Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Prisoner of Heaven - Carlos Ruiz Zafon (The Cemetery of Lost Books #3)

I cannot say enough good things about the first book in this trilogy, The Shadow of the Wind.  When I read that book years ago, it was a perfect reminder to me of why I absolutely love reading - it transported me to this other place, with rich characters (who also loved books).  It was scary and exciting and beautifully written (yes, I realize I was reading a translation).  And, since then, I have been excited to read anything by CRZ that I can get my hands on.  The second in the series, The Angel's Game was not as amazing - mostly because my expectations were so high, but I appreciated the continuation of the story.  Now it's been years since I read either one - and I can't remember the plot or the characters, only my excitement - and so reading this third one was almost like starting over.  The books don't have to be read in any particular order (and CRZ makes a specific note to this effect at the beginning of this book).  The Prisoner of Heaven is set in 1957 Barcelona and focuses on the friendship of a bookstore owner's son (Daniel Sempere) and his assistant (Fermin Romero de Torres).  When a mysterious stranger visits the shop, the two men are thrust back a decade to the Franco dictatorship, and a prison in which unmentionable horrors are visited upon the inmates.  This book has the same creepiness factor as the two prior ones, and I enjoyed both the 1957 "present day" story, as well as the 1940s flashbacks (which is unusual for me - usually when books do this I wish they'd just stick to one story).  Wonderfully written, dramatic, and intriguing.  I've falled in love with CRZ all over again.

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