Sunday, December 2, 2012

"Welcome to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, Fermín..."

   "I have always known that one day I would return to these streets to tell the story of the man who lost his should and his name among the shadows of a Barcelona trapped in a time of ashes and silence.  These are pages written in the flames of the city of the damned, words etched in the fire on the memory of the one who returned from among the dead with a promise nailed to his heart and a curse upon his head.  The curtain rises, the audience falls silent and before the shadow lingering over their destiny descends upon the set, a chorus of pure souls takes the stage with a comedy in their hands and the blessed innocence of those who, believing the third act to be the last, wish to spin a Christmas story - unaware that once the last page is turned, the poison of its words will drag them slowly but inexorably towards the heart of darkness." ~Julián Carax~

   So begins "The Prisoner of Heaven"...

   I loved this book.  I read some reviews on GoodReads before reading it and was disappointed to see several, (buy not majority), of the reviews to be of the negative.  'The Shadow of the Wind' was my first book by Zafón, and quickly became one of my all-time fave books.  When I found out he he had written a sequel/prequel, 'The Angel's Game', I devoured it immediately.  I loved 'Angel', but not nearly as much as 'Shadow'.  I can't even begin to describe the excitement I felt at the learning of 'Heaven's' release.  I bought it immediately, but due to being in the middle of a rather thick book already, 'Fall of Giants', 'Heaven' sat, laying in wait.  Once I finished FoG, which I highly rec every living human being to read, I was childlike in my excitement to return to Zafón's Barcelona and the lives of the Sempere's and Fermín Romero de Torres  Zafón has a poetic prose and incredibly strong character development, and it's those affecting characters and entrancing prose that make his books special.  The intrigue, history, scenery, are all fantastic, but are nothing compared to the endearing prose and strong characters Zafón creates. And there is no true bookie in this world that can dislike the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, one of the best fictional places ever created.  My only issue with this book is this, it was too short.  Zafón seemed to be cramming too much information in a rushed and confined area.  I wish he had taken his time and let the story develop more.  'Heaven' created a more defined background of Fermín (one of my all-time fave characters ever written) and answered quite a few questions in his regard, but I feel the book created far more questions than answers overall.  'Heaven' felt more of the author's attempt to bridge 'Angel' and 'Shadow' while at the same time creating a new dimension of intrigue I can only assume, and hope, is the setup for a 4th book.  Also, as much as I love Zafón's prose, I did not feel it had the same sharp wit and romanticism, that was in 'Shadow' and even 'Angel'.  That's not to say it wasn't there, just not as prevalent as in his other works of bart (book-art). I repeat myself in saying this, but this book just felt more of the author's need to bridge gaps, and quickly setup scenarios for another book.
Having said that, I enjoyed it immensely and def rec it.  I can say this with utter confidence, read this series, you will not regret it.  Stay Booked! Happy Reading!

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