4 Rated Books Book Reviews

Book Review: The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Title: The Prisoner of Heaven

Author: Carlos Ruiz Zafón / Translated by Julia Graves

Genre: Literary Fiction, Historical, Thriller

Publisher: Harper Collins / Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Publication date: July 2012 / June 2012
Hardcover: 279 pages

Barcelona, 1957. It is the week before Christmas in the Sempere & Sons bookshop. Daniel Sempere has married the love of his life, Bea, and they have had a son whilst their partner in crime, Fermín, is busy preparing for his wedding to Bernarda in the New Year. Just when it seems as if luck is finally smiling on them, a mysterious figure with a pronounced limp enters the shop. He insists on buying the most expensive volume on display—a beautiful illustrated edition of The Count of Monte Cristo—and then proceeds to inscribe the book with the words ‘For Fermín Romero de Torres, who came back from the dead and who holds the key to the future’.

Who is this man and what does he want of Fermín? The answer lies in a terrible secret that has lain hidden for two decades, an epic tale of imprisonment, betrayal, murder and love that leads back into the very heart of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books.

Stand alone or series: Book 3 of The Cemetery of Forgotten Books series

How did I get this book: Bought

Why did I read this book: The first book in the series The Shadow of the Wind is simply one of my favourite books of all time. Although I loathed the second book in the series The Angel’s Game as well as The Midnight Palace a book in a different series, I wanted to give his books one last try.


WARNING! This post contains spoilers!!

Oh, The Prisoner of Heaven, WHY? WHY?

You will have to excuse this sudden display of emotional distress. But I am overcome with feelings and they must be exorcized here.

A few years ago I read The Shadow of the Wind, a tremendous Gothic thriller with labyrinthine storytelling, a wonderful sense of setting, beautiful writing and incredible characters. It soon became a favourite. I do recognise its problems especially those concerning the depiction of female characters but since everything else about that book was so good, I was able to enjoy it to a great extent. That said, I always felt that the The Shadow of the Wind was a standalone novel, its main story a self-contained affair – even though there was indeed potential for more stories in that world.

Cue a few years later and the author published a prequel entitled The Angel’s Game. Although the same beautiful prose was present, the book turned out to be a great disappointment. A meandering plot, clichéd characters and a GOTCHA open-for-interpretation clumsy ending and a very loose connection to The Shadow of the Wind made the cynical in me believe The Angel’s Game to be an afterthought to capitalise on the huge success of that first book.

Cue to a few years later and we now have The Prisoner of Heaven. A small introduction tells us that this is part of a cycle of novels in the same literary universe and this labyrinth of stories “when woven together lead to the heart of the narrative”.

The Prisoner of Heaven is then, as a matter of fact, the third book in what is now, excuse my French, a freaking quartet!

In all fairness there is nothing wrong with this idea in principle but in reality, I find its execution to be clumsy and exploitative.

The Prisoner of Heaven is narrated once more by The Shadow of the Wind’s hero Daniel Sempere – now married to Bea and with a young child, running the Sempere and Sons bookstore alongside his father. Business is not good and the two Semperes are struggling to make ends meet. Happiness is on the horizon though, as their close friend Fermín Romero de Torres is about to wed Bernarda, the love of his life. But there is something bothering Fermín and he is not his usual upbeat self. Just then, a strange figure walks into the bookstore and leaves a message for Fermín that says:

“For Fermín Romero de Torres, who came back from among the dead and holds the key to the future.”

This prompts Daniel to question Fermín about his past and those revelations will change everything Daniel knows about not only Fermín but also about his own family.

Ostensibly, The Prisoner of Heaven is Fermín’s book. The vast majority of the book is his account of his prison time at the infamous Montjuïc castle where during the days of Franco’s dictatorship (in the 40s), political prisoners where held and “disappeared”. The depiction of the prison and how the prisoners suffered was horrific and affecting.

It is there that Fermín becomes friends with David Martin, no other than the narrator of The Angel’s Game (!!!!!) (I shall go back to this astounding piece of information later). I have to say though that the description of the horrors suffered by the prisoners inside the prison were completely cheapened by Fermín’s daredevil escape – in the fashion of Count of Monte Cristo, a scheme devised and organised by David Martin. On that front one must ask: why didn’t David organise his own escape? Because it didn’t suit this story, that’s why.

