When he is ten years old Daniel is shown the secrets of the book cemetery by his father. There he discovers a book by Julian Carax called the Shadow of the Wind. Daniel falls in love with the book and over the years he sets about trying to find out more about the allusive Julian Carax. But as he digs deeper into the mystery more and more people want to the book and will go to great lengths to take it from him.
The Shadow of the Wind is beautifully written. The way it describes the joy of books as well as the city of Barcelona where the story is set is incredibly vivid. However the fact there’s so much description can be a double-edged sword, it’s beautiful but it can be a bit dense and I sometimes would skim read long passages.
Daniel is not the most likeable character, I think it’s because he’s so naïve that it ends up being frustrating. Also he doesn’t always treat people in his life well, people who he’s supposed to care about just get left aside as he tries to find out more about Julian Carax.
The mystery of Julian Carax is interesting and there’s many parallels between Julian and Daniel but how Daniel finds answers to different parts to the mystery is sometimes rather convenient. People just tell him what he wants to know, often without much prompting.
The main “bad guy” in The Shadow of the Wind is Francisco Javier Fumero and he is quite scary and foreboding, especially as he is a member of the police and appears to have free reign to do what he wants.
I really enjoyed the historical context of The Shadow of the Wind, I think it was my favourite thing about the book to be honest. It was great reading a book during the Spanish Civil War and Franco’s dictatorship as it’s not an area of history I’ve read much about in fiction. Seeing the effect of the war and dictatorship on the characters was interesting and added a sense of realism in a story that’s otherwise caught up with the magic and mystery of books.
Fans of The Book Thief should definitely pick up The Shadow of the Wind. 3/5.