Book: Cathedral of the Sea
Author: Ildefonso Falcones
Recommend: If you like classic literature like Les Miserables and The Count of Monte Cristo
I got this book from the library on my nook while searching through some historical fiction on the website (hence the heavy amounts of historical fiction reviews lately). I decided to read it hoping I would be less disappointed with it than I was with The Alchemist.
Okay- I started this book and I loved it. Then I got about a third of the way in and I hated it. Then as it reached the end I decided that I really liked it a lot after all.
The book tells the story of a family in Spain during the 1300s. It begins with the story of the parents and ends with the son. Once I read the whole way through it made sense but for me the pacing left something to be desired. As the reader you begin to empathize with the two people that you think will be your main characters to find out that a third of the way through the book that whoops, you were wrong. Instead the son is the center of the story. For a while a had a hard time connecting with him as the main character because I had become so attached to the father, and just as I started to get attached- they sent him to war. I don’t know about the rest of you but quite often war is the thing I find the least interesting in a book. It becomes all about who won the battle and strategy instead of the main character. The last part of the book however, almost completely made up for the center section of it.
It almost felt like a cross between two of my favorite classical works, Les Miserables and The Count of Monte Cristo, but it lacks something that makes the two of them so amazing. I wouldn’t say it is the worst book I have ever read by far, but it’s not one that I am clamoring to add to my collection either. If I find a copy of it for a reasonable price at a used book store though I might be persuaded to pick it up over the summer.
I have to admit- that much of the actual writing is top rate. The way he writes echos some of the greatest novelists of all time. He definitely is a talented man, I just think that the plot needed a bit more work. I would love to read something else written by him again though!
I warn you now, the middle bit is painful to get through but if you can make it, the ending is good 🙂 Good luck!