The story captured my attention right at the outset. Fifteen-year-old Oscar Drai disappears from his boarding school for seven days and nights and then suddenly reappears at the Barcelona train station. What follows is his story of the events that led up to this disappearance.
Oscar stumbles upon an old broken down mansion and befriends Marina, the daughter of an ailing portrait painter. When Oscar and Marina follow a mysterious veiled woman, they become embroiled in an old mystery. This is a gothic tale that devolves into the macabre and grotesque. All the elements I loved in Shadow of the Wind are here: Carlos Ruiz Zafon excels at building characters, describing places and creating atmosphere. His words just draw me in. Sadly, the style itself felt a bit disjointed and not as engaging as his other works—too much of the story revolves around Oscar and Marina seeking out people who may help to solve the mystery and then listening to them tell of past events. While not nearly as compelling as the Shadow of the Wind, I think it’s a worthwhile read for Ruiz Zafon fans.
I received this book as a giveaway from the Librarything Early Reviewers program in exchange for an honest review.