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147 of 150 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mainly Fermin's story
I first entered `The Cemetery of Forgotten Books' in 2003 and `The Shadow of the Wind' instantly became one of my favourite novels of all time. 'Then came the darkness of `The Angel's Game' set in the 1920's which introduced the character of David Martin as well as providing a backstory for Sempere and Sons bookshop. `The Prisoner of Heaven' is the third instalment in...
Published on 21 Jun 2012 by I Readalot

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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Slightly deflated...
I write here as a lover, not a hater, of the author.

But in this instance I feel underwhelmed and disappointed. Perhaps I built this book into something that it wasn't supposed to be, I loved Shadow of the Wind and enjoyed The Angels Game. The former is a standout, stand alone book, I went to Barcelona after reading it and looked at every door imagining the...
Published 24 months ago by Keith


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147 of 150 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mainly Fermin's story, 21 Jun 2012
By 
I Readalot (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Prisoner of Heaven (Hardcover)
I first entered `The Cemetery of Forgotten Books' in 2003 and `The Shadow of the Wind' instantly became one of my favourite novels of all time. 'Then came the darkness of `The Angel's Game' set in the 1920's which introduced the character of David Martin as well as providing a backstory for Sempere and Sons bookshop. `The Prisoner of Heaven' is the third instalment in what has been called a cycle rather than a series and can be read in any order (according to a note at the front of this volume). It begins shortly before Christmas in 1957 and through characters and narrative threads it links the first 2 novels with Fermin taking centre stage.

A stranger enters the bookshop while Daniel is alone and buys a rare edition of `The Count of Monte Cristo' which he inscribes and leaves with a confused Daniel to deliver. Who is this man and how does he know Fermin? Fermin reveals his long and complex history to Daniel, a history which includes David Martin. `The Count of Monte Cristo' plays a central role in this novel in the same way that `Great Expectations' was central to the events of `The Angel's Game'. I read `The Prisoner of Heaven' in one sitting and on finishing it I immediately turned back to `The Angel's Game' which I am reading differently now that I know more of David Martin's history.

This is not another `Shadow of the Wind' but it is an atmospheric and beautifully written novel full of mystery and intrigue and peopled by characters who have become old friends. It adds to the Gothic world that Zafon has created, a world where books are important and powerful and where every book deserves to be saved. His books also explore the very nature of writing, the struggles and obstacles that have to be overcome. Also, as a bookseller I particularly enjoy the descriptions of Sempere and Sons, the kind of bookshop that is unfortunately becoming harder to find. Zafon's love of language and books shines through in `The Cemetery of Forgotten Books' cycle and anyone who loves books should read them.

There is a cinematic quality to the writing and many people wonder why they haven't been made into films, quite simply it is because Zafon does not want this to happen, and basically saying that some books should stay as books , I have no argument with that.

As with any translated novel the choice of translator can make or break, Zafon has found his perfect match with Lucia Graves, I could quite easily believe that they had all been written in English.

Since posting this review I watched a 'Meet the Author' interview with Zafon on the BBC News Channel. He is currently working on the 4th instalment of the cycle and it is to be a Gothic, operatic finale, sounds good to me.

Fans of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books cycle may be interested to know that if you go to Zafon's website you can download music that he has composed and performs as a 'soundtrack' to 'Shadow of the Wind' and 'Angel's Game', some people can be too talented!
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Slightly deflated..., 31 July 2012
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This review is from: The Prisoner of Heaven (Hardcover)
I write here as a lover, not a hater, of the author.

But in this instance I feel underwhelmed and disappointed. Perhaps I built this book into something that it wasn't supposed to be, I loved Shadow of the Wind and enjoyed The Angels Game. The former is a standout, stand alone book, I went to Barcelona after reading it and looked at every door imagining the Cemetery of Forgotten Books...

Anyway, if you have not read Shadow of the Wind and The Angels Game do not buy this book (yet). It's simply not possible to read this book on its own, with many plots and characters backwardly made...

