- The Cemetery of Lost Books series by Carlos Zafon is one of my favorites – so much fun for book lovers to read.
Summary from GoodReads:
The third in the cycle of novels that began with The Shadow of the Windand The Angel’s Game, The Prisoner of Heaven returns to the world of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books and the Sempere & Sons bookshop. 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.
Books like The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafón make me love being not only a reader, but someone who loves the look, feel, and smell of books. Why? Because I get the feeling that Zafón has the same sort of reaction to picking up a book. There’s this feeling of history, companionship, and shared experience I get when I handle something old and precious, and a sense of awakening hope for the future when I pick up something new.
The Prisoner of Heaven is the third book centering around the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, but if you haven’t read the other two novels, The Shadow of the Wind and The Angel’s Game, don’t let that stop you from picking this one up – because you see, Zafón has done something brilliant and perfectly fitting with these books. You can start with any book and read them in any order, and they all remain connected through this one, single, perfect place. In this book the story of Fermin Romero de Torres is detailed out piece by fascinating piece, and Daniel is given more information on the history of his parents. The relationship between Daniel and Bea is also in question – and references to both The Shadow of the Wind and The Angel’s Game crop up throughout the book in, sometimes, the most surprising of places.
And let’s not forget the fantastic homage paid to The Count of Monte Cristo – because it’s there and it’s a beautiful thing. Zafón has this way of describing places that are detestable, filled with dirt and filth and corruption, and making it come to life in such a way that I was both fascinated and repulsed at the same time. But then to tie in the literary message – it was a thing of beauty and I cannot stop raving over how good this book was.
I devoured The Prisoner of Heaven in about four hours. It is less than 300 pages, and more easily accessible, reading wise, than Zafón’s previous books were. His prose is still beautiful – full of flowing lyricism that made me feel, at times, as if I were reading a piece of artwork, but it was more simple, less complicated somehow. Then again, it may just have been the fantastic story being told.
If you haven’t checked out Zafón’s books, or are avoiding them because of the hype, don’t. Please. I’m not one to brim with praises for hyped books, but I can say that these deserve every bit.
Don’t just take my word for it! Check out what these bloggers say!