Mind you, there are good things about The Prisoner of Heaven. The writing is still captivating and Fermín is his usual lovable self. In fact, Fermín remains a favourite character of mine. His resilience, his heroism, his wits and sense of humour are what make The Prisoner of Heaven at least readable.

The Prisoner of Heaven has a series of mysteries that are investigated by Daniel and Fermín and this construct as well as the very nature of those mysteries were utterly familiar. The “who is this figure who left the message”, the “why is this happening”, the “villain of this story is a piece of shit policeman” are just SO MUCH like The Shadow of the Wind it’s not even funny.

But the two main problems I had with The Prisoner of Heaven are the way that it rewrites the story of the first two books, and the depiction of the female characters.

With regards to the former: all of a sudden, we learn that through his friendship with David Martin, Fermín has been a part of the Semperes’ life ALL ALONG. That he knew about them, and has been following Daniel since he was a child. All of a sudden, Daniel’s mother Isabella was murdered as a part of this plot. All of a sudden, David Martin himself is a hero and we are led to question once again his already extremely unreliable narrative in The Angel’s Game. I get the feeling that this is supposed to enrich the story, to deepen it with the promised “narrative links” of the introduction. In reality, to me, this has done nothing but to cheapen the stories told so far. I do appreciate that this is a very personal reaction though and I am sure other readers will feel differently.

Which brings me to the problematic depiction of the female characters. Although I was able to love the first book despite this obvious problem, I found that this trend has been amplified in The Prisoner of Heaven in a way that it jumps from the pages. The vast majority of the female characters in this series are either prostitutes with a Heart of Gold (always, always described as being past “their prime”, poor souls to be pitied and lied to about their crumbling beauty) or Impossibly Beautiful Tragic/Angelic figures. Most of the female characters are victims. They are there to be protected, avenged or suspected of foul play.

One of the secondary storylines depicts Daniel finding a letter in Bea’s possession – which, by the way, he opens and reads– and when it turns out to be a love letter from her ex-fiancée, Bea becomes the object of Daniel’s suspicion. This is never fully addressed in the narrative directly with Bea, who never finds out about his suspicions. It is always about Daniel, about what he will do, how he will deal with this. He suspects her because she is too beautiful. To add insult to the injury, toward the end of the novel, there is one random chapter when the narrative is from Bernarda and Bea’s PoV and it is entirely about the men in their lives.

Ultimately, The Prisoner of Heaven reads like a filler novella. It is short, its narrative is full of shortcuts, it is nowhere near as well executed as The Shadow of the Wind and most exasperating of all, it ends on a maddening cliff-hanger in preparation for the final book.

I feel no desire to read the last book in this (now) quartet. In fact, I am done with Zafon’s books for good. It should tell you something that instead of feeling sad, I actually feel relieved for having made this decision.

Notable Quotes/ Parts:

Barcelona, December 1957

That year at Christmas time, every morning dawned laced with frost under leaden skies. A bluish hue tinged the city and people walked by, wrapped up to their ears and drawing lines of vapour with their breath in the cold air. Very few stopped to gaze at the shop window of Sempere & Sons; fewer still ventured inside to ask for that lost book that had been waiting for them all their lives and whose sale, poetic fancies aside, would have contributed to shoring up the bookshop’s ailing finances.

‘I think today will be the day. Today our luck will change,’ I proclaimed on the wings of the first coffee of the day, pure optimism
in a liquid state.

My father, who had been battling with the ledger since eight o’clock that morning, twiddling his pencil and rubber, looked up from the counter and eyed the procession of elusive clients disappearing down the street.

‘May heaven hear you, Daniel, because at this rate, if we don’t make up our losses over the Christmas season, we won’t even be able to pay the electricity bill in January. We’re going to have to do something.’

‘Fermín had an idea yesterday,’ I offered. ‘He thinks it’s a brilliant plan that’ll save the bookshop from imminent bankruptcy.’

‘Lord help us.’