Overall, this is a book dedicated to Fermin giving more detail to his colourful past, which is again well written and shows great depth of description (you can smell Montjuic Castle in its rotten past and Fermin is a great character). But, without introducing any spoilers, I found too many subplots opened and new characters introduced which were then just left by the side. Perhaps to feature in the next book, but I wanted more now; overall I feel I have read half a book...

When I expected more tension and completeness I found an ending. Of the plot that did start and ended in the book, the flow felt a little rushed and sequences of plot a little too easy to find/solve (the art of discovery throughout a little too easy for me). Questions I wanted answering though didn't, for example where did the 1000 pesata note come from (not a spoiler)?? It almost feels that the last of the quadology (or whatever four book sequences are called) was in the Authors mind writing this and he wanted this story to be over as quickly as possible. For me this book needed more depth more story, and not a Hollywood type ending of what happens next...

My last comment being Shadow of the Wind is my favourite book, read that and read this...but perhaps wait for the 4th book to be released.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not quite 'Shadow', but still highly enjoyable, 4 July 2012
This review is from: The Prisoner of Heaven (Hardcover)
I have read all of Zafon's translated works and he is one of my favourite authors. I waited a long time in anticipation for `Prisoner' to be released and managed to bag a copy the day before my holiday. Surrounded by sand, sea, bucket and spade, I was disappointed to discover that, despite a summer publication date, the story was set at Christmas time; however, it didn't take long to overlook the fairy lights and nativity scenes and become gripped by the story. At times, the book was utterly un-put-down-able.

I'm still feeling confused by how absorbing the novel was since the plot lacks the complexity of `Shadow' and `Angel's Game' and feels considerably narrower, largely focusing on Daniel's friend and book shop colleague Fermin. There's less mystery too and the twists and turns aren't nearly as impressive as its predecessors'. And yet, I still found it hard to put the book down. Zafon is a master at pace and cliff-hangers and casts atmospheric webs that keep you trapped inside the novel long after you've finished reading. One senses he could write the story of the three little pigs and still make it gripping.

The characters are Zafon's customary larger-than-life heroes and villains and are beautifully drawn. Valls, the director of the prison where most of the story is set, is a wonderfully wicked, and often a-typical, bad guy. The prison itself is also beautifully drawn and Lucia Graves' translation ensures we are chilled by its brooding presence at the dark deeds that go on within its walls.

For me, the draw of Zafon's cycle of novels is the unashamed indulgence in dusty old books, mysterious messages, creepy buildings and shadowy figures. `Prisoner' is more restrained with these themes, but their presence is still strong enough to prevent disappointment among fans. Moreover, Zafon's sense of adventure and apparent love of books is as palpable as ever.

A note for those new to Zafon: the book is probably best considered a spin-off tale rather than a fully-rounded novel. Unlike the other two parts of the cycle, `Prisoner' doesn't work hard enough at being a stand-alone piece as well. The author suggests in a note on the text that the three books can be read in any order because they all lead back to the same centre; however, I would personally recommend that new readers read at least `The Shadow of the Wind' first.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastico!, 26 Aug 2012
By 
T. Knowles "epd" (uk) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Prisoner of Heaven (Hardcover)
Shadow of the wind is my favourite book of all time and I must admit to being a little disappointed by the sequel. However, Prisoner of Heaven is absolutely gripping from the start and is left wide open at the end for the next one too(yippee)

I always know a book has got me when I'm so far in that I shed a tear at the end and feel deflated that the book has ended; this is that novel.

Start with shadow of the wind but make sure you read this one. It is brilliant; you won't be disappointed.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An evocative telling of Fermins' past., 5 Aug 2012
This review is from: The Prisoner of Heaven (Hardcover)
This third novel in 'the cemetery of forgotten books' series swept me along. Zafon's skill in telling a compelling story with ease and fluency captivated me and kept me hooked throughout.

There was a simplicity to the construction of this book which made the story far easier to follow than the convoluted labyrinth of smoking mirrors that was 'The Angels Game'.

It is obvious that the story is incomplete at the end and there are many more twists and turns ahead in the lives of Daniel Sempere and the wonderful creation that is Fermin Rodrigo Del Torres.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A brilliantly intricate gothic tale, 13 Aug 2013
By 
Macey89 - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Prisoner of Heaven (Paperback)
The Prisoner of Heaven tells the story of Fermin Romero de Torres - mentioned in Zafon's previous novels but coming to a forefront here. Imprisoned in horrifying conditions by the regime during the Spanish Civil War, Fermin crosses paths with some of the most detestable and terrifying figures of the Spanish authority. Condemned to a prison where so called 'enemies of the state' are sent to die, his fellow cell mates and gaolers are varying degrees of crazy and intensely dangerous.

To survive, Fermin must put his trust in a man whose sanity is increasingly called into question, a brilliant but eccentric writer named David Martin. The words that pass between them and the pact they make within the prison walls will continue to reverberate for years to come. When a man from his past arrives on his doorstep, Fermin is forced to confront his worst memories and to relive a previous life. And as his story comes to light, it becomes clear that the past never truly stays in the past.

As with all of Zafon's previous works, The Prisoner of Heaven is beautifully written and creates a brilliantly dark and realistic vision of post-war Spain. But ultimately what he does so well is to capture the magic and the mystery of the unknown. The skill with which he writes invites the reader to make their own connections, to see the scene as it continues to play out on the pages and to draw their own conclusions.

For me, The Prisoner of Heaven lacked some of the magic of Zafon's previous novels. While it started off very much in the dark gothic vein that we've come to know him for, it soon diverged into a more straightforward, but no less sinister, plot. Still, there's no denying that Zafon is a master storyteller, weaving together narratives to create a story with just the right amount of tension, pace and humour.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Slightly disappointing, 12 Sep 2012
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This review is from: The Prisoner of Heaven (Hardcover)
I loved "Shadow of the Wind" by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, so was very excited about his new book "Prisoner of Heaven" which is part of the same series of books. "Prisoner of Heaven" was easy to read and absorbing - I read it in a couple of days. However for me it lacked the depth of "Shadow of the Wind", nor did it contain the beautiful use of language that "Shadow of the Wind" did. That being said, it has been a number of years since I read "Shadow of the WInd" and "Angel's Game" and now that I have read "Prisoner of Heaven" I am inspired to re-read them together, because I feel I might have got more out of "Prisoner of Heaven" if it hadn't been so long since I read "Shadow of the Wind". In conclusion, if you have read his other books, you should read "Prisoner of Heaven", but be warned that it doesn't quite live up to the high standards set by "Shadow of the Wind".
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply wonderful., 21 Aug 2012
By 
Miss R. J. Green "Motte Grenet" (Tewkesbury, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: The Prisoner of Heaven (Hardcover)
As a huge fan of Carlos Ruiz Zafon, and an ex-inhabitant of Barcelona, I adore his work. I feel like I am back in my old town, drawn back into the past and transported into a surreal world ofliterature and fascinating people. I have waited so long for this book to be published and The Prisoner of Heaven does not disappoint. An amazing read, delving further into the Sempere family and their friends.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A return to greatness, 20 Aug 2012
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This review is from: The Prisoner of Heaven (Hardcover)
This book continues the story from "Shadow of the Wind", and concentrates on Fermin's story although Daniel is also still a main character. After being disappointed in "The Angel's Game"(the second book in the series), this is a return to form as it is a real page turner and hooks you in from the first page. Much like "Shadow" it is totally gripping and sometimes almost too awful to read, but manages to walk a fine line keeping just the right side of too much horror. All in all I loved it and can't wait for the fourth volume. Let's hope we don't have to wait too long.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars zafon, 19 Aug 2012
Excellently written, was taken from the very first pages and kept my interest all the way through. Brilliant author, can't wait for the next book.
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The Prisoner of Heaven
The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (Paperback - 11 April 2013)
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