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The Labyrinth of the Spirits

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Member Reviews

This is the final work in the Cemetery of Forgotten Books quartet of which each book works well as a stand-alone. The series began with the compelling, if not addictive, "The Shadow of the Wind" about fifteen years ago which was set in around 1945 Barcelona. In "The Labyrinth of the Spirits" the reader is taken further through Franco era Barcelona. Unanswered questions from the previous three books in the series are answered (sometimes a bit gruesomely) in later times.

The novel is not only wonderful storytelling, it is also beautifully translated into wonderful English prose. For me, at times the plot dragged a bit but, nevertheless, I strongly recommend reading it, especially to those who have enjoyed the other three in this series.

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If I could give this novel more than five stars I most gladly would. It invaded my every waking hour and some of those whilst I slept! The Labyrinth of the Spirits is the sumptuous, extraordinary and downright breath-taking final book of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books quartet. Quite frankly is it magnificent. I was transported to the labyrinths, alleys, houses and secrets corners of Barcelona during the Franco regime. This is a story of murder, passion, secret police, plots, sub-plots, mystery and, of course, books.

The new protagonist is the intriguing and beautiful Alicia Gris. As a child during the civil war, her life was saved by the indefatigable Fermín Romero de Torres and twenty years later, although damaged by the war, she is back in Barcelona working as an investigator for the Spanish secret police. She comes back into the life of the Sempere family and with their help uncovers one of the most awful conspiracies to have ever taken place in Spain.

Carlos Ruiz Zafón is a masterful story teller and he has created a truly haunting novel. Do be aware that there are some pretty gruesome scenes but they are not gratuitous. This is a superb end to a truly marvellous series.

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This is well written,or translated,but it failed to grip me. It recreates a period of Spanish history but it jumps about and fails to anchor its stories. It has a fanciful and unconvincing beginning too.

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If I could give this book a one word review it would be 'Genius" I really don't know what else to say as there are no words when the ones in the novel are so wonderfully written and brilliantly evocative.

But here goes:
I have been so excited for this novel to come out in the English speaking world. I admit I had read it before in Spanish as well, I couldn’t wait for it to come out in the UK, but kudos to Lucia Grave who translated it! Brilliantly done and in a way which totally captures the magic of the original and even adds a little magic of its own.

You do read this with a bit of sadness however as it’s the final novel in Zafon’s The Cemetery of Forgotten Books quartet but you are in for one heck of a treat. Best to start with Book One - The Shadow of the Wind which is one of my favourite books of all time if not the favourite.

We’re back with Daniel and the Cemetery of Forgotten books and the Spanish cover has a young boy gazing into the shop window which I found to reflect how I felt about reading this book. You gaze like an excited child dying to go inside and experience the magic. I was not disappointed.

It’s not just a revisit however for there is more of Zafon’s magic in the Gothic city of Barcelona. Meeting Zafon’s latest creation, Alicia Gris, was a memorable moment. She has to be one of the most extraordinary characters ever to be captured on the pages of a novel. And an epic novel at that.

Daniel is now a young man (running that most exciting of bookshops Sempere and Sons) and is now married with a child of his own. but this makes his search for his own mother even more urgent and enter Alicia who will be a part of this final journey for the truth

I read it slow -painstakingly slow infact as once I was back in this world I didn’t want to leave it. I now feel bereft, but all my questions and worries about Daniel and co have been answered and addressed. I was particularly excited to read about how Fermin arrived in Barcelona and his backstory to the present day!


It's a captivating conclusion, a maze like series of puzzles and clues which suit the setting of the maze like streets of Barcelona. Some new exciting and mysteries locations in the city appear here too.

Oh what else can I say? This is not just a novel you have to read but a journey you HAVE to go on.

This HAS to be a film. It’s such an epic immersive and brilliantly written read.

I was spellbound reading this. Excited to return to the Cemetery of Books, back with old friends and meeting new ones. The gothic streets of Barcelona are the perfect setting for the maze of secrets and puzzles contained within the plot.

Dazzlingly brilliant.

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I have always resisted Zafron .. and in fact it took me a while to set aside what seemed to me obvious tropes of this melodrama..the scarred, damaged central figure of Alicia, and the set pieces of the tough guy protector, Vargas, who is a softie inside, and the cold blooded mentor ..the cruel bad guy with an enticing, lonely daughter .. admittedly before halfway I felt it drag .. the often used magic book and dangerous search for it is not entirely woven in to signify Alicia which might be useful.. After cruel smooth government guy disappears, a cruel soul-destroying event happens in Barcelona which has big impact on the charges .. an image of his abuse in prison cell will not leave me any time soon. But this writer is a terrific storyteller in melodrama stakes (if obvious) And the creation of Alicia, his central character is fresh and smart .. and I began to be utterly involved .. really sneaky (still slow though!) In this detective story...

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A very long read and at times very slow paced. This is the 4th in a series and although I have read and thoroughly enjoyed the 1st, I do wish I'd read the whole series in order to fully appreciate this book. That said, the book is undeniably a fantastically well written book.

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When I requested The Labyrinth if Spirits I didn’t realise that it was the 4th and the last book in the series. I have read also the first in the series The Shadow in the Wind. But, it was about 15 years ago.
The is a beautifully written book set in Spain. Zafron describes places in Spain that I have never even heard of. It has likable characters, full of love and sadness and the story keeps you wanting more. I must confess I did not finish this book. Not because I didn’t like it. But, I want to start from the beginning of the series with The Shadow of the wind and give reviews that this book and the author deserves.
Thank you Orion publishing and NetGalley for a copy of this book.

