Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Book review - “Marina” by Carlos Ruiz Zafón



About the book

"Marina" has a similar veil of mystery as “The shadow of the wind” by the same author, which I had read before. The plot is made of a dark history from the past, solved by two teenagers.

The history takes place in Barcelona, a city described in a very poetic way by the author, making it able for the readers to imagine sights, architecture and landscape. This effort was probably pretty intentional of the author, as not to make Barcelona boring for the readers, since used as a context in other books too.

Writing style

As with any complex stories, a lot of names are involved, which are a little hard to recall and connect to each other once you interrupt the reading by a few days. The storyline goes on quite fast, not leaving you wonder for what seems like an eternity. 

However, the author is actually quite generous on descriptive passages and he gives all the necessary details to emerge the reader into every single scene. I personally believe that is the main factor that makes Zafón a great writer. He can fearlessly stand by the classics in terms of descriptive writing style.

Characters

It’s interesting to state that the main characters (Oscar and Marina) are not introduced thoroughly from the beginning, but they develop through the story instead. Their feelings are also left on a second plot layer most of the time, letting the mystery take all the focus. 

Sometimes secondary characters are described in a few sentences or paragraphs, while special attention is reserved for Marina’s father at the beginning of the book.
 
General thoughts

Quite often, the details of the action scenes are quite intense and scary, making it feel like you’re reading pure fiction, crime and mystery literature, something I found unexpected from Zafón.

A few of the final events and explanations unfolded at the end of the story can be easily guessed, so some things shouldn’t have been treated as a huge mystery to begin with. But then again, it’s two teenagers solving a story which started hunting them against their will, so maybe things should actually be presented as they are – quite terrifying.

Overall, the read is quick, as long as you don’t interrupt more than twice and relatively light. Although the author has build the whole book based on the most universal pillars of life, such as love, wealth, greed, generosity and the need to conquer death, he has still managed to keep it quite light on the top level.

It’s a nice balance between narrative and dialogues, mystery and history, love and action, details and crucial matters.

Of course a few tears were shed at the end, but that could just be my hypersensitive self.

The odd bits

At times one can wonder how people like doctors and police officers open up, trust and reveal they old secrets to two very young people. I wonder what made 15 year olds trustful, appealing and why people told them the truth, while still protecting them from the possible dangers, warning them all the time. They sure had material proofs once or twice, but for the rest of the meetings they had nothing but insecurity, fear and a few of Marina’s “straight to the point” questions and answers.

In general, I was left with a slight feeling that several secondary stories within the book were left unfinished. I wouldn’t mind reading about Oscar’s relationship with his family, because it’s unbelievable for things not to have changed after all he went through.

Tips

- Try not to interrupt the reading more than a couple of times. Ideally, the book is better read from start to finish.
- Pay attention to the story when it is unfold for the first time, as it won’t be explained again as a whole and you’ll find it difficult to keep track of the characters and their relations.
- Appropriate for teens, vacation days or a quick winter read before bed.
- Will be appreciated by all fans of Carlos Ruiz Zafón and everyone that favors an excellent writing style over a fascinating plot.

Read: January 2014
Language: Albanian

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I'd love to know what you think about the book, whether you've read it or not. Also, any other fans of Carlos Ruiz Zafón? I am so glad I discovered him two years ago and truly believe he should be called a classic. 


| Love, Lisa |

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