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Absorbing, Imaginative, Powerful: Review of The Labyrinth of the Spirits by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

October 22, 2018

The memories that we bury under mountains of silence are the ones that never stop haunting us.’

As a child, Daniel Sempere discovered an extraordinary novel in the Cemetery of Forgotten Books that would, unbeknownst to him, change the course of his life forever.

Now a young man, Daniel owns the Sempere & Sons bookshop and shares what should be a fulfilling life with his loving wife and dear son. But Daniel is plagued by the death of his mother, a mystery that consumes him day and night. Despite the efforts of his wife, Bea, and his faithful friend, Fermin, Daniel cannot be consoled, and becomes obsessed with uncovering the mystery.

However, just as Daniel seems to be approaching an answer, a new mystery emerges – one far more strange and sinister than he ever could have imagined. Guided by Alicia, a soul born of and permanently scarred by the horrors of war, Daniel is lead to the edge of the abyss, where the secret history of his family will be revealed…at a terrifying price.

The Labyrinth of the Spirits is the final volume from the critically acclaimed Cemetery of Forgotten Books cycle. The internationally acclaimed, New York Times bestselling author, Carlos Ruiz Zafon, captivated readers world-wide with his first novel in the collection – The Shadow of the Wind – and now, with the fourth and final instalment of the series, he continues to weave magic with his unparalleled language and imagination.

The Labyrinth of The Spirits is a wonderful homage to the power of storytelling, and the bridge between literature and our everyday, ordinary lives. Zafon understands the immense power of books to transport and transcend, and he plays on this throughout the entire novel, delighting the reader with his stunning observations of literature and art.

Zafon is incredibly gifted at blending genres in a single book. The Labyrinth of the Spirits is equal parts historical fiction, romance, thriller, and fantasy. As a result, the book commands your full attention and grips you at every turn, despite being close to 1000 pages long.

As with his previous books, this novel is impeccably crafted. Somehow, a myriad of plots and sub-plots magically weave into one another – no small feat, and a testament to Zafon’s remarkable talent not only with words, but also structure and narrative. Although the setting and themes of The Labyrinth of the Spirits are quite fantastical, the emotions and struggles of the characters give the book a palpable realness that absorbs you even further.

Above all else, The Labyrinth of the Spirits is an escape from reality – a book that celebrates books, that reminds you of the very reason you read in the first place. Reading it is like being transported back to my childhood to the type of reading that is all-consuming, completely immersive. The hours tick by, the tea grows cold, the cat goes unfed – but you are too lost in the magic of it all to take notice.

Now that is what reading is all about.

About the author:

Carlos Ruiz Zafon, author of two critically acclaimed and internationally bestselling novels, The Shadow of the Wind and The Angel’s Game, is one of the world’s most-read and best-loved writers. His work, which also includes prizewinning young adult novels, has been translated into more than fifty languages and published around the world, garnering numerous international prizes and reaching millions of readers. He divides his time between Barcelona and Los Angeles.

Purchase a copy of The Labyrinth of the Spirits here 


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