This is not your run-off-the-mill type of book, that’s for sure. ‘The Shadow of the Wind’ is, at its very core, a story of love. The kind of love that is playful, joyous and cute. And the other kind of love, the one of pain, betrayal and sacrifice. One cannot help but fall in love with some of the characters!
I enjoyed reading this book (although when it started off, I was in two minds on whether I will like it or not) mainly because of the characters, rather than the plot/story-line. There’s so much depth to the characters and the author has done an amazing job of keeping them real, consistent and meaningful. Every one of them is there for a purpose and they come in and go only to satisfy that purpose. It reminded me of the Chekhov’s gun technique which in short says there should be no unnecessary elements in a story: if there’s a gun introduced in the first act, it better be fired by the third (or some such thing! you get my drift.). It helped this story in keeping to the thread and not straying with sub-plots and what not. Liked that a lot!
And one of my fundamental requirements in any book: it should take me to the place where the story is set. I got to travel to Barcelona with this one, folks! You can almost feel the weather and smell the streets and houses. Very few authors have this knack of transporting the reader to the place (real or imaginary!) where the story is unfolding and Ruiz Zafon has got it right. In some parts, it kinda reminded me of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s style of using colors and smell to draw a picture, rather than just a description of the elements in the scene.
The story, for me, was not very new. I kind of guessed the main twist in the first half of the book (if you were following my status updates on Goodreads, there’s a spoiler in there fellows! sorry!). It’s actually a no-brainer if you’re as devoted to books as I am. [Here’s a hint: No one can hate or love a book as much as the author. No one can be affected by the book as much as the author.] But still, it didn’t kill the book for me. I keep telling myself not to second guess the author, but yeah, doesn’t always work. I’ve learned to live with it.
So read this book. Take the journey with Daniel and his friends and you won’t regret knowing them. Get past the initial ‘wandering’ parts (at one point I was asking myself where the story is!) and then it’s all worth it.