Thursday, March 14, 2013

Book Tour: The Prisoner of Heaven


As I mentioned last week, I was super excited to join a book tour of the latest in Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s “Cemetery of Forgotten Books” series, The Prisoner of Heaven. So much so that I sped read through its predecessor, The Angel’s Game, in about three days so that I’d be sure to be all caught up in time to read this one (which was, luckily for times’ sake, about half the size of the first two in the series).

So, follow along with me on the timeline through Zafón’s series. In The Shadow of the Wind, we’re in a post-Civil War Barcelona where we meet characters whose pasts were made colorful by influence of the war. Jump to The Angel’s Game and we’re pre-war and with new characters, only encountering those we know in a time before the experiences we’ve shared. Now, in The Prisoner of Heaven, we hop back and forth, gaining a prologue to some characters we know and an epilogue to others.

This story follows Fermín, a colorful character from The Shadow of the Wind with an unending loyalty to the Sempere family and a troubled but mostly unknown past. We know he spent time in prison during the war, and when a stranger from Fermín’s past shows up at the bookstore and leaves him visibly anxious, Daniel drags out all the dark details. Unfortunately, Daniel never expected Fermín’s story to overlap with his own, revealing a very upsetting truth about his own family.

The Prisoner of Heaven has quite a different feel from the first two. Though it features the same characters we’ve met and the same mysteries we’ve followed, it feels more like a respite from the tense action of its predecessors. You can just look at its small size and figure out it won’t feature the same type of expansive, winding plot. Instead, this is the book that links the first two together. It lacks the lingering, intense uncertainty that gave the first two such an eerie tone. Despite the simpler plot, you get the feeling that, in this one, Zafón is giving us important information to continue story.

I don’t think this is a standalone novel to the same extent as the first two (and I know I keep comparing them, but because I see this one as a bridge between the previous two, I can’t help it), though I do think you can read them out of order. Zafón hops around in time from book to book, creating a story that isn’t dependent on proper chronology. It’s a wonderful structure; because there are no linear restrictions, Zafón can take the story any place he can imagine. You’re kept constantly guessing where the story is going to go. However, it’s still an enjoyable story that gives more insight to a delightful character, and it’s a must if you’re already invested in the series. (Hint hint: go read them if you haven’t!)

This post is a stop on The Prisoner of Heaven‘s TLC Book Tour to celebrate its paperback release. And you’re in luck, because the tour has just started!

There will be many more fabulous bloggers posting their opinions in the coming weeks; the tour runs through April 11—visit the tour page to see the schedule and follow the discussion.


Lectus Read said…

I found the beginning of the The Prisoner of Heaven kind of slow and I was starting to think if it'd go anywhere … but then I got to the part in the prison and I couldn't put it down! I liked the previous 2 books more but this one had an unexpected surprise. I'll definitely read the next one because I need to see what happens to evil Mauricio Valls.

HeatherTLC said…

I NEED to read this series … I've heard so many good things, and they sound like exactly my kind of books!

Thanks for being on the tour.

Kari said…

I'm with you about the first two! I did like this little interlude, though, and like I said…I feel like Zafon was giving us information that's going to be important in the future. I hope it all comes together and doesn't let me down!

Kari said…

Go for it! They'll suck you in!