The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Záfon – Book Review

“After a while it occurred to me that between the covers of each of those books lay a boundless universe waiting to be discovered.”

Carlos Ruiz Záfon

The Shadow of the Wind is an incredibly engaging ode to literature, a book within a book which takes you on a riveting and poetic adventure filled with mystery, romance, action and humour, all at the same time.

What is it about?

Written by Spanish writer Carlos Ruiz Záfon, this book takes place in post-civil war Barcelona. At the beginning of the book, our young protagonist, Daniel Sempere, is taken by his father to the “Cemetery of Forgotten Books”, a secret library where he is allowed to choose one book and take it home. In this huge labyrinth of a library, he ends up choosing The Shadow of the Wind, written by a mysterious author called Julián Carax.

Little did he know that his life would be forever changed by this choice, as he starts, with his friend Fermín, to unravel the mysteries around this writer and his books, finding that he is not the only one who is looking for them, and unravelling mysteries that some would have preferred to keep secret.

While the story of Carax unfolds as we turn the pages, through shocking twists and enthralling action scenes, we are also taken through Daniel’s life journey through friendships and his first experiences with love, as he gets more and more entangled in the mysteries that surround the life of Julián Carax.

As I don’t want to reveal too much and spoil this book for you, I will leave it here for the summary, hoping that this sparked enough interest in you to discover this captivating novel.

My thoughts:

Rating: 5/5

To say that this book was one of the best I’ve read in the past years is really not an understatement. There are many reasons for this that I will try to explain in here, but let’s start by saying that you will find yourself thinking about the book throughout the day as you are so eager to continue your read and discover all the mysteries that the book holds.

The story is simply captivating and keeps you on your toes from start to finish, thanks to Záfon’s descriptive yet poetic style, which perfectly adapts to every element of the book, from the action scenes to the slower, more romantic ones. It is also what gave this book such an atmospheric feel to it, with an almost dark and gothic influence.

The variety of elements to this story are also something that I particularly liked, even though not all of them were to my liking. I think the author did a great job a balancing out fast-paced scenes with descriptive ones, taking us from love scenes to incredibly suspenseful ones, mixed with Fermín’s funny catch phrases and caricatural reactions which tied everything together with some lightness.  

“A secret’s worth depends on the people from whom it must be kept.”

Final remarks:

As I said before, one of the things I liked the most about this book is its ability to truly make you travel, taking you to a reconstructing Barcelona, making you laugh or cry in shock because of some unexpected twist. I found that it was an “easy” read, but in the best possible sense to it.

Would I recommend it? Absolutely! Not everyone will necessarily like every element of it, but I think the fact that Záfon’s work is at the least enthralling is undeniable. You will want to turn those pages, and you will want to turn them quickly.

“I was raised among books, making invisible friends in pages that seemed cast from dust and whose smell I carry on my hands to this day.”

Have you read The Shadow of the Wind? What did you think of it?

Read my other book review:

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell: a remarkable novel that transcends boundaries of time, genre and language by telling the story of six interconnected lives.

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Responses to “The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Záfon – Book Review”

  1. bethanyistraveling Avatar

    I just finished this book last month! Love the review! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Juliette Avatar

      Thank you! What did you think of it? 😊


  2. ourcrossings Avatar

    No, I haven’t read The Shadow of the Wind, but now, after reading your review, I am keen on getting my hands on it. I love the book cover, too. Given that the book is written by a Spanish writer, for the proper experience, it would be amazing to read it in the native language. That’s of course if you are fluent in it. Thanks for sharing and introducing me to a new book. Have a good day. Aiva 🙂 xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Juliette Avatar

      I’m sure you will love it! I read the Italian translation and it was great! Since I am studying Spanish, I should probably try it in Spanish as well one day! But I’ve heard that the English translation is also great! If you do read it, please let me know what you thought of it! 😊 Thank you for reading and have a great week!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Lashaan Balasingam @ Bookidote Avatar

    Wow, does that edition mean that you read it in Spanish? I’m thoroughly impressed if that’s the case! This book (series) has been on my reading list for years now. I have the books picking up dust on my bookshelves but there’s something about it that just screams that I will love it but then there’s another side of me that doesn’t want to be done with it too quickly hahah! I’m glad you had a blast with it. I look forward to the day that I finally crack open this book! 😀 Great review, Juliette!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Juliette Avatar

      No I read it in Italian ahaha but the translation was great! 😊 Maybe I will read the other books in Spanish though! I’m sure you will like it, but I understand the fear of finishing something too quickly ahah! Let me know what you think of it when you read it! Thank you so much for your comment 😊


  4. Markus + Micah Avatar

    This is one of my favorite ones ever! I read The Prisoner of Heaven next, not realizing that there is another one before that and so I did not end up liking The Prisoner of Heaven a lot. Haha. I got confused by the series. Up to now I have not read The Angel’s Game.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Juliette Avatar

      So glad to hear that you liked it as well! I haven’t read the other books of the series, though I think there is a readon why this one is the most famous! 😊 Thank you for reading!


  5. Som Pandit Avatar

    I have Highlighted all the good quotes from this book. Half my copy has turned yellow. 😂😂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Juliette Avatar

      Ahaha I know, it is really so good! And I love that many quotes are about books!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Som Pandit Avatar

    Yup. The whole premise , the characters , the conversations everything is gold.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Som Pandit Avatar
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