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REVIEW: The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

SYNOPSIS: Barcelona, 1945: A city slowly heals in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, and Daniel, an antiquarian book dealer’s son who mourns the loss of his mother, finds solace in a mysterious book entitled The Shadow of the Wind, by one Julián Carax. But when he sets out to find the author’s other works, he makes a shocking discovery: someone has been systematically destroying every copy of every book Carax has written. In fact, Daniel may have the last of Carax’s books in existence. Soon Daniel’s seemingly innocent quest opens a door into one of Barcelona’s darkest secrets--an epic story of murder, madness, and doomed love.

GENRE: Mystery, Historical Fiction

FORMAT: Audiobook

SERIES: The Cemetery of Forgotten Books #1 (this book works like a stand-alone, with a new set of characters and a new mystery in the next book)

RATING: ★★★★★ / 5 dramatic stars!

REVIEW: I can't begin to count how many of my book loving friends recommended and then flat out demanded that I read The Shadow of the Wind. I've actually had the paperback sitting on my shelf for years, I think it had a Borders sticker on it, that's how long it's been there (for my international friends, Borders bookstores officially went out of business in 2011 but had been closing stores since 2008). So doing what I have been doing more and more lately to catch up on my TBR list, I nabbed the audiobook from the library...and now I know what everyone has been talking about. I officially announce that you were all correct and I am a fool for waiting so long to read this book!

I have a feeling that this may be my shortest review yet because every amazing thing I want to say about why I love this book is a spoiler...okay I exaggerate...a little. This book is part romance, part mystery, part literary fiction, and all telenovela. It was such a gorgeous mix and completely engrossing. The writing is absolutely beautiful and weaves a spell over the reader, sucking you in until you're so entranced with the characters and the story that you don't want to escape. You don't just read this book, you experience it.

This book grabs you from the opening page. The love that most bibliophiles have for books can be summed up with so many quotable passages in this novel. It really is a book meant for the book obsessed. Traveling through time and stories within stories, it's incredibly rich in detail and lush. The mystery unfolds slowly and I couldn't help making guesses along the way but ultimately I couldn't stop reading/listening to this book until I was given every last detail. The story demands to be read, so expect long nights.

I haven't even mentioned the characters yet. Wow, the author created some of the most amazing heroes and sinister villains. And once again the detail that went into their creation, like everything else in the novel, was perfect. They each had their own life and voice and then became interwoven into the complex narrative. Added to that, the city of Barcelona also became it's own character. You could see, feel, smell and taste the city, such was the wonder of the author's words.

I could go on, but I think that I should just tell you to read the book if you haven't. Don't wait as long as I did, The Shadow of the Wind is waiting for you to discover it!

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