In September, my cousin Almut gave me a book called The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, in German. I started reading it and was surprised at what an easy read it was, considering my German is not the best. After about 20 pages, I stopped reading and got distracted by work, etc. In January, I saw the book again in English in the bookstore in Garmisch. I bought it on impulse and started reading ... reading ... reading. I couldn't stop. It's completely my style of book: Anthony Hope meets Bujold meets Arturo Perez-Reverte.
The story is of a boy named Daniel. His father is a member of a society that adopts and protects books. One day, his father lets him pick a book to protect and Daniel picks a book by Julian Carax called The Shadow of the Wind. When Daniel reads it he is enthralled and tries to find more books by the same author. Mysteriously they are all being collected and burned by an enigmatic stranger. This discovery entangles Daniel in a mystery to discover who Carax was and more ... that lasts for the next 10 years.
This book was fabulous and kept me mesmerized for the entire day that I read it. These kind of adventure novels that have a keen sense of literary history enrapture me. Although Zafon's book was excellent, it didn't excite me as much of Perez-Reverte's The Club Dumas, but then that would be hard to do.
The ending revelation was particularly good and the turn of events where people are revealed to not be who you think they are is brilliant. A series of discoveries like this occur and they are very effective. Also good is how Daniel's life in some places mirrors Julian's with a happier end.
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