The Prisoner of Heaven
By Carlos Ruiz Zafon
(Harper, Hardcover, 9780062206282, July 2012, 288pp.)
The Short of It:
A mystery, familiar characters and the lure of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books is why I quickly snatched this one up.
The Rest of It:
When I read The Shadow of the Wind years ago, I considered it a stand-alone novel. It was a magical story, beautifully written with a fantastic setting and wonderful, memorable characters. Plus, it introduced me to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books which was, to me, such a wonderful invention. Imagine a large library of forgotten titles, all lovingly preserved…never to disappear from existence. Sigh.
Several years later, Zafon came out with The Angel’s Game which was, at the time, advertised as a prequel to Shadow but the author has said numerous times, that all of the books are stand-alone novels and not meant to be read in any particular order and in the case of Angel, I’d say that fits. However, The Prisoner of Heaven is a follow-up to Shadow in that our main character is now all grown up, married and a father. But once again, although we get to know a little more about these wonderful characters, it has its own story to tell.
Daniel and his father continue to run their bookshop, but times are tough and the business has not been doing well. One day, a stranger walks in and buys a very expensive copy of The Count of Monte Cristo, signs it and tells Daniel to give it to his old friend, Fermin Romero del Torres. When Daniel opens the book, he sees that the inscription that the stranger left, is signed Fermin Romero del Torres which is the same name as Daniel’s long time friend. When Daniel shows the book to Fermin, the man has no choice but to share his secret with Daniel and in doing so, is forced to remember a different time, when his days were spent behind bars with a mysterious prisoner by his side.
The book is short so I don’t want to tell you too much about plot because if I do, you won’t read it. What I can tell you is that it isn’t as enthralling as Shadow but it was a solid installment to the series. I enjoyed it much more than Angel. My only quibble was the obvious lead-in to a fourth installment at the end. I knew from reading some other reviews that a fourth book is coming, but I didn’t expect the lead-in to be so obvious. That was really the only thing that stuck out for me.
If you could only read one book, I’d highly recommend Shadow but if you end up falling in love with the characters then you’ll be like me and read all of them just because they are all tied together in some way. This is one series where the setting has you coming back for more, too. Barcelona. Old streets. Gothic structures. Mysterious, sinister characters. Yep, quite enjoyable.
Source: Sent to me by the publisher via Edelweiss.
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