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A fine symphony of words based on Spain after the civil war with Franco in power and centred on Barcelona with its people trying to go back to normality. It has rich themes with poetical passages that depict the highways and byways of Barcelona together with a secret mystical Cathedral like building that houses the Cemetery of Forgotten Books. There are stories within stories of a family of book sellers, people recovering from wounds as a result of the bombing of Barcelona, young love, and a secret agent charged with an investigation into the disappearance of a prominent government minister. What with treachery, murder and brutal torture together with scintillating dialogue the book provides a most satisfying read.

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A fitting conclusion to the series that started with The Shadow of the Wind. The different strands are brought together and it has the same intricate detail and mesmerising sense of Spain as the previous books. It is a hard book to review without giving away plot details or minimising the complexity, but definitely worth reading.

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Wow what a book! I think to do this book justice you should read the other books in the series, of which I haven't. That said, I really enjoyed the story, so many puzzles and interlinking events!

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The Shadow of the Wind left a lasting impression on me when I read it on publication 17 years ago (and on subsequent re-reads). The next novels in the sequence, The Angel’s Game and The Prisoner of Heaven, had the same effect. And now I can add The Labyrinth of the Spirits to that list. For those of you who have been holding out for this, the final novel in Zafon’s The Cemetery of Forgotten Books quartet, you’re in for a treat. And for those of you who haven’t been fortunate to read his novels yet, I strongly recommend you start. Right now.

Described as, “…an intricate and intensely imagined homage to books, the art of storytelling and that magical bridge between literature and our lives”, The Labyrinth of the Spirits combines the genres of fairy tale, thriller, romance and detective stories to provide an extraordinary reading experience.

It was a genuine treat to welcome my old friends, Daniel Sempere and Fermin Romero de Torres, back into my life, and have the opportunity to revisit the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, still one of my most favourite fictional places of all time. Even more delightful was meeting Zafon’s latest creation, Alicia Gris, one of the most extraordinary anti-heroes ever to be captured in the pages of a book. Seductive, tortured, sensitive and cruel, Alicia is a tour de force.

In Labyrinth, Daniel is now a young man, running the Sempere & Sons bookshop in 1950s Barcelona, sharing this life with his loving wife and son. Yet he still frets over his mother’s death and feels the shadows from his past, and hers, threatening his happiness. When Alicia enters his life, and re-enters Fermin’s, the stage is set for the final chapter in Daniel’s search for the truth about Isabella Sempere.

Dazzled, obsessed, haunted… this could describe many of the characters in The Labyrinth of the Spirits, but definitely describes me while reading it; I could not put this book down!

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This book is an addictive novel as well as a history lesson in Spain! I have learned so much about Spain, things I didn't knew before.
I don't want to give away too much of the plot by saying anything but I loved the way how the story was pulled together, I felt like it was doing an embroidery or placing puzzle pieces, as the description say it's a masterpiece. If you like historic novels with a blend of mystery that slowly unfolds, then this is a book you must read.

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Well, what a whirlwind. Carlos is an amazing storyteller. How he devises plots and characters of such awesome.magnitude is beyond me. The Labyrinth of the Spirits is the conclusion to a splendid epic that has me asking for more. Beautifully written, it brings back characters from previous novels and adds quite a few new ones to a land of book dealers and evil doers. A stonking good read.

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Beautiful writing - a long read, with familiar characters, and an eye-opener in the history of Spain that I never knew before .

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Absolutely blistering read; The Labyrinth of the Spirits is my book of the year. It's the conclusion to an epic series of connected books which started with The Shadow of the Wind. Each book has been totally spellbinding; a mixture and fact, fiction, gothic mystery, sardonic humour, love, loss and retribution.

It's a difficult book to explain without revealing too much, but it's series of stories and mysteries which twist, turn and circle around the Cemetery of Forgotten Books. All the books may be read as a standalone, but part of the magic of Zafón's storytelling is the way the same characters recur and fragments of their past and present are drawn together.

Set in 1950s Barcelona, Daniel Sempere is now a father, with a son named after an elusive author, a major figure in the first book. His mentor and friend, Fermin Romero de Torres is a character of true genius. He's funny, honest and an excellent foil. We learn more about his past. He's a man of secrets; he was a prisoner during the Franco regime...

This book draws all the previous threads together. It's a captivating conclusion, a maze like series of puzzles and clues that will appeal to readers who love the mystery and magical appeal of books. Zafón should be a literary Laureate. He's on another level.

My thanks to the publisher for a review copy via Netgalley.

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* This was too long.... that's my main problem.
For about three quarters of the book I felt it dragged,not helped by my lack of memory in regards to the previous books.
Then we hit a page,and everything happened. Who did what to whom and why...death,destruction,madness....
Then the final bit dragged.
I've read all Zafons books,I enjoy them enough to read more,this one though,makes me think I'll only venture into his shorter books from now o

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Oh my word what can I say about this masterpiece. This is one of my favourite authors and I have been waiting several years for this book. Well I can 100% say it was worth the wait. These library of forgotten books sagas have had me spell bound since the very beginning with a gothic mix of magic, mystery, heartbreak and redemption. We return to semipermeable and son which has featured in each of the books and another mystery to be unravelled. I don't want to give any spoilers but suffice it to say I have become very attached to this band of quirky but exceptional characters and at times it feels almost like you are in the story watching it all unfold. This is truly a triumph and I am happy to have found this author but also sad that as with all good things it must come to an end. It had me laughing and ugly crying in equal measure and I'm sure I will never come across another book that will touch me as deeply and profoundly and mr Ruiz zafon has with this beautiful saga. Thank you withe deepest love and gratitude.

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Exquisite writing in this one, but unfortunately I couldn’t get on with the story. Maybe it’s a case of great book, wrong time. I’ve not read anything by this author before, even though I have one of his books on my shelves, I hadn’t realized this was part of a series, so maybe I might start it at the beginning and come back to this one again!

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