Few things leave a deeper mark on a reader than the first book that finds its way into his heart. Those first images, the echo of words we think we have left behind, accompany us throughout our lives and sculpt a palace in our memory to which, sooner or later – no matter how many books we read, how many worlds we discover, or how much we learn or forget – we will return.
The Shadow of the Wind is the story of two men – Daniel, the boy who discovers The Shadow of the Wind in the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, and Julian Carax, the man who wrote the book. This book becomes the first book Daniel really falls for – and it drives the next few years of his life. He is determined to find out information about, and read more books by this author, only to discover that he has the last copy of The Shadow of the Wind in existence. All the rest have been bought/stolen and set on fire. In fact, it seems that all of Carax’s other books have met with the same fate, and it appears that it’s being done by a man by the name of Lain Coubert. Lain Coubert also happens to be the name the devil goes by in Carax’s book. While trying to protect the book, Daniel is also trying to piece together what happened to the author – some say he died in a duel Paris, while others claim that he was shot in Barcelona a few days after said duel, but it appears that no one is telling him the whole truth about the author.
In true gothic fiction fashion, this book has a lot of atmosphere – I could practically feel it seeping out of the pages of the book – and enough twists to keep it suspenseful. Although I had a feeling I knew what happened to Carax (and in the end I was right), the way things played out in order for the ending to come about the way it did wasn’t how I expected.
I have a feeling I’m going to be craving more gothic books now, and may have to revisit some of my older favourites… but that’ll have to wait until the end of the fantasy challenge which I think I might have to participate in, considering all of the unread fantasy books on my shelf at the moment.