“Books are mirrors: you only see in them what you already have inside you.” – Carlos Ruiz Zafón
This week’s TTT covers ten blog posts (on your blog!) that give the best picture of you as a reader and/or a person. As always, TTT is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.
I feel a little awkward with this one, as I’m writing a big ‘ol braggo post (but that is kind of sort of what blogging is, yes?)
1. My Extended About Me. Kind of an obvious choice.
2. This is a super recent post, but I think this short story is really representative of my writing.
3. On the same note, I wrote a short play two years ago and performed it at an open mic with my friend. I don’t do vlogs or anything or the sort, so this is your one and only (for the moment) chance to see me live. Haha.
4. And again, a little bit of flash fiction I threw up on the blog.
5. Favorite Book: Shadow of the Wind
6. Favorite Book: Hyperion
7. Favorite Book: Plainsong
8. Favorite Book: The Fault in Our Stars
9. Favorite Book (This and the afore-mentioned only represent a small portion of the things I love dearly): The Lover’s Dictionary
10. Most amazing motivational speech ever, by Neil Gaiman.
The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Barcelona,1957. It is Christmas, and Daniel Sempere and his wife Bea have much to celebrate. They have a beautiful new baby son named Julian, and their close friend Fermín Romero de Torres is about to be wed. But their joy is eclipsed when a mysterious stranger visits the Sempere bookshop and threatens to divulge a terrible secret that has been buried for two decades in the city’s dark past. His appearance plunges Fermín and Daniel into a dangerous adventure that will take them back to the 1940’s and the dark early days of Franco’s dictatorship. The terrifying events of that time launch them on a journey fraught with jealousy, suspicion, vengeance, and lies, a search for the truth that will put into peril everything they love and ultimately transform their lives.
The Prisoner of Heaven is Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s latest book, the third in his series that includes The Shadow of the Wind and The Angel’s Game. In my opinion, this book doesn’t disappoint. While not as magical as The Shadow of the Wind, it is not as dark as The Angel’s Game. It’s a good compromise between the two, but it reads less like a third novel in a series, so much as stand-alone companion book.
If it’s been awhile since you read either book, I would recommend rereading them before you pick up this one. While The Shadow of the Wind is fresher in my mind (because it sticks in my mind so much because of its fabulousness), I hardly remembered the plot points of The Angel‘s Game. This definitely lessened my enjoyment of the book, as The Prisoner of Heaven pulls threads from both into its narrative.
I fear that offering more in this review will spoil it for those who haven’t read it and who haven’t read the other two books in the series. I can say that if you’re a fan of Carlos Ruiz Zafon and/or his Shadow of the Wind series, don’t miss this one!
TTT is hosted, as always, by The Broke and The Bookish. Today’s topic is: Top Ten Books for People Who Like X Book. I chose The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. It’s doubtful you’ll see a review of this book on Isleofbooks. It’s been some years since I read it and as my current goal is to finish reading all the books I have and haven’t read, rereads are a long way off. That said, I really love this book.
Late one night, exploring her father’s library, a young woman finds an ancient book and a cache of yellowing letters. The letters are all addressed to “My dear and unfortunate successor,” and they plunge her into a world she never dreamed of – a labyrinth where the secrets of her father’s past and her mother’s mysterious fate connect to an inconceivable evil hidden in the depths of history.
The letters provide links to one of the darkest powers that humanity has ever known – and to a centuries-long quest to find the source of that darkness and wipe it out. It is a quest for the truth about Vlad the Impaler, the medieval ruler whose barbarous reign formed the basis of the legend of Dracula. Now one young woman must decide whether to take up this quest herself – to follow her father in a hunt that nearly brought him to ruin years ago, when he was a vibrant young scholar and her mother was still alive.
What does the legend of Vlad the Impaler have to do with the modern world? Is it possible that the Dracula of myth truly existed – and that he has lived on, century after century, pursuing his own unknowable ends? The answer to these questions cross time and borders, as first the father and then the daughter search for clues, from dusty Ivy League libraries to Istanbul, Budapest, and the depths of Eastern Europe. In city after city, in monasteries and archives, in letters and in secret conversations, the horrible truth emerges about Vlad the Impaler’s dark reign – and about a time-defying pact that may have kept his awful work alive down through the ages.
Parsing obsure signs and hidden texts, reading codes worked into the fabric of medieval monastic traditions – and evading the unknown adversaries who will go to any lengths to conceal and protect Vald’s ancient powers – one woman comes every closer to the secret of her own past and a confrontation with the very definition of evil.
Without further ado, here is my list!
1. Dracula by Bram Stoker.
-I’d be remiss if I didn’t recommend this book. Not the first fiction book about vampires, but definitely the first to cement the Dracula legend.
