Cathedral of the Sea
Cathedral of the Sea follows the fortunes of the Estanyol family, from their peasant roots to a son, Arnau, who flees the land only to realize spectacular wealth and devastating problems. During Arnau’s lifetime Barcelona becomes a city of light and darkness, dominated by the construction of the city’s great pride—the cathedral of Santa Maria de la Mar — and by its shame, the deadly Inquisition. As a young man, Arnau joins the powerful guild of stone-workers and helps to build the church with his own hands, while his best friend and adopted brother Joan studies to become a priest. When Arnau, who secretly loves a forbidden Jewish woman named Mar, is betrayed and hauled before the Inquisitor, he finds himself face-to-face with his own brother. Will he lose his life just as his beloved Cathedral of the Sea is finally completed?
What a long read this one has been - 3 months with one book! Definitely not normal for me. I don't know if it was reading it in a new language, or the fact that it is indeed a big book or the story itself, but this one just kept going on and on.
I've read other books while reading this one, usually picking them up because I needed something lighter to read. But that doesn't mean I wasn't liking it. Because I did like it, but can't really say I loved it, either - it was an ok book, full of drama, and intrigue.
As a piece of historical fiction it is great, and it's greater still because I am in the city where it takes place - streets and villages are familiar to me, and I could get a sense of what and where it was happening.
But I think in the end it ended up being too much drama and too long for me to properly enjoy. I liked it while reading, but didn't have an overwhelming urge to know what was going to happen next. But I was able to pick this one up at random times and stop reading for a long time without really losing anything. It is kind of memorable, and but all so pretty much meh...
There must be have been a lot of research made into this (there is a long author's note at the end where I think he explains all the research and where ideas come from, but, surprise surprise, I didn't bother to read), and it shows. But when the fiction begins, and especially with the characters, it falls a bit flat. The characters had depth, and were well thought, but I just couldn't relate with