The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

I loved, loved, loved The Shadow of the Wind, so it’s no surprise that I jumped on the chance to read Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s The Prisoner of Heaven nearly as soon as it was released.

This is the third book (of four, I believe) in this collection (they’re not exactly chronological, so I’m not going to call it a series) of gothic novels. Set in Barcelona, it takes place primarily in 1957, but some sections are set a couple decades earlier.

Lots of readers were put off by the second book, The Angel’s Game. They found it too convoluted or too vague. I didn’t mind the ambiguity; the twists and turns and lack of one singular reality was apropos to me. Still, I didn’t like it nearly as well as I did The Shadow of the Wind. I didn’t hate it, either. It was just OK.

This one falls somewhere in between OK and all-out love for me. It’s not nearly as complex (practically entirely straightforward) as I remember either of the other two being, which might be good for those who disliked The Angel’s Game, but I was almost disappointed by the lack of levels. The Cemetery of Forgotten Books experience in this book isn’t nearly as magical. In fact, this may be the least magical book of the three (as in, most of this story can be explained by rules of the natural world).

This volume also had a decided lack of female presence, which was disappointing to me.

What I like: It’s very atmospheric and the sense of place is strong. The writing is fun to read.

Not that I exactly know, since I have nothing to compare it to, but I get the feeling that Lucia Graves’ translation is outstanding.

Here are my reviews of The Shadow of the Wind and The Angel’s Game.

3.5 stars (out of 5)

Have you reviewed this book? Leave me a link and I’ll add it here.
Alison’s Book Marks

I received this book from the publisher. I am an Amazon Associate and receive a small commission on sales through my affiliate links.


12 responses to “The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

  1. The Shadow of the Wind is one of my sister’s all time favorite books so she’s chomping at the bit to read this one.

  2. I gush over Zafon. Like you, I loved Shadow of the Wind, but I loved Angel’s Game almost as much. Prisoner of Heaven was a perfect addition to the collection. I’m sorry this one was only a 3.5 for you.

    (My review:

  3. Nice review! I read this and really enjoyed how it fit with the other two, and I’m very excited to see how the fourth completes the set! My review is here:

  4. Shadow of the Wind is my favorite of the three as well, though I did like this one a lot. However, I wanted it to be longer and as you mentioned, a little more magical.

  5. Amy @ My Friend Amy

    I’m glad you enjoyed it, I still need to read The Shadow of the Wind, I know, I know!

  6. I agree that the only real drawback to this one was in how straightforward it was. Still, I enjoyed how it filled in so many pieces of information that we never got in the first two books. I also loved what happened in the Cemetery of Forgotten Books at the end and hope that the fourth book actually goes in that direction a bit!

  7. Pingback: Falling from Heaven « Photography : The Photos & Images of Don Dresden

  8. I loved Shadow but still have Angel’s on my shelf. I need to get to it before I forget all the wonderful details.

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