, and I have to thank Zafon and Lucia Graves, the translator for not letting the essence of the book dilute.
I, now have a beautiful image of the little bookstore, the Aldaya mansion, the hospices, and the rest of the casas and the plazas. I also have an image of an entire set of amazingly-woven characters, all cursed because of their own accord and the way they dealt with their lives.
I cannot ever forget how I felt as I went on to discover each of these characters and what emotion each of them evoked in me. Deep hatred towards the main villain in the story, pity at the plight of some characters, anger at how some others have shaped their own lives, and hope that things could be alright for some others.
I went through spurts of giggles, smiles, deep pain, sorrow , fear and pity all in the duration of reading this book.
Am not a fan of epilogues, on the contrary, I hate them. Most often than not , the epilogues I have read have shattered the beautiful world the book created in my imagination and have brought me back to the earth with a loud thud.
But the last few pages of this book, well, they have made me heave a sigh of relief. I felt for each of the characters, and was glad the things turned out the way they did for them all. Every one of them.
If you are looking to read a brilliant, even-paced, love-horror-mystery story, then you should pick up this book.
If you want to understand how the Spanish lived during or after their Civil war, how affected they were because of it, and the different ways the Spanish people feel about their friends, daughters, and sons, you should read this book.
If you want to challenge yourself and see how many emotions you can feel when you read a book, pick up this one.
Even as I am typing this, I am still coming to terms with the deep sorrow I felt while reading this book, just a while ago. The words 'There are prisons worse than words’ are ringing in my head, and the feeling associated is refusing to go.
In short, just read this book. Please, will you? :)
Just to remember how I felt as I was reading the book, this is the reading progress I recorded in GoodReads.