The Shadow of the Wind
Carlos Ruiz Zafón
Published 2005 (2001) by Penguin
My Goodreads rating: 4 stars
This one isn't exactly a regular genre for me, but I found it at a used bookstore and it looked interesting. I'm so glad I picked it up. I don't know what it is about books translated from Spanish, but the writing is always beautiful. The Shadow of the Wind is no exception. It takes place in 1950s Spain, under the rule of Franco. On a trip with his father, a bookstore owner, Daniel stumbles upon one of the last remaining books by Julian Carax. Someone has been systematically destroying Carax's works, after Carax himself disappeared. Daniel tries to unravel the mystery of these books while avoiding a vindictive police inspector.
Although Daniel is a teenager for most of the book, it is definitely not YA. This is a gorgeously written story that takes into account all aspects of life. There is danger, mystery, romance, family, and of course books. Everything about the story is handled very well. The mystery is excellent; I had no idea what was going on until I was supposed to figure it out. All in all a great read, and if you have any interest in the book, I definitely recommend it.
Published January 12, 2012 by Riverhead (Penguin)
My Goodreads rating: 3 stars
I wouldn't call this book urban fantasy, despite the main character having some paranormal abilities. Rather than fighting ghouls or vampires, Come In and Cover Me revolves around coming to terms with the past, both ancient and recent. Ren has been chasing evidence of a certain potter who died a thousand years ago. Silas stumbled upon a site that he thinks contains the work of the same woman. Their process of discovery is rather different from most archaeologists' because Ren can see ghosts, including the ghosts of the dig sites she visits. There is the obvious difficulty – no one believes her, but it gives her insight no one else has.
This one was unusual (for me) because no one ever tried to kill Silas and Ren. I was kind of hoping it would happen, but it was still a good story, more about the characters knowing and accepting themselves and each other than really about finding any of these bowls they're looking for. The romance, while utterly essential to the story, was quite low-key, which I appreciated. I can't entirely explain why I liked this book, but it was very enjoyable, despite the lack of murder, fighting, and other violence. If you're interested in archaeology and history, give it a try.