2. The Passage
-Another of my absolute favorites. This is a chunky book like The Historian, but it moves fast. Love the modern take on vampires.
3. The Strain Trilogy by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan
-Watch for a review of the entire series later this week! Somewhat like the passage, this series posits vampirism as a virus. Titles include The Strain, The Fall, and The Night Eternal.
4. The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice
-What good list of vampire books doesn’t include this series? Anne Rice was writing about vampires before Twilight made it cool.
5. Blue Bloods by Melissa de la Cruz
-Speaking of Twilight, here’s another YA vampire series. I admit, other than the Twilight series, I haven’t read much at all of the market saturation of YA vampire novels. I happen to like these, but no idea how they stack up to the numerous others.
6. I am Legend by Richard Matheson
-This is a vampire book, but I tend to think it of it more as a zombie book. Anyways, it’s worth a read.
7. Vampire Knight by Matsuri Hino
-Okay, technically I haven’t read this. But I watched the show! And the show was awesome! So since manga > its anime counterpart, these must be extra awesome. Makes sense, right?
8. Mina by Elaine Bergstrom
-Typically, I don’t like books the purport to be sequels of other books that weren’t written by the same person. But I did actually like this one.
-I never resist a chance to promote this book. Not about vampires, but the writing has a similar tonal quality to The Historian.
10. Interred with their Bones by Jennifer Lee Carrell
-I really love historical fiction thrillers. E.G. The Historian. E.G. Interred with their Bones. This one’s about Shakespeare.
And no, I don’t watch True Blood or read the Sookie Stackhouse books.
A few summers back, I wandered into my local Barnes & Noble. I was hoping to interview with a literary agent the next week and wanted to read one of the books she represented. While looking for that one, I stopped the display for Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s The Angel’s Game.With a title like that, I couldn’t not pick it up and skim the back.
In an abandoned mansion at the heart of Barcelona, a young man, David Martín, makes his living by writing sensationalist novels under a pseudonym. The survivor of a troubled childhood, he has taken refuge in the world of books and spends his nights spinning baroque tales about the city’s underworld. But perhaps his dark imaginings are not as strange as they seem, for in a locked room deep within the house lie photographs and letters hinting at the mysterious death of the previous owner.
Like a slow poison, the history of the place seeps into his bones as he struggles with an impossible love. Close to despair, David receives a letter from a reclusive French editor, Andreas Corelli, who makes him the offer of a lifetime. He is to write a book unlike anything that has ever existed–a book with the power to change hearts and minds. In return, he will receive a fortune, and perhaps more. But as David begins the work, he realizes that there is a connection between his haunting book and the shadows that surround his home.
I was hooked. I wanted to buy the book right then. Then I noticed The Shadow of the Wind on the table beside it. That one was in paperback while the other was in hardcover. I set down The Angel’s Game and picked up The Shadow of the Wind. In case you’re wondering, I also bought the book I game in for which was title, Something Missing (also good, might do a review in the future).
The book sat on my shelf for awhile. It wasn’t until Christmas that I started it. And I fell in love.
At this date, I’ve read The Shadow of the Wind and The Angel’s Game. I own The Prince of the Mist, but I haven’t read it yet. Zafon has utterly captivated me. I simply cannot believe only three of his books are available in English. Simply put, his work is fantastic. Every time I’ve recommended his novels, I’ve scored a hit.
Zafon has a lurid and lush writing style. He composes sentences that twist and fold in upon themselves like the shadowy streets of his romantic Barcelona. Zafon plans to write a four-book series that involve the mysterious place called The Cemetery of Forgotten Books. Literature is involved at every level in his work. From this secret library sort of place to the readers who delve in its works to the bookseller and his son to the young author, Zafon paints the world of the bibliophile with love. And Barcelona is the perfect backdrop for it all. Beyond Paris and London, it is one of those cities infused with the romanticism of the nineteenth century.
One of my friends said his work was very cinematic. This is true, but it’s not cinematic in the Hollywood blockbuster sort of style. The Barcelona Zafon creates for the readers is as vivid and colorful as a reel of film.
Although this is an author spotlight, I’m going to briefly comment on the two novels I’ve read. Both are considered to be for adults. His previous works, including The Prince of the Mist and his untranslated works, are geared towards young adults. Of the two novels, I enjoyed The Shadow of the Wind a little more. The Angel’s Game is dark and twisted, much more so than the preceding book. While both books deal in the currencies of sadness, regret, and memory, The Angel’s Game provides little respite from those hard-hitting overtones. However, I would easily recommend both books.
Book Blogger Thoughts:
The Shadow of the Wind at Jo’s County Junction
The Shadow of the Wind at I Hug My Books
The Angel’s Game at Compulsive Reader
The Angel’s Game at My Wordly Obsessions