The Prisoner of Heaven

This is the third book in Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s series of books that revolves around the Cemetery of Forgotten Books.  The first two in the series being The Shadow of the Wind and The Angel’s Game.  It’s not a typical series because you can really read the books in any order, they’re all separate stories, but they’re set in the same time and have many of the same characters.  At least that’s Zafon’s intent.  And while the first two books easily fell into that style of story, I don’t think you would appreciate this book as much without having read the first two.  But I’ll get into that more later, on with the review.

Book StatsThe Prisoner of Heaven

278 pages

Drama

Characters

This book is centered on two of the characters from The Shadow of the Wind, which isn’t a bad thing, because the main arc of the story is telling us about Fermin Romero de Torres and his life story.  I loved Fermin in The Shadow of the Wind, I actually thought that one of that book’s few weaknesses is that Fermin was the most interesting character in the book despite being a side character.  All of the characters in the book feel like real people, and that’s easily the strongest thing about the book.

Setting

Barcelona in the late 1950’s, with flashbacks to the 1940’s.

Plot

The plot of this book is interesting, but it’s also the weakest part of the book.  Basically, it’s a long flashback to talk about Fermin’s past, as well as a way to try and tie the first two books in the series together more.  I enjoyed the plot, but without having read the first two books it wouldn’t have been nearly as entertaining.

Enjoyment

I had a good time reading this book, but didn’t enjoy it quite as much as the first two.  Zafon’s characters are the strength of the story, and the translator once again did a fantastic job, you’d never know that this was originally written in Spanish.  The biggest problem with this book is that it’s almost entirely filler to connect the first two books in the series.  It did a lot to set up some ideas that will be explored in the fourth book, but it really feels like this book is just treading water for most of the pages.  I still enjoyed it, and I’ll still check out his next book, but I wasn’t blown away by this one.

Overall Grade

Less of another book in the series, and more backstory to try and combine the two other books into one story, but it’s still a fairly quick and entertaining read.

7/10

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