Monday, July 30, 2012

The Prisoner of Heaven

The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
review copy provided by Harper Collins via TLC Book Tours
Description from book cover:
The internationally acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Carlos Ruiz Zafón takes us into a dark, gothic Barcelona and creates a rich, labyrinthine tale of love, literature, passion, and revenge in which the heroes of The Shadow of the Wind andThe Angel’s Game must contend with a nemesis that threatens to destroy them.

Barcelona, 1957. It is Christmas, and Daniel Sempere and his wife, Bea, have much to celebrate. They have a beautiful new baby son named Julián, and their close friend Fermín Romero de Torres is about to be wed. But their joy is eclipsed when a mysterious stranger visits the Sempere bookshop and threatens to divulge a terrible secret that has been buried for two decades in the city’s dark past. His appearance plunges Fermín and Daniel into a dangerous adventure that will take them back to the 1940s and the early days of Franco’s dictatorship. The terrifying events of that time launch them on a search for the truth that will put into peril everything they love and ultimately transform their lives.

Full of intrigue and emotion, The Prisoner of Heaven is a majestic novel in which the threads of The Shadow of the Wind and The Angel’s Game converge under the spell of literature and bring us toward the enigma hidden at the heart of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, a collection of lost treasures known only to its few initiates, and the very core of Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s enchanting fictional world.

My take:

How should I start my review of The Prisoner of Heaven? This is the question that has been plaguing me for days now. I absolutely loved The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon - this is the book I always recommend to absolutely everyone.  When The Angel's Game was released, I wanted to read it but I was so worried that it couldn't possibly live up to The Shadow of the Wind that I kept putting off actually reading it. I just really didn't want to be disappointed. But when I was given the opportunity to read The Prisoner of Heaven, I just had to jump at it. As the author says, each book can be read on its own. I think this is true because I had no problem following the storyline and was able to enjoy the book through to the end.

As with The Shadow of the Wind, I was drawn into the story from the first few pages. Once the mysterious stranger shows up and makes it necessary for Fermin to tell Daniel the story he has hinted at in the past, the reader is plunged into a terrific and horrific tale about Fermin's time in prison and fills in many gaps of history and explains a great many things. It also raises many more questions. This is one of the many things I love about Carlos Ruiz Zafon's writing. There are layers upon layers of story here. So much to think about and plots to try to unravel.

I'm a sucker for a book about books and, of course, The Shadow of the Wind fit that bill perfectly. I found The Prisoner of Heaven to be about books in a different way. While part of the story is about a writer, I found some of the motivation for much of the horror of events to be caused by the desire of  and envy of the ability to write well -- ambition above talent and total lack of morals. Everything seems to lead back to books and their ability to draw the reader into a new magical world.

After reading The Prisoner of Heaven, I can see that there is a much bigger story being woven here. The books seem to be piecing together the whole picture slowing and beautifully. The writing is absolutely beautiful and the way the story unfolds is masterful. There is just something about these books. I can't get them out of my head. I find myself thinking about them long after I have closed the book. This is always a sign that I've found something worth reading again and again. I will be reading The Angel's Game and anxiously looking forward to the next book in the series.

About Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Carlos Ruiz Zafón, author of two critically acclaimed and internationally bestselling novels, The Shadow of the Wind and The Angel’s Game, is one of the world’s most read and best-loved writers. His work, which also includes prizewinning young adult novels, has been translated into more than fifty languages and published around the world, garnering numerous international prizes and reaching millions of readers. He divides his time between Barcelona and Los Angeles.

Thank you to TLC Book Tours for the opportunity to read and review this book. You can find the rest of the blog tour stops here.

1 comment:

  1. Your comment about "a much bigger story being woven here" really captured my imagination and has me moving this whole series up to the top of my TBR list. I can't wait to dive in!

    Thanks for being on the tour.


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