Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Prisoner of Heaven

I just finished reading The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. It's the third in his "Cemetary of Forgotten Books" series. I loved the first one, and really enjoyed the second as well. This one was pretty good, but not as good as I'd hoped.

Fermin, a side character from The Shadow of the Wind (book one), has a big problem in this new novel. He wants to get married to his pregnant girlfriend, but there's a problem with his legal documents. Due to some events that happened during World War II, he's recorded as having died years ago.  Then a figure from his past appears and leaves him a threatening message.

The bulk of the book is a flashback to the events that happened when he was in Montjuic Prison during World War II. He tells it to Daniel (narrator of book one), to explain why he's so afraid of this figure from his past. When he was in prison, he met David Martin, the writer main character of The Angel's Game (book two). He also met the cruel, pompous governor, who was in charge of the prison at the time. The story concerns his relationship with those men, and his attempt at an escape.

My first problem was just that I thought I was missing a lot because I didn't remember the plots of the first two books very well. Despite a note in the beginning of the book that says the books can be read in any order, I felt I was constantly struggling to recall the importance of different characters.  So if you're going to read this, I recommend reading the first two books first.

The second problem is that the book felt short and unfinished. It seems pretty set up for a sequel, with some unfinished issues, which is fine.  But really I felt like there was no huge climax. No complete resolution. And it was shorter than the previous books, so it wouldn't have hurt it to go on.

Should you read? If you've recently read the first two books, sure. But I wouldn't bother to buy it on hardcover, like I did.

No comments:

Post a Comment