Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
I have always been drawn to books that have a sort of coming of age vibe. The theme of self discovery has always played a huge role in my own life and is one that I hope to keep at the forefront of my mind forever. Because of this, and no matter what stage I am at in my life, I really relate to younger characters who are going on journeys of adventure and discovery leading to their own personal revelations and internal growth. Rarely are the characters young girls, which I contribute to the fact that most books just seem to focus on a young mans internal growth and adventure rather than women which is a bummer, plus I'm really not into girly books at all. Anyone know of a good coming of age book that has an independent, adventurous and curious female lead character but doesn't just fill all the stereotypes of "girl"?
Some of my favorite books are The Alchemist and The Catcher in the Rye but at the moment I would say Shadow of the Wind is my favorite book. It has a coming of age vibe but is written for adults. It is set in post war Barcelona and centers around the main character, Daniel Sempere, who is just in his early teens. What I love about this book is that it is almost a story within a story and revolves around the mystery and magic of books. Daniel's father, a bookseller, one day takes Daniel to a mysterious hidden library of sorts called the Cemetery of Forgotten Books. It is there that Daniel finds a book called The Shadow of the Wind by Julian Carax. Because of this book, Julian's life is suddenly becomes a dramatic and adventurous journey filled with the pursuit of unlocking the mystery of the author Julian Carax. Through Daniel's journey of trying to understand what happened to Julian, he opens up hidden secrets of the people in his community, and, as his adventure persists, he finds his own life starting to parallel that of Julian Carax's life. Magical!
There is adventure, murder, secrets, love, reflective and philosophical moments, just everything I adore in a book all held within the pages of Shadow of the Wind. I may have cried at the end because I was so sad I had finished the book and I couldn't keep reading and traveling on the journey with Daniel. But good news... when I told my boyfriend I was so bummed out that I had finished the book, he informed me that there is a second book by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. And in his second book The Angel's Game, the character of Daniel still plays a minor part in the story. It has a different main character than Shadow of the Wind but is set in the same city, just a few years before the setting in Shadow of the Wind. The Angel's Game is actually a prequel to Shadow of the Wind, and Zafon said that there will be 4 books in this series which I am SO excited about. I just discovered that the third book, The Prisoner of Heaven, was just translated into English a month ago! You can bet I will be buying it as soon as I am done with The Angel's Game. If you have read a few of J. D. Salinger's books and love how they revolve around one family but written from different perspectives within the Glass family, I think you will love Shadow of the Wind and The Angel's Game. They are mesmerizing stories that speak of the same place and it's hidden secrets from the perspective of two enchanting characters. Read these books!
Photos by Andria Lindquist
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