Narrator: Peter Kenny
Rating: 9 out of 10
Publisher: Harper Audio
Length: 7 hours, 21 minutes
Pages: 288 (print version)
Challenges: 2012 Audio Book Challenge
Synopsis (from the book description): Barcelona, 1957. It is Christmas, and Daniel Sempere and his wife, Bea, have much to celebrate. They have a beautiful new baby son named Julian, and their close friend Fermin Romero de Torres is about to be wed. But their joy is eclipsed when a mysterious stranger visits the Sempere bookshop and threatens to divulge a terrible secret that has been buried for two decades in the city’s dark past. His appearance plunges Fermin and Daniel into a dangerous adventure that will take them back to the 1940s and the early days of Franco’s dictatorship. The terrifying events of that time launch them on a search for the truth that will put into peril everything they love and ultimately transform their lives.
Overall Impression: I’m not usually one to read newly released novels, but there are a few authors who always have me clamoring for their next book. Zafon is one of them. I loved the other two books in this series, The Shadow of the Wind and The Angel’s Game, so I was really excited to get my hands on The Prisoner of Heaven. Problem is, I’m cheap and I didn’t want to buy the hardback. So I put myself on the library hold list, and I was, like, eight-hundred and eleventyeth in line. Then my Audible credit showed up and IT IS MINE ALL MINE!
At only 288 pages, this felt almost like a novella when compared the the first two. It was also less involved and complicated — the plot was fairly straightforward, and the characters were almost all familiar from the other novels in the series. I loved the expansion of Fermin as a character, as well as the appearance of David Martin and the Cemetery of Forgotten Books. and A lot of what happens in this book informs The Angel’s Game, which makes me want to go back and read it, with the understanding that a lot of what happens originates from a crazy space in Martin’s head. Overall, I think I loved it because I was so happy to get back into Zafon’s Barcelona, and visit with the characters again. Was it as deep or twisted as the first two? No. But it was a lovely installment in a series that is one of my absolute favorites. Can’t wait for the fourth (and final?) book!
Positives: I just love the characters and the world that Zafon has built in these novels. It’s dark and crazy yet populated with characters you really come to love (and loathe). Also, Zafon’s writing is absolutely gorgeous.
Negatives: A little short and a little simple compared to the first two.
Narration: Peter Kelley did a fine job, although it felt very British. Some of his accents strayed into that northern British accent that I associate with Mrs. Thornton in North & South.
Other books I’ve listened to narrated by Peter Kenny: none
Other blogger opinions:
Avid Reader’s Musings: “As a standalone novel it didn’t take my breath away like Shadow or get inside my brain like The Angel’s Game, but it is an extension of those books and because of that I love it.”
Man of La Book: “This book is almost impossible to put down, if you liked the first two (especially The Shadow of the Wind), you will love this book is it keeps the same storytelling and most of all, the same wonderful sense of humor.”
S. Krishna: “While The Prisoner of Heaven is interesting and easy to read, it unfortunately lacks much of the magic that swept readers away in previous books.”