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The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
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The Prisoner of Heaven (2011)

by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Cemetery of Forgotten Books (3)

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2,2401214,141 (3.84)111
Recently added byCafecitoForAll, ucla70, wisemetis, Jaelen, private library, Jetton, wuuk
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» See also 111 mentions

English (93)  Spanish (11)  Dutch (8)  German (3)  Italian (2)  French (2)  Catalan (1)  All languages (120)
Showing 1-5 of 93 (next | show all)
A very decent third book in the Cemetery of Forgotten Books series, if we can call it a series given that Zafon tends to play fast and loose with the chronology of events. Not as fabulous as The Shadow of the Wind, but a definite improvement over the second book (which had the appearance of being a prequel). In The Prisoner of Heaven, Zafron is back to the wonderful labyrinthine, Gothic storytelling I fell in love with when reading The Shadow of the Wind. While Daniel is back in this book, this time it is very much Fermin’s story and his mysterious past. Zafon, obviously a fan of Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo – which happens to be one of my all-time favorite reads – takes inspiration from Dumas for the basis of Fermin’s story as a political prisoner in the dark and foreboding Montjuic Castle during Franco’s dictatorship. Zafron is very good at creating atmosphere in his stories, I will give him that. Even better, the author makes some decent connections to the first two books, so that The Angel’s Game doesn’t continue to stick out like a sore thumb. On a downside, Zafon plays messes with information from the earlier books, suddenly giving Fermin a stronger connection to Daniel’s family than originally provided, leaving Daniel to experience some “Say, what!?” moments. Also, Zafon’s female characters have not improved. They continue to come across as a mystery for the male characters to either pity, avenge or suspect of being up to something. There is a strange, token chapter told from Bea (Daniel’s wife) and Bernarda (Fermin’s fiancé) POV that adds, IMO, virtually nothing to the story. Maybe Zafon was asked to include more female character interaction, I don’t know. It just doesn’t work for me. This time, Zafon wraps up with a really solid cliff hanger for the next book in the series. I don’t always like cliff hanger endings. For me, it seems as though the author is attempting to milk a book deal made with the publisher (“Really, I can squeeze another best seller out of this!”) and I don’t like being used as a pawn, but I am intrigued enough to add the next book (which is already out) to my “to read” list.

Overall, a decent read if you, like me, are able to enjoy a somewhat flawed story that is stylized with wonderful Gothic atmosphere, mise en scène and is an ode of sorts to Barcelona and wonderful writers like Dumas. ( )
  lkernagh | Sep 27, 2018 |
I did not enjoy this book as much as the first two. A little disappointed. There was almost no action or suspense like the first two. A real snoozer. Hoping the next one will be better. ( )
  Aseleener | Mar 24, 2018 |
The year is 1957. It’s just before Christmas in Barcelona and Daniel and Bea are living with their son above the bookstore Sempere & Sons. The faithful servant Fermín is about to get married. One day an old man visits the bookstore and he wants to buy an old and valuable version of The Count of Monte Cristo. But he doesn’t take the book with him instead he leaves the books with a dedication…

The book continues the story that started in The Shadow of the Wind and also has ties with The Angel's Game which story takes place before The Shadow of the Wind. In many ways it’s a really good story, you get to know what happened to David Martin from The Angel's Game and his connection to the Sempere family. Well, you don’t get all the answers, the ending has a “to be continued” feeling over itself. And since the book had only 300 pages (the Swedish version) and I just think Carlos Ruiz Zafón could have written well at least 100-200 pages more and just given the book a better ending instead of leaving one hanging. Well, it’s a smart move because now one just has to have the next book… when it comes…

The Angel's Game was such a great book that really pulled you inside and this book for all its promises didn’t really reach the same level, it was good and I love the connection to The Count of Monte Cristo (need to re-read the book), loved to know what happened to David Martin, how and where he wrote his book. I just want more…more Daniel Sempere and more David Martin…more about the Cemetery of Forgotten Books... ( )
  MaraBlaise | Dec 14, 2017 |
(7.5) This book focuses on the assistant bookseller, Fermin. He seems depressed and ill as he prepares for his wedding. Fermin becomes the narrator as he recounts his past life and his fear that it will prevent his forthcoming marriage. It provides the reader withan insight into the violence and corruption in Spain during the 30's and 40's.
I enjoyed this book but it does not live up to The Shadow of the Wind. I am tempted to reread that, as this book seems a prequel, as it fills in the the early years of Fermin and links to The Angel's Game, which I was very disappointed in. The story is left hanging which would suggest a fourth is in production. ( )
  HelenBaker | Oct 4, 2017 |
While a great continuation of characters from his two previous novels, Zafon stumbles a bit here in trying too much (in my opinion) and ends up making a novel that demands more resolution than is provided. That's the only thing that's knocked this down from 4 starts to 3 for me. ( )
  SESchend | Sep 6, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 93 (next | show all)
While the reader should not expect many shocking plot twists, the story is gripping and the pace is just right. Further, the magic of the novel is in the wonderfully constructed creepy and otherworldly setting, the likable characters, and the near-perfect dialogue.
added by DorsVenabili | editBooklist, Kerri Price (pay site) (Aug 1, 2012)
 
Like his countryman Arturo Pérez-Reverte, Zafón combines sincere engagement with genre tradition, with clever touches of the literary postmodern. (The novel's epigraph is by a fictional writer who featured in The Shadow of the Wind.) This is explicitly, and joyously, a book about books, about what can be learned from them (say, how to follow someone in the street), and what is lost when they are lost. Much of the novel's appeal is that of time-travelling tourism, strongly flavoured with literary nostalgia – for a time when a bookshop could be a city's cultural nerve-centre, when a paper-based bureaucracy could be outwitted, when bohemian scribblers could afford to eat world-class crème caramels, and even when money could be "cursed". But beneath the sugared surface there is also political anger.
 
A rousing adventure that reads as if Jorge Borges were writing in the mode of Umberto Eco's 'The Name of the Rose.
added by thebookpile | editElle Magazine (US)
 
wondrous... ultimately a love letter to literature, intended for readers as passionate about storytelling as its young hero.
added by thebookpile | editEntertainment Weekly
 
Gabriel Garcia Marquez meets Umberto Eco meets Jorge Luis Borges...Ruiz Zafón gives us a panoply of alluring and savage personages and stories. His novel eddies in currents of passion, revenge and mysteries whose layers peel away onion-like yet persist in growing back... we are taken on a wild ride that executes its hairpin bends with breathtaking lurches.
added by thebookpile | editNew York Times
 

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ruiz Zafón, Carlosprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Arpaia, BrunoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Geel, NellekeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Graves, LuciaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schwaar, PeterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tiittula, AnteroTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Quell'anno, prima di Natale, ci toccarono soltanto giorni plumbei e ammantati di brina.
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In 1957 Barcelona, Daniel Semper and his close friend Fermin Romero de Torres find their lives violently disrupted by the arrival of a mysterious stranger who threatens to divulge a terrible secret that has been buried for two decades in the city's dark past.… (more)

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Average: (3.84)
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2 22
2.5 14
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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 1921922877, 192207988X

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