Carlos Ruiz Zafón was a Spanish author. He started his literary journey in 1993 with El Príncipe de la Niebla, which won the Edebé Literary Prize for young-adult fiction. His first adult novel was La Sombra del Viento. Published in 2001, the book was translated as The Shadow of the Wind by Lucia Graves in 2004. The novel garnered much critical acclaim and bagged several international awards. It was followed by three other novels as part of The Cemetery of Forgotten Books quartet.

Ruiz Zafón passed away in Los Angeles, at the age of 55, due to colorectal cancer.


The plot of The Shadow of the Wind is based in Barcelona. Daniel Sempere is the son of an antiquarian book dealer. One day, his father takes him to the cemetery of the forgotten books and asks him to choose a book. Sempere must choose only one book, which will stay with him forever. He inadvertently pulls out a book titled The Shadow of the Wind from the dusty shelves. The book is written by a strange, rather unsuccessful author by the name of Julián Carax.

The book stirs Daniel’s love for literature. As he grows up, Daniel realizes that a lot of other people are also interested in this special book. He also finds out that his life is connected to the plot of the book in a fairly strange way.

As he digs deeper, he learns that someone is on the lookout for all the novels written by Julián Carax. This mysterious person seeks out all copies of the books authored by Carax and burns them. Daniel sets out to unravel the mystery of the book, which has become intriguingly entangled with his own fate.


Few things leave a deeper mark on the reader, than the first book that finds its way to her heart.

This quote is the essence of The Shadow of the Wind. Readers will be amazed by both the quality of prose and the poetic language that the author has used throughout the book. Lucia Graves has also done a commendable job translating the book without damaging or tampering with its soul.

Zafón is well versed in the subtle nuances of storytelling. He intelligently draws the readers into this riveting tale of love, lust, and mystery. The story-within-a-story-style plot never ceases to amaze the readers with its unexpected twists.


Zafón has a very artistic style of writing. However, a few pages into the book, this highly elaborate and refined style begins to tire the readers out. The book is quite bulky at five hundred pages, and some portions feel lengthy and slow the plot down. Cutting short these parts would have certainly made the book a lot crisper (and lighter).

The climax is not a very good example of attention to detail. All the mysteries and subplots are hastily resolved through a letter, which is written by a person who really had no chance of knowing the events.


Books are mirrors: you only see in them what you already have inside you.


Ameya Rating:

The Shadow of the Wind is a must-read for fans of gothic literature. This page-turner will surely excite you and leave you waiting for the second installment. Every character of the novel is perfect and has been described with painstaking clarity. You will be immersed in their journey from childhood to old age and empathize with them in their moments of joy, sorrow, and separation.

The map of Barcelona at the end of the book helps you to get an insight into the setting of the novel. This obviously makes for a pleasant and a more comprehensive reading experience.

Pro tip: Make sure you have a notepad handy while reading this book – it has some truly memorable quotes!

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