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The Labyrinth of the Spirits by Carlos Ruiz Zafon


The Labyrinth of the Spirits by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Published in: 2018
Reviewed by: Book Worm
Rating: [★★★★]
Find it here: [jen will add amazon link]

This ARC was provided by Orion Publishing Group (via NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis from Amazon: As a child, Daniel Sempere discovered among the passageways of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books an extraordinary novel that would change the course of his life. Now a young man in the Barcelona of the late 1950s, Daniel runs the Sempere & Sons bookshop and enjoys a seemingly fulfilling life with his loving wife and son. Yet the mystery surrounding the death of his mother continues to plague his soul despite the moving efforts of his wife Bea and his faithful friend Fermín to save him.

Just when Daniel believes he is close to solving this enigma, a conspiracy more sinister than he could have imagined spreads its tentacles from the hellish regime. That is when Alicia Gris appears, a soul born out of the nightmare of the war. She is the one who will lead Daniel to the edge of the abyss and reveal the secret history of his family, although at a terrifying price.

The Labyrinth of the Spirits is an electrifying tale of passion, intrigue and adventure. Within its haunting pages Carlos Ruiz Zafón masterfully weaves together plots and subplots in an intricate and intensely imagined homage to books, the art of storytelling and that magical bridge between literature and our lives.

Bookworm’s Thoughts: I cannot believe it has taken me until this year to read the amazing Shadow of the Wind the realease of the final book in the series prompted me to read (and by read I mean devour) all the previous books and I am so glad I did Carlos Ruiz Zafon is an amazing writer and if you haven’t yet tried this series you really should.

At the start of the book the reader is given this disclaimer:

“This book is part of a cycle of novels set in the literary universe of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books. Although each work within the cycle presents and independent, self-contained tale, they are all connected through characters and storylines, creating thematic and narrative links.

Each individual instalment in the Cemetery of Forgotten Books series can be read in any order, or separately, enabling the reader to explore the labyrinth of stories along different paths that, when woven together, lead into the heart of the narrative.”

Needless to say being the anal bookworm that I am I read the books in publication order and now find it difficult to imagine the story unfolding in any other way.

As this is the last book in the series there is not a lot you can say in a review without spoilers so I will just go with what I loved and why this book did not get 5 stars from me.

The reason I deducted a star is due entirely to one scene featuring one of the series’ favourite characters as far as I am concerned this scene had no place in this novel, it was out of character and added nothing to the storyline it was totally unnecessary and if I ever meet the author I really want to know his reasoning behind it.

On now to the things I loved:

1) the setting Barcelona before, during and after the second world war the city comes alive the places are so well drawn I felt I was actually there and the terrifying atmosphere of political upheaval and atrocities committed against normal citizens really racked up the tension.

2) The stories within stories, the role of readers, writers and book sellers and the way all of this links together and forms a battle of good against evil. The way the stories are open to interpretation and how the characters are not always what they seem.

3) The characters – I particularly appreciated Alicia a young woman dealing with chronic pain. Having recently been diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis I found her a compelling and completely relatable character. I loved the way she kept going until pain took over, I loved the portrayal of how you can appear to be “normal” and function while hiding a serious problem, the way she would rely on drugs when it got too bad and the way at the end of the day she way exhausted. For me the author captured this battle perfectly.

4) The way historical events are woven into the story, I can’t tell you what they are as they are major spoilers but after reading the book I did some research into the actual facts and they are horrifying.

Who would like this: I would recommend that everyone read this series because if you don’t you are really missing something special.

Want to try it for yourself? You can find a copy here: [Jen will add amazon link]

We want to hear from you! Have you read this book? What did you think? 

One Comment Post a comment
  1. LisaU #

    I read some of the books that Carlos Ruiz Zafon wrote, and I loved them as well. Makes me really want to visit Barcelona.


    November 9, 2018

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