Series: The Cemetery of Forgotten Books #2
Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Historical Fiction
From the author of the international phenomenon The Shadow of the Wind comes a riveting new masterpiece about love, literature, and betrayal.
In this powerful, labyrinthian thriller, David Martín is a pulp fiction writer struggling to stay afloat. Holed up in a haunting abandoned mansion in the heart of Barcelona, he furiously taps out story after story, becoming increasingly desperate and frustrated; thus, when he is approached by a mysterious publisher offering a book deal that seems almost too good to be real, David leaps at the chance. But as he begins the work, and after a visit to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, he realizes there is a connection between his book and the shadows that surround his dilapidated home and that the publisher may be hiding a few troubling secrets of his own. Once again, Ruiz Zafón ventures into a dark, gothic Barcelona and creates a breathtaking tale of intrigue, romance, and tragedy. -Goodreads
After I read The Shadow of the Wind a couple of years ago, I couldn't wait to read as many of Zafon's other books as I could get my hands on. I originally began reading this novel in the summer of 2014, but only managed to get about 50% in before I decided to read something else instead. It wasn't a bad book, it just wasn't holding my interest. Fast forward to this month and I decided to give it another try, and I began the book again. Sadly this book still didn't do it for me, the best way I can describe it is disappointing, I loved the Shadow of the Wind so much, and this book failed to deliver any of that excitement.
My main problem with the novel was boredom. I was bored for long long stretches of this novel, and I really struggled to persevere through to the end. I wasn't really interested in the story or the characters and I really had to force myself to pick this novel up and actually read any of it. It wasn't that the plot didn't have anything happening, there was a lot going on in this novel, but for some reason none of it felt like it mattered to me, I wasn't invested in the story at all. The characters also didn't help this lack of interest, I didn't really like or dislike any of the characters, I just felt sort of "meh" about all of them. This again meant I wasn't really rooting for anyone throughout the story, I didn't really care about them at all.
I also had a problem with the amount of plot points and loose strands of the story that didn't seem to link together in my mind, and while I was reading I had no idea what was going on throughout the novel, I was reading it with very little idea how all these things would link and tie together in the end. The irritating thing was that these loose strands didn't tie up in the end. I read the epilogue at the end and I still didn't understand parts. No spoilers but there are still parts of the story that don't make sense in my head, even thinking about it now!!!
The only element of this novel that saved it from a lower rating was the writing style. Zafon is so good at creating a setting and atmosphere until you feel like you are there with the characters. I felt like I was living in 20th Century Barcelona, I could see what the author was describing, I could feel the atmosphere, Zafon's writing is that good. He also has a lovely lyrical way of writing, varying the sentence length to give the writing an ebb and flow, allowing the world he is writing to flow around you. He also writes tension very well, the whole novel had this feeling of benevolence and menace running through it, and the pressure was built throughout the story until it came to a head at the end.
Overall I gave this novel 3/5 stars, and although I was disappointed by this novel from Zafon, I own a couple of his others, and I will read them in the hope that this was just a slight blip in his work, and that I will love the rest as much as I love The Shadow of the Wind.
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