My, oh my! I had such great expectations from the book - I know, it's not fair - and I was so disappointed about how it ends I actually don't know anymore if I liked it or not.
It starts OK, nothing spectacular at the beginning (well maybe that episode when David, a journalist at this point, visits the brothel - I still haven't figured out its connection with the rest of the story ), but after the first quarter it gets better and better. Now a writer, David is asked by a mysterious editor to write THE book, something nobody has ever dared to write before, in exchange for an enormous sum of money. When Isabella shows up, the story gets even better. Besides the gothic atmosphere, mystery and religious/supernatural events - which, I have to admit, made my heart skip a beat a few times - I totally loved David-Isabella relationship. Their dialogues are so sparkling and witty and they act so stormy (have I watched too many romantic comedies?) I almost wanted them to hook up. But well, Zafon had other plans and David remains devoted to his one true love, Cristina, which leads to all kind of complicated events, because this is what love does, it complicates our already complicated lives, right?
So, from one point onward the book totally got me (things disappear, people die, houses are burnt), I basically spent my weekend in bed with it, but the last 50 pages (chasing/escaping/fleeting away - so not my cup of tea) were such a bore and the ending so Spanish opera-meets-supernatural, I couldn't take it! I somehow wanted the-always-cool-never-scared David to end his life (heroically or not), but being a 1st person narrative that was quite impossible. So OK, let him live, but what have we done to deserve such a cheesy ending? (not spoiling anything about that :D)
I might be ranting a lot, but don't get me wrong: Zafon has a real talent for story telling and the book is definitely a page-turner; if you're into mystery and thrillers, this is a good choice. And yes, bookworms or Barcelona admirers, for you too!