I quoted Fermín, word for word:

‘Perhaps if by chance I was seen arranging the shop window in my underpants, some lady in need of strong literary emotions would be drawn in and inspired to part with a bit of hard cash. According to expert opinion, the future of literature depends on women and as God is my witness the female is yet to be born who can resist the primal allure of this stupendous physique,’ I recited.

I heard my father’s pencil fall to the floor behind me and I turned round.

‘So saith Fermín,’ I added.

Rating: 4 – Bad but not without some merit.

Reading Next: Preloved by Shirley Marr

Buy the Book:

Ebook available for kindle US, kindle UK, google, nook and sony

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  • Andria Buchanan
    July 23, 2012 at 4:44 am

    Ah man, I hate when that happens with a book. It seems like it even ruins the good ones somehow when bad ones come out afterwards.

  • The Mad Hatter
    July 23, 2012 at 5:12 am

    Zafon acknowledged that this was going to be a series from the start although it was pitched more as a mosaic. I too had deep problems with The Angel’s Game, but still got lost in the writing. The Prisoner of Heaven has been growing on me, but does feel very light in comparison to the other novels. The Shadow of the Wind still stands as one of my favorite novels.

  • Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
    July 23, 2012 at 5:16 am

    Balls! I was so excited about this and The Angel’s Game, because I freaking loved The Shadow of the Wind. Why write more if you’re not going to do justice to the original book? Wah!

    Actually, that is definitely a pet peeve of mine. Writers should not turn what was intended to be a standalone into a series just because. Generally, this ends up being made of fail. If you said one book, write just one, unless you legitimately have the best idea ever. If you said trilogy, just do three.

    Lois Lowry with The Giver’s much belated sequels
    Mary E. Pearson adding follow-up books to The Adoration of Jenna Fox
    Cassandra Clare turning TMI from a trilogy to ‘as many books as will sell’

    These are just the ones I can think of off of the top of my head. It’s just such a shame!

  • Ana
    July 23, 2012 at 5:35 am

    @ Mat Hatter – Soon after I read Shadow more than 6 yeas ago (I think) I remember a lot of speculation about whether there would be a sequel or not. I remember that there were talks about other books “set in Barcelona” but I never thought they would be so deeply interconnected.

    There is also this interview in 2008 in which he said point blank:

    “I never meant to write a sequential saga, or a series of sequels of sorts. The idea is to write stories around this literary universe centered around the cemetery of forgotten books, exploring this gothic, mysterious universe through different characters and storylines. As you say, perhaps it would have been more commercialy advisable to do that, to write a straight sequel and pick up the story where we left it, but it was never my idea to do so and I think it is more interesting to play around with the narrative spaces and lines to pull the reader into a fictional universe that plays by its own rules.”

    I don’t know, this is not at all what The Prisoner of Heaven turned out to be…it just creates certain expectations you know? I think it is an interesting interview that points to the fact that he might have changed his mind half way through. Meaning to me, that this whole arc was not there to start with and that’s exactly what I got from reading the books. I also still adore Shadow.

    ETA: I think that what I am trying to say is that I feel it is really disingenuous to say that this series is loosely connected via the Cemetery of Forgotten Books when clearly they are actually connected via its characters as shown in PoH? I mean, there is ONE minor scene in PoH taking place in the Cemetery and it has barely any hold on the storyline at all.

  • Elizabeth
    July 23, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    I agree that nothing can top SHADOW OF THE WIND….my all-time favorite book. 🙂

    I didn’t like THE ANGEL’S GAME as well either.

    Thanks for the heads up about this new book. My son is reading it, and isn’t too impressed either. I forwarded him your thoughts.


    Silver’s Reviews

  • Elizabeth
    July 23, 2012 at 5:34 pm


  • Elizabeth
    July 23, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    Why won’t my long reply post?

  • Monica B.
    July 23, 2012 at 7:56 pm

    I also had a similar reaction as I read through Zafon’s books. Like you, I was captivated and completely immersed in The Shadow of the Wind. Of course the first thing I did right after was buy the next novel/prequel.

    For some reason that I can’t explain, it was at that point that I felt that the whole thing became kitschy. I wanted to love it, but I couldn’t help but feel like Zafon was just a one trick pony and was desperately pulling strings for an “AHA! DIDN’T SEE THAT DIDJA?!” moment.

