Cover Image: The Labyrinth of the Spirits

The Labyrinth of the Spirits

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Member Reviews

This is the 4th book in the Cemetery of Lost books series. I was really excited to read this as I have loved all the other books in the series. This is a huge sprawling read following the Sempere family in post- civil war Spain. It introduced a new cast of characters including the mysterious Alicia who is the main focus of this story. The focus of the story examines the consequences of living under a dictatorship and the impact that has on the ordinary people. It does not back away from state sanctioned murder, stolen children, torture and some of the things people do to survive but also to make their way to the top in a cruel society. and what some will do to ensure that society survives.
The author has a beautiful and evocative writing style and the translation is wonderful.
It is not a book that can be read in isolation - it rally is better if you have read the other titles to get the most out of the story.
You really wish that you could go to the cemetery of forgotten books to find your special book and the description of a mysterious, gothic Barcelona leaves a lasting impression.. I wonder if this is the end for the series as the author has brought the books up to the modern day? If so  I will be sad to leave the world of the Sempre family and the cemetery of forgotten books
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I loved this book. I was gripped by it from start to finish. It is several years since I first read "Shadow of the Wind" and here we are several years & books later with exactly the same feeling.

Set against the fascinating & complicated background of Franco's Spain this is a book which never stops. Alicia Gris is commission to find Valls, a missing government minister. What she actually finds is an amazing web of intrigue where people aren't who they say they are and her past comes back to haunt her. All the old favourites are here with the Sempere family, Fermin and The Cemetery of Forgotten Books.

It is Zafron's writing that captivates. The book starts with a bang & although not full of James Bond style action has plenty to keep the reader gripped & not wanting to put the book down. Everything just comes to life from the pages and is so vivid. The vocabulary & detail is a real pleasure to read. From the desolation of being imprisoned during the war, the devastation of the bombing of Barcelona through every emotion to the smile of four year old Julian Sempere. I just couldn't put this book down and it caused a couple of late nights!

The plot itself is intricate and full of twists and turns. It has been a while since I read the previous books but they came back to me and filled in the extra background I needed. Don't even contemplate reading this book without having read the previous ones. The plot is well woven and a real web. You need to keep your wits about you & remember well who is who. Some people may find it helpful to write a cast list as they go along.

Alongside the rather dark story there are lighter characters - who can fail to love Fernadito as he rushes to do Alicia's bidding? He knows he can't have her but can't break away from that crush! However, despite the moments of lightness, this is a dark story and I am sure it has at least some roots in reality - the Spanish Civil War and its aftermath was a terrible time.

I have really enjoyed this series of books. One day I shall go back and have a binge read of the four together. I suspect there is plenty more for me to get out of them that I missed the first time round.

I received a free copy of this book via Netgalley.
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Wow! A hell of a read! Excellent novel, beautifully written.

This long volume brings to a close the series started in The Shadow of the Wind. I read The Shadow in the Wind a long time ago and enjoyed it but haven’t read the two books that followed it. This latest novel takes place mainly during the Franco regime and revolves around Alicia Gris, agent for the Government, embarking on the case of a Minister who has mysteriously disappeared. The book also still involves the Sempere family but Alicia is the main character and catalyst. The plot involves all the worst aspects of living under a Fascist regime including betrayal, murder, torture amongst others.
The style is literary and witty and makes the experience well worthwhile, resulting in a wonderful novel, highly recommended.
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This a wonderfully long, sprawling journey involving some truly well written characters and intricate relationships. The whole saga of the series fits nicely with this addition. Alicia is a character that will stay with me for a long time.
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The long awaited final instalment of the series that began with Shadow of the Wind doesn’t disappoint. Beautifully written but never sentimental with the bleak brutality of Franco’a Barcelona interspersed with a truly wonderful story.
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To be honest, I didn't expect this book to be such hard-going - but then in length it was an epic. I was also under the impression that this novel could be read as a standalone book - this is true to a certain extent, but the self-referential nature of the epilogue made it clear that my understanding of the series would have been enhanced by having read Zafon's previous novels.

The detail in every paragraph was intense, incredible and enviable and Zafon has truly shown the ability to emulate and rival his own fictional author of Julian Carax (even though I found the obvious links between the fictional and actual author to be somewhat heavy-handed and nauseating).

Arriving at the complete narrative at the fourth novel, however, did make it harder to understand the characters and keep track of the wide selection of names and dates, not all of which seemed to make chronological sense.

