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


The Shadow of the Wind – The Cemetary of Forgotten Books #1

The Shadow of the Wind : Shadow of the Wind Series - Carlos Ruiz Zafon


Barcelona, 1945: A city slowly heals from its war wounds, 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 Julian 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

My Thoughts

This book had me hooked from the start. I loved the story of the young boy who was taken to the cemetery of forgotten books and told to choose a book. As the book progressed and the child became older, his life almost mirrored the life of the book he had chosen.There were many parallels between the life of the child and the author.  l found the story riveting and couldn’t leave it alone.

There is a theme of death throughout this novel, from start to finish, which raises its head in many different forms. The writing is beautiful. There were many passages, that, though romantic, had me laughing out loud.

There were a few things about the narrative, however, that grated a little. At times, there were aspects to the story and sequence of events that didn’t seem to me to be believable. Also, the conversations at times seemed a little stilted, but that could be because this book was translated from Spanish to English.

The things that annoyed me were few and far between, and I was able to put them to the side, so they didn’t interfere with my enjoyment of the story.

In the edition that I read there were bonuses at the end – an interview with the author, discussion notes and an illustrated Shadow of the Wind walk through the streets of Barcelona. I especially enjoyed the illustrated walk. It was the icing on the cake of this novel for me. 


“If you thought the true gothic novel died with the 19th century, this will change your mind. Shadow is the real deal. Be warned, you have to be a romantic at heart to appreciate this stuff, but if you are this is one gorgeous read” – Stephen King

“Zaffron’s tightly plotted thriller, is sharp, sexy, gothic (perhaps even a little goulish), powerfully atmospheric, often funny and utterly unputdownable – Australian


Few things leave a deeper mark on a reader than the first book that finds its way into his heart.

Death was like a nameless and incomprehensible hand…like a hellish lottery ticket. But I couldn’t absorb the idea that death could actually walk by my side, with a human face and a heart that was poisoned with hatred.

Star Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

Carlos Ruiz Zafón

About the author: Carlos Ruiz Zafón is a Spanish novelist. Born in Barcelona in 1964, he has lived in Los Ángeles, United States, since 1994, and works as a scriptwriter aside from writing novels.

This edition was published by Text Publishing, Melbourne in 2001.
Paperback, 536 pages

Thanks to my friend Kerryn for recommending this book