    At this point.. I just feel a huge sense of apprehension and dread when he releases another book as it usually equates to undermining characters that I like or forcing convenient explanations that don’t live up to expectations. It’s just.. ugh. Stop.

  • Ana
    July 23, 2012 at 10:55 pm

    Elizabeth, sorry about that but your first comment got stuck in the junk folder for some reason. I just approved it!

  • Laurie London
    July 24, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    Great write-up, Ana. I’ve never visited before, but I’ve seen you on the interwebs. 🙂 Count me as another giant fan of Shadow of the Wind. It’s one of my all time favorites.

    I *just* finished the audio version of Prisoner of Heaven and decided to see what others thought of it. Although I loved it (his writing style always draws me in), I was surprised when it ended. Like you said, many issues he touched on weren’t fully explored. I kept expecting him to return to them. The book’s purpose seemed primarily to fill in some of the blanks and backstories in the other two books, and to set up the 4th and final book.

    Last week, he visited a local indie bookstore here and repeated what he said in that interview you linked. He mentioned how the stories are connected like a labyrinth (someone asked, “Like the CoFB?” and he said, “Yes.”), but it’s not a typical series because they can be read in any order. After having read/listened to PoH, I’m not sure I agree with him. If PoH is the first one someone reads, they’ll probably be confused. Plus, not a lot happens. Most of the action is backstory, when Fermin talks about what happened to him in the prison. Maybe because I loved the Count of Monte Cristo and find similarities between Dumas’ writing and Zafon’s, I was totally fine with the predictable prison escape. I found myself cheering for him even more because I could guess what was going to happen.

    After finishing PoH, I have the urge to reread Shadow again to figure out how it all fits together. I can’t remember how Fermin and Daniel first cross paths. Knowing now that it couldn’t be by chance, I wonder if I’ll have a different reading experience.

  • Ana
    July 25, 2012 at 2:21 am

    Hi Laurie

    thanks for visiting and leaving the comment. 🙂

    He mentioned how the stories are connected like a labyrinth (someone asked, “Like the CoFB?” and he said, “Yes.”), but it’s not a typical series because they can be read in any order.

    This is what the intro to PoH says as well and just like you, I completely disagree.

    I keep thinking about re-reading Shadow some day but I fear it might ruin my memories of the book. For now, I think I will keep the good memories of the good times we had.

  • Laurie London
    July 25, 2012 at 7:21 am

    Good point! I’d hate to reread it and find that I didn’t love it as much as I did the first time.

  • debbie9703
    August 19, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    Ok, I just finished Prisoner of Heaven and now I have a stupid question.Who was the prisoner of heaven? At the wedding in the end of the book, Daniel sees a person he thinks could be the prisoner. I think they mentioned who it was in the first part of the book but I do not want to go back searching. Was it David Martin?

  • [Gothic Mystery Review] The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafon | The Bawdy Book Blog
    August 22, 2012 at 2:01 am

    […] Publisher: HarperCollins Publish Date: July 2012 ISBN13: 9780062206282 Genre: Gothic Mystery Ages: 16 and up Liked It: Leeswamme’s Blog Loathed It: The Book Smugglers […]

  • Mike M
    August 22, 2012 at 2:30 am

    I share the same feelings as most of the reviewers. I just finished PoH, and I have to say that it left me with a mixture of feelings. On one side, I am satisfied because it takes the whole CoFB universe back into reality and away from the supernatural and strange setting of TAG. I understand his previous comments and all, but if TAG was made with the intention to be David Martin’s work as he knew it himself, then it is a really interesting literary ploy. Looking back, this is not entirely implausible. For long stretches of TAG, I suspected whether David Martin was hallucinating and actually used Cornelli as a mental escape for the murders that he committed. And there are subtle enough hints in the book to suggest this. The book also spirals into a maddening maze at times, perhaps to reflect David Martin’s state of mind as well. The explanation that DM suffered from Schizophrenia makes the ending of TAG a lot more believable – as this was DM’s “safe place” – that island where he can watch his beloved grow, and become a couple again.
    From what I remembered in SoTW, Fermin does tell Daniel that he’s known him for longer than he knows. But it was so brief that it was taken as part of his flamboyant expressions.
    What I did not like, was how brief this book was and devoid of substance. It served as a backdrop, but it lacked urgency in the present time. The crippled was not very menacing, Valls never appears, and the issues were resolved in 2-3 pages chapters. The whole style found SoTW and partly in a maddening way in TAG, is lost here. And that is what I have most problems with.
    I am looking forward to the 4th book actually. If he can tie everything nicely, the way he did SoTW (which was very very nicely tied up), then it will be a superb series. TAG will stand as a confounder, an autobiography of a madman – written in his own words in order to obsolve himself from his sins. But things might not have happened the way TAG described, and we’ll get the answers in the 4th book. It is actually quite interesting I think.

