Sunday, April 7, 2013

Guest Review: The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

From the website (

It begins just before Christmas in Barcelona in 1957, one year after Daniel and Bea from THE SHADOW OF THE WIND have married. They now have a son, Julian, and are living with Daniel's father at Sempere & Sons. Fermin still works with them and is busy preparing for his wedding to Bernarda in the New Year. However something appears to be bothering him.

Daniel is alone in the shop one morning when a mysterious figure with a pronounced limp enters. He spots one of their most precious volumes that is kept locked in a glass cabinet, a beautiful and unique illustrated edition of
The Count of Monte Cristo. Despite the fact that the stranger seems to care little for books, he wants to buy this expensive edition. Then, to Daniel's surprise, the man inscribes the book with the words 'To Fermin Romero de Torres, who came back from the dead and who holds the key to the future'. This visit leads back to a story of imprisonment, betrayal and the return of a deadly rival.

Michelle's Note:
Please welcome my friend, Cheryl once again in another Guest Review.

Cheryl's review:

I read The Shadow of the Wind when it came out in 2004 and The Angel’s Game in 2009. So I was very excited when Michelle emailed me and asked if I’d like to review The Prisoner of Heaven. Prisoner has a caveat that notes each novel can be read as a stand-alone, but that they are all part of the Cemetary of Forgotten Books series and are connected through characters and storylines. As I read Prisoner, I kept the other two near me for reference because I seldom remember the details that help link stories together.

As noted in the above description, the book starts with Daniel’s encounter with a mysterious stranger. He follows him to try to learn what the stranger is up to. He picks up clues along the way that offer no answers but only raise more questions. He finally asks Fermin for an explanation, which is the crux of this book. With lyrical writing, Zafon’s Barcelona is easy to visualize and his characters are flawed and passionate. At times, one can almost smell the Barcelona air and feel the characters’ turmoil. I was so caught up in the story that I finished the book in a day.

Zafon is correct in that it isn’t necessary to remember the details and this book was enjoyable by itself. After reading Prisoner, I reread the book descriptions and epilogues of the first two books. This helped refresh my memory and also place Prisoner within context of the three novels. Prisoner is a story that connects characters, the “Cemetery of Forgotten Books,” and different eras of Barcelona to create a continually unfolding saga that left me hoping I don’t have to wait three years for the next chapter. But by waiting, it will give me a chance to reread all three and revisit a world where books are a reason for living.

Thank you to Cheryl for reviewing this for my blog.

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child


Lisa said...

Great review! I've been meaning to read this series and I'm glad to know that if I come across the books out of order, it wouldn't be then end for the world.

Marce said...

I have Shadow of the Wind and keep saying one day. They sound so good. Have you read any Michelle? Thanks for having your friend review.

Ryan said...

I had not read the first two books, before I read this one. And at first, I didn't get what the fuss was about. I didn't like it until the last 20 pages, and it all came together for me.

Great review, and you have reminded me that I still need to read the other two.

Cheryl said...

thank you for your comments! I do love these books and think it worthwhile to read all three.