Regardless, this novel truly deserves the description of 'tour de force' and, although I now need to read something much lighter, I really admire the dark and murky Barcelona created in this book, and the height of intellect and organisation to complete such a series.
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I love this author and couldn't wait to read this follow up to a saga I have enjoyed so much over the years! I've already read it through twice, feeling something different each time, just how it should be.

The prose winds through secret corners and labyrinths with a familiar, though still developing main character to fill your mind with the most vivid pictures any book of fiction can provide, I won't reveal anything more, it deserves a bigger stage than I can give it. 

You don't have to read the previous books to enjoy this continuation but it does add to your pure love for this book and its author. A masterpiece. I expected nothing less and got so much more.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.
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This is the final book in the 'Shadow of the Wind series'. Told in the same gothic style, it takes place during the Spanish civil war and creates a wonderful atmosphere. I had fallen away from this series a little as I didn't enjoy the books that followed The Shadow Of The Wind but I feel as though Carlos Ruiz Zafon has got back on track with the finale. The storytelling in these books is beautiful and so creative.
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I'll admit it, it's been years since I read Shadow of the Wind, Angel's Game, and somehow managing to miss the third in the series completely.  Other than vaguely remembering how much I loved Zafon's writing I may as well have been starting from scratch.

Each book in series is self-contained but linked within the Forgotten Book series. The mystery itself was certainly compelling and written with the standard of quality one would expect from Zafon.  I thoroughly enjoyed it but couldn't help feel I'd missed out so much more by not re-reading the previous books first.

This was arc from Netgalley and Orion Publishing in exchange for an honest review.  With thanks.
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I was given a free copy of this book by netgalley for a honest review.\

This is a series like no other. If you love mystical, soulful, and staying up all nite reading then you wont be disappointed.
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It's been far too long since I last visited this series. Enough time that my memory had faded enough for me to feel confident in agreeing with the idea that this book works as a standalone story, but that really doesn't mean you should read it by itself. Please, don't. It's not that you'll miss nuances and details, this book is rich enough that you can cope, it's just that this is such a beautiful read I don't see how anyone can fail to want to devour the whole thing. This book is truly sublime. That was the other trick my memory had played - I didn't think it could be as good as I'd remembered. Oh, how foolish I was.

Don't get me wrong, the entire structure of this story can take a while to settle. It opens with a series of mini-stories that are, at best, only faintly connected at first glance. As it all comes into focus and connects more firmly the story comes to life, it grows. Simplicity turns into complexity before the plot can be resolved.

In that complexity, there is pain and beauty. Zafon leaves virtually no emotion untouched, and writes with such flair that you feel and live them all. That's the thing. Any book can tell you a story. Good books spark your imagination and let you enjoy the worlds they create. Zafon immerses you in his world. His words so vivid it's like being lost in a painting - here's no need to conquer up anything, he just serves up majestic feasts that consume you as you digest them.

In this instalment, we meet Alicia. A woman both broken and indestructible. She has layers upon layers, and no matter how much you come to know her you're certain there is more underneath. She is a glorious contrast to the returning Fermin - a very old-fashioned character given a fresh lease of life and becoming timeless. So easily he could be a tired cliche, yet here he is a much-appreciated tool to carefully guide the story through tricky waters. It's hard not to fall for the Sempere family, and their little community. Just as shivers run down your spine upon encountering certain others. As much as Fermin exemplifies the whole concept, all of Zafon's characters have this slight air of tradition, an almost fairytale quality to their personalities. Perhaps that's why their emotions wrap around you so easily.

As for the plot... or plots... well, just the one eventually. It's a ride! At times a hard one. The aftermath of the Spanish Civil War showing that the horrors rarely end when the guns stop firing. Of course, Spanish history is very complicated in this regard, and it should be noted that this book is set within living memory for a not insignificant number of people. Without a doubt, that makes a story set in this time a delicate proposition, and from my perspective on the outside, it feels as if Zafon manages to present a sensitive view. Especially considering the horrors he presents. And do be ready for horrors, because the beauty of this book is only highlighted by the gruesome contrast it also offers. Once more, Zafon dips into classical literature to present a nightmare of gothic grandeur. It is a demonstration of literary engineering.

This is a story for book lovers. The bookshop, the books within books, the literary references and homages. It embraces a classic style that means I know I'll be picking up every book in the series for years to come.