  • Iren
    September 12, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    I just finished the book and have a very mixed feeling about it. It is very nicely written, prose-wise, and lack of action doesn’t diminishes it in the slightest but for me the book lacks the substance. Almost _none_ of mysteries introduced in the book are solved in any way. Why Vall stopped with his public appearances? How did David Martin escape? Who stole the treasure? Where Bea was that night and why Cascos was ordered to connect with her? What the paper note in the ending means? When the stranger walked into the bookstore at the beginning and with a grand gesture bought the book I was exited, but the resolution of it turned to be too fast and too simple. Too many hooks, too little water in a pond.

    With the other hand, I liked David Martin’s pieces and I like how Corelli can be imagined both as a mystical force and a result of madness even if “The Prisoner of Heaven” puts more weight on the second version. What I found strange that there is much less connection to the Julian Carax in the book which I’m in retrospect almost strangely grateful for.

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    November 14, 2012 at 1:23 pm

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  • cheryl
    November 21, 2012 at 8:27 am

    I’m glad to read that another person (Iren) had questions about the book. I do, too. Especially the ending. Why did both Valls and Martin disappear and are they the same person? (the note in the book at the cemetary & at the gravesite are the same) And who was the stranger in the beginning (Valls or Martin). Hm…

  • Heather Zundel
    December 4, 2012 at 5:20 pm

    Just finished The Angel’s Game and have to comment that I freaking LOVED it! I took as long as I could to make it last. Read Shadow a while ago and forgot (short term memory) a lot of the connections, Loved it, and think Angel’s Game is just as good. Seems better even now because I just finished it:)

  • Chase
    December 10, 2012 at 7:26 pm

    I think you are a little off in your thoughts about women in the book. Daniel suspecting Bea of cheating says more negative things about Daniel than it does Bea. Actually, the books turns out to show that Bea is practically flawless. Beautiful, faithful, and a dedicated wife and mother. Bea is always portrayed as a strong character through out The Prisoner of Heaven. Even Bernarda is displayed as a strong independent woman.

    Also, the prostitutes through out the books are a pure reflection of the men who are with them. Fermin is a beggar when he meets Rociito, yet there is no mention of that fact in your critical analysis. Fermin is a victim throughout the entire book, yet you just point out that the women are victims.

    I find it a little harsh that you pull out only the negative characteristics of every woman character in the series and act as if the men are not portrayed with negativity. It’s ironically sexist. You’re defending the women while disregarding the men entirely. Almost every character, men AND women, are victims. Every character has flaws. Not just the women.

    I’m trying to gain a grip on the reason as to why everyone detests the book based on the sole fact that it’s not as good as Shadow of the Wind. For instance, if you compared Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel to one of his more mediocre pieces, certainly the mediocre piece would dull in comparison. But compare that same mediocre piece by Michelangelo to the average work of a common street artist and you may find that it is actually a beautiful piece. All three of the books so far are entire books in themselves, only bounded by this gothic universe that Zafon has created. The Shadow of the Wind is a masterpiece of intertwining relationships and of constant mistakes that made me terribly sad at some points. The Angel’s Game is a haunting and intimate tale that is doomed from the beginning, captured in a way that reflects the madness of the main character and written in an entirely different way than Shadow of the Wind. The Prisoner of Heaven is an almost re-awakening of Shadow of the Wind, yet doesn’t fall so dark into despair because Daniel isn’t the same character he was in Shadow of the Wind. He is wiser and more fulfilled, which doesn’t lead him into such dark circumstances that we see in Shadow of the Wind.

