This novel was perhaps one of the strangest reading experiences I’ve had in a while; I adored it, but for a great deal of the novel had no idea what was going. Ruiz Zafon manages to create a brilliant mystery novel that holds writers and writing at its centre.The book is told mainly from the perspective of Daniel Sempere, who begins the novel at the age of ten; a young, naive boy who lives with just his father, his mother having died. He’s a brave, cheeky, everyman protagonist; mainly sympathetic and as a reader you truly desire for him to triumph over all the adversity he faces. Indeed, Daniel is the character that I would wish that Pip in Great Expectations would be; especially when Zafon references the novel in Daniel’s early interactions with Clara, the blind daughter of his father’s friend who is beautiful but manipulative. The characters in the novel are all pretty well-drawn; from the vibrant Fermin Romero de Torres, who begins the novel as a man sleeping rough who Daniel literally falls over; to the enigmatic Julian Carax himself and Inspector Fumero, perhaps the creepiest villain of the novel.Aside from the characters, Zafon’s tale is a real mystery that remains gripping, despite giving only a little bit of information away at a time; the real truth isn’t revealed until near the end of novel; when the full story of Carax, Fumero and others are fully revealed in a wonderful and fascinating way. Zafon also brings to life Barcelona in the late 1940s and 1950s, after the Civil War and World War Two in a really compelling way, and made me itch to visit the city. He also touches with the Spanish attitude towards the Civil War, whereby precious few people really talk about it; Daniel’s father rarely talks about it, and it is even brushed over by the character’s describing events in the past.I quite enjoyed The Shadow of the Wind, especially when the final twists were revealed; some of which I guessed, others were real surprises. It’s really worth holding out for the final revelations, and Zafon keeps the tense atmosphere going really well.