This is a masterpiece that can never be captured in a review. Read it. Live it. You won't regret it.
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I read "shadow of the wind" many years ago and hadnt realised this was now the 4th in the series and felt a bit lost with the characters. Although the translation is well done and the writing obviously lyrical I didn't feel able to complete the 800+ pages. My apologies to the author as this is obviously a failing on my part rather than his.
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Having read The Shadow of the Wind and The Angel's Game when they came out i was delighted to receive an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley for review, How I missed the third in the series I don't know but I will be seeking it out so as to complete the series. Initially I found it quite hard to get into the novel. There's a lot of characters but once I was in, I was there! Barcelona is as much a character in this series as any of the humans and I loved revisiting it. If you have read the others and loved them you will love this too. I'm not sure if it's a stand alone book so if you haven't at least read The Shadow of the Wind you might struggle a bit. Recommended.
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It was lovely to step back into 'The Shadow of the Wind' world. I did get a bit lost with all the different characters but that was probably my lack of Spanish rather than the author's fault! I particularly enjoyed the parts where Fermin featured, what a great character he is! I think it would have helped me to have re-read the previous books prior to reading this but the story does hold up on its own, it would just have helped me understand the context a bit more. All in all a great read.
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If you have read the other books in this series, you will need no encouragement to read this one! No spoilers here but we have the extended cast of characters present and the author - as ever - handles them masterfully. The story goes from beautiful to brutal and back to poetic in a few short pages. It is hard to put down but at 850 pages, I'm glad I read the ebook version... There is a complex story in here with crime, romance, saga and all told in a variety of voices but at all times it is easy to follow. I'm not sure how much of the beauty is the original language or the translation but it is definitely worth a read. Recommended - especially if you have read the others.
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I was sent an advance proof copy of The Labyrinth of the Spirits by Carlos Ruiz Zafón to read and review by NetGalley.
I loved this book!  I have given it the maximum 5 stars despite the fact that there were a few things that irritated me about it!  There was the odd occasion where there was a continuity error and some passages ended up being a bit of a monologue.  There was a fair bit of unnecessary repetition and far too many times when the word ‘gotten’ was used - a real pet hate of mine!  Perhaps this was more down to the translator than the author, who knows.  
Having said all that, this novel is classic Carlos Ruiz Zafón.  Character led, and this includes the city of Barcelona, with many intrigues and twists and turns and prose that carries you into another world.  I really didn’t want to put it down.  It is quite a long book, very satisfying.  Not perfect by any means but the good certainly outweighed any niggles for me!
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Another fantastically weaved story from this author. I enjoyed this story a lot and was one of the best in the series. I didn’t want it to end!
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Having never read previous books by Zafon but having heard about his books, I was excited to be offered this book to read by Netgalley.  
The language was beautiful even though translated and  the writing was emotional and descriptive beyond compare.  I found the story intriguing and wanted to keep on reading to find out what was going to happen to the characters - Daniel and the Sempere family, Alicia and her boss, her colleagues and the many evil and twisted people she meets throughout the book. it was rather graphically violent and I was surprised at the number of people who were killed in the story. The actual plot, however, was a rollercoaster ride and very exciting and the conclusion was just perfect for the story. 
I will now have to read  Zafon's other books!
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Another epic and mighty work from Carlos Ruiz Zafon, fourth book in the Cemetery of Forgotten Books series.

Alicia Gris is damaged - damaged by war in body and soul, living a tangled life of intrigue and danger. It is Alicia's task to guide the reader through the myriad plots of this book, drawing together the narrative as she reveals the history of the Sempere family, bookshop owners extraordinaires.

Packed with powerful and fascinating characters, a sense of history, and danger close to every page, this is a masterpiece. Highly highly recommended.
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Opening this book and starting to read was like coming home. I relaxed, and missed my train stop- I was in the hands of a master story teller.
The language, even in translation, is inspirational and atmospheric, painting a magical world full of stories within stories.
I read ‘The Shadow of the Wind’ and ‘The Angel’s Game’  many years ago, and loved them, so was excited to have the opportunity to read Ruiz Zafon’s latest work. I was being pulled back into a place that I was happy to revisit. Although I haven’t read ‘The Prisoner of Heaven’ I didn’t feel that affected my pleasure in this novel. The quality of writing is exquisite. The story, as you may expect is full of twists, turns and complications but ultimately ties up loose ends and previously unanswered questions. Yes, it is long, but when a book is well written you want to hold onto it for as long as possible.
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