Book Review: Marina by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

The moment I found out that Zafon wrote more than his Cemetery of Forgotten Books series, I instantly wanted to read all the books. Marina by Carlos Ruiz Zafon is a stand alone novel set in Barcelona in the 1970’s. While its gothic feel is similar to Shadow of the Wind (links to review), it is much darker. Marina has a strong Phantom of the Opera feel to it, which made it quite the story to read.


Once again, I was not disappointed by Zafon’s writing ability. He has such a remarkable talent to draw you in and keep you hooked. Something I absolutely love about Zafon’s writing and stories is that he’s able to seamlessly weave together a story with elements from multiple genres, from romance to suspense to sci-fi. 

Like all of his other characters, Oscar and Marina were well written and easily seen in my mind while reading. They were three dimensional and I easily connected with each of them as well as Marina’s father Gérman.

The story follows Oscar after he befriends Marina (and her father), who takes him to a graveyard in an almost forgotten part of post-war Barcelona. There they watch a woman shrouded in all black, even her face, lay a black rose on a gravestone that bears no name only a carving of a black butterfly. It is then that they attempt to follow the black carriage that holds the woman. It’s what they end up finding and the journey they set down that reveals to them a dark and twisted secret that lies beneath the Barcelona streets in the long forgotten tunnels.

The dark and slightly twisted elements of this story actually really surprised me. I knew going in that it would be a darker tale since Zafon tends to write gothic inspired stories, but this was kind of new level, but not quite to super horrifying (I hope that makes sense). The only thing that kind of disappointed me was that the ‘Oscar missing for seven days and nights’ wasn’t a terrible thing or horrifying for him, not really. I kind of expected him to actually just disappear and go on this adventure and then return, but it was more the story leading up to him voluntarily disappearing to figure out the mystery behind the lady shrouded in black and the black butterfly. It ended up more the blurb kind of misleading me, but it didn’t ruin the story, thankfully.

To me, this book is a well written and magical book about relationships with a darker undertone, with that darker element manifesting itself differently for the characters.

Ultimately, this book was another entrancing read from one of my favorite authors and I would definitely recommend it.

marina ig

Have you had the pleasure of reading Marina? What are some of your favorite gothic inspired novels?

Reading Challenge Prompts Satisfied:

Sorry, I’m Booked 2017 Reading Challenge: Book by Hispanic Author

PopSugar 2017 Reading Challenge: Book with Title That is Character’s Name

2 thoughts on “Book Review: Marina by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

  1. I LOVE Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s books. I actually haven’t read this one yet. Have you read Prince of Mist? It’s another one outside of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books series. It was short, but I really enjoyed it.

    Liked by 1 person

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