    I just don’t think we should compare books that weren’t meant to be compared. Just because his third book doesn’t cut as deep as his first, doesn’t make it a terrible book.

  • Vic
    December 12, 2012 at 6:23 am

    As much as I enjoyed all three novels of Ruiz Zafon (as most commented, the first more than the other two), comparing his work, even only as an analogy, to that of Michelangelo is a hybris. One has to put things into perspective. Ruiz Zafon’s work, even though it contains several interesting remarks on human nature, is nothing more than a conglomeration of different genres: a bit of mystery, a bit of romance, a bit of action, a bit of history, mixed with a strong dose of mainstream occultism. There is nothing sublime in this work to justify the nowadays so easily attributed word “masterpiece” to it.
    P.S. I have to agree with Ana, three is enough, I’ve lost interest, even for entertainment’s sake, in reading the fourth book.

  • Chase
    December 12, 2012 at 11:47 am

    You’re right Vic. I forgot how easy it was to blend 5 genres into one series while also making several interesting remarks on human nature. That really is an uninteresting concept worth criticizing and belittling.

    On another note, I referred to Shadow of the Wind as a masterpiece, which you agreed was the best book of the series, and I think we would all agree his best work thus far.

    – noun
    1. a person’s greatest piece of work, as in an art.

    This is the definition of the nowadays so easily attributed word masterpiece that I was using.

  • Vic
    December 12, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    If a masterpiece is a person’s greatest piece of work, everyone seems to deserve their very own personal masterpiece, according to your definition of the term. I humbly bow before yours in admiration, since I haven’t been bestowed by nature with the gift of producing one of my own (or recognizing one ever so often around me for that matter), and retire from this chat, as I do not want to take advantage of the hospitality of Ana, whose review of the book I very much appreciated.

  • Chase
    December 12, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    That definition was taken directly from the dictionary. So unless I wrote the dictionary, that’s not my definition of the term.

  • Alex
    December 29, 2012 at 11:42 am

    Chase, thanks for your post. I was thinking exactly what you wrote as I was reading the other posts. While it seems that this opinion is in the minority, the popularity of his books cannot be denied. Perhaps I am merely one of the masses, but I too enjoyed this installment of Zafón’s series. I am in agreement that they are each written with the same masterful prose but with distinctive narrative styles. It’s a testament to the author’s character development skills that each can be so distinctive. They should indeed not be compared. Not only have I not lost interest, I look forward to the next novel.

  • Karthik
    January 15, 2013 at 4:48 am

    I acknowledge the truth in what you say, except for the part about why David didn’t escape. Anyone who read The Angel’s Game will know exactly how much David despises himself. He doesn’t want to escape. Also, if he tries, he knows Isabella and her family will be ruined. That’s why he only leaves after he finds out that Isabella is dead.
    I’m curious; where does this fit into The Angel’s Game? After the ending but before the epilogue on the beach? I’m not sure…

  • Karthik
    January 15, 2013 at 4:53 am

    Also, on your view about the women– I have to admit that generally, you are right. But Christina was not like that, and don’t forget that Isabella was named after her hot-tempered grandmother. No protecting her. Also, most of all, Bernarda is neither beautiful nor a prostitute.

  • Lizzie
    February 4, 2013 at 8:26 pm

    Very interesting reading all these reviews as I too didn’t like Prisioner of Heaven. In the last two months I’ve read all three books in the series; I enjoyed Shadow and absolutely loved Angels Game, what a page turner! I couldn’t put it down! How disappointing then when i realized I’m 50 pages from the end of Prisioner and there’s still nothing exciting or interesting happening. The amount of unanswered questions and the final lines of the book point to another book to come but there’s no way I’ll read it, don’t want to risk being disappointed. I’ll be rereading Shadow and Angels shortly so I can get a good feeling back again about Zafon.

  • Nettle
    April 6, 2013 at 10:32 pm

    Who cares whether or not Zafon intended it as a series or a “mosaic” or a stand alone? The Cemetary of Forgeooten books is a brilliant series that has captured not only the essence of a true masterpiece, but also an elegant portrayal of the aspects of humanity that many of us think of but never have the courage to delve into. I loved this series and I sincerely think some of you should stop looking at the peculiarities of it as if it were some sort of school project to be evaluated, and instead look at the meaning Zafon wanted to show through his work. I’m sorry if this offends anyone: if I have, it was not my intention.

  • Nettle
    April 6, 2013 at 10:32 pm


  • mamanez
    September 18, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    I have read the books in order and all started well. Despite the ambiguities of the Angel’s Game, it was an entertaining read. PoH is a good read, if read as a stand alone story. However, as part of the quartet it does not quite work, as David Martin is not in Spain during the civil war. Therefore, he could not have been imprisoned nor would Isabella have been involved in his “care” whilst imprisoned or subjected to the “charms” of Valls…….unless, all the chattering David Martin was doing during his incarceration is The Angel’s Game which he wrote. Could this be the work of a man driven mad by the separation from the love of his life, Isabella, who is married to another, coupled with the horrendous conditions of Montjuic? After all, Valls does not get the story he expected, but possibly he has the outpourings of the confused mind of a man who no longer knows what real and what isn’t……just as we might not know when reading The Angel’s Game……let’s see what is in store for us in the final book.

  • Jennifer
    October 21, 2013 at 5:40 am

    I wish I read this before reading this book, I wouldn’t have been that disappointed if I was prepared, or maybe I wouldn’t have finished it. I loved the first book despite one flaw (it doesn’t really lessen my appreciation, but it’s hard to say it’s a great book if there’s something you really think that it is impossible (and a mistake)… and not just hard to believe)), I really liked a lot the second too.

    But this third one was so annoying. I dislike how Isabella was portrayed, how Daniel played the jealous husband, to have most of the story in the past and not much into the present that seems thrilling. There’s no big conflict at the end, no resolution. Seems more like background story to get into the real 3rd book. Seems more like a book for the editors than a book for the readers.

    I will still read the next book if there are good reviews, because I know the author can write some lovely stories. And there aren’t that many novels that I have enjoyed that much… so I am still not ready to give up this author.

  • Roxane
    October 25, 2013 at 3:53 am

    Same question as Karthik.
    I don’t understand the two different stories about David Martin.
    In Angels Games he comes back only in 1945 tu find out that Isabella was sick and died.
    And in The prisonners of Heaven, apparently he was in Jail in 1939 and Isabella died trying to make him free…

    Can someone explain to me please???

  • Jenný
    August 6, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    I just finished the Prisoner of Heaven and instantly went online to google. I’m so confused! I am, like the other readers above, full of questions and really do want answers! I absolutely loved the Shadow of the Wind, read it in two days and couldn’t stop thinking about it afterwards.

    However, the Angel’s Game took me several months to finish, I kept giving up on it because I found it so slow and confusing. I feel that it could’ve been half as short and still contained all the important information.

    I actually liked the Prisoner of Heaven while I was reading it, I was very happy to find myself back with Fermín and Daniel and in a plot were I understood what was happening, unlike the Angel’s Game. I finished it in one day and found Fermín’s story very exciting and interesting. However, once I realized that the story was almost over I got anxious about how the author was going to finish it off in so few pages. And he didn’t. Like everybody’s been saying, it feels like it’s an unfinished piece of work. And I’m very confused about how David Martin is potraied as having been in love with Isabella when I NEVER got that feeling when reading the Angel’s Game.

    So many unanswered questions, and I’m so in love with these characters and the author’s Barcelona that I’m dying to find out and understand everything! I just hope that the last book will bring us some satisfying answers…

  • Jenný
    August 6, 2014 at 2:51 pm

    Also, when I started my google search I was hoping to find a summary of a sort with the links explained and some of the questions answered (or at least someone trying to), but I was unsuccessful. If somebody knows of a place where I might find some information, please send it to me or comment below!

  • Anonymous
    February 3, 2017 at 5:42 am

    Indeed, the PoH is David Martin and the prisoner could be in the wedding because it’s not clear if he is dead or alive.

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