From the moment I first grabbed that book, I instantly felt hooked. The plot, the setting, and the literature in the book promised nothing but a ride full of shadows and mystery. I knew I would love this one.
But. There is a huge BUT. As the book progressed, I kept waiting for things to develop. I waited for a revelation that would knock me off my wits. I waited for the mystery to unfold in a way I had never expected, for my mind to be ridden in a rollercoaster from which it would take me some time to recover. But the dull narration never fulfilled the promise it had made in the opening chapters. But I persisted, in conflict between hope and fear that either the book will eventually deliver, or that I would regret ever getting my expectations high. It is the fear that won the battle, and my expectations were never met. Every “twist” in the book was well expected, and by the time I closed the book, the rollercoaster I had desperately expected felt like nothing but a merry-go-round. The poor characterization, tacky dialogues and failure at building suspense felt like a blow to the head.
To diminish the power of the setting would be unfair, if I was to talk of a small part of beauty I discovered through my reading experience I would definitely talk about the Barcelona I got to know through the hands of Zafon. Mystic and cryptic, I yearned to go to that land where the streets are cold and secrets plenty. I wanted to walk in the shoes of poor Daniel as he tries to unfold and recover the life of the writer Julian Carax whose book had haunted his childhood. And that remains the only part of the novel that I truly felt captivated by.
It goes without saying that I could never regret reading a book, and Carlos Ruiz Zafon although disappointed more than pleased, shall remain on my mind, and I shall give him another chance. His overrated book, to me, had failed to live up to the success it had gained. But in some small way it has a piece of charm with its Cemetery of Forgotten Books that I plan to visit again one day in The Shadow of The Wind’s prequel: The Angel’s Game, but this time without hope or expectation, only faith.