14. September 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Mystery

The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, 278 pages, read by Courtney, on 09/14/2012

I loved “Shadow of the Wind” and I liked “The Angel’s Game”, so I was pretty excited to find a new book set in the same world. Unfortunately, “Prisoner of Heaven” falls flat in comparison to its predecessors.
Daniel is now grown up and has a child. Sempere & Sons Bookstore is gearing up for the holiday season and Fermin is fixing to get married. A man from Fermin’s past appears prompting him to finally share his secrets with Daniel. The narrative then shifts to the worst days of the Spanish Civil War. Fermin is in prison with a writer named David Martin who is teetering on the brink of madness. He is kept alive by a malevolent guard named Maurico Valls who aims to be the country’s preeminent writer and intellectual. He forces Martin to “rework” his material to make it palatable to the masses. Martin, in his madness and misery, tells Fermin of his true love, Isabella, Daniel’s mother. Fermin manages to escape from prison in the hopes of fulfilling Martin’s request of making sure Isabella and her family are taken care of.
All of the characters are interconnected, but the story lacks the punch of Zafon’s previous work. This slim volume lacks the vivid detail of the first two books in the series and, as a result, feels rushed and unfocused. Oddly enough, it moves fairly slow too. It’s not a bad book, it just doesn’t compare to the books it follows and as such is a bit of a disappointment. Fortunately, the series is written in such a way as to allow the reader to read the book in any order they choose. Perhaps if this book didn’t have to live under the shadow of the first two, it would seem much more accomplished.

Comments closed.