Monday, 8 February 2010

What Not To Read: Shadow of the Wind

I have friends who will swear this is the best book of the last however-many years, and who claim it stayed with them for months after reading, was unputdownable yadda yadda yadda. I hate to be the dissenter, but this is surely a case of the Emporer's New Clothes: Shadow of the Wind is not any of those things, and I fail to see its appeal. It's so plot-driven and frenetic that the characters have no room or time to develop and grow; they remain little more than names on the page, hardly fleshed out at all. The Barcelona of the story comes across much as the village in Milly Molly Mandy, a series of houses and shops that the characters wander between, experiencing a mini-adventure at each new destination; the map at the front does little to disuade me from the MMM comparison. I found the narrative wholly implausible, even within the world of the book, and by halfway through, I was desperate for the whole saga to end and release me. I love Gothic and I enjoy a twisting tale, but this, despite its enigmatic title, is in fact a poor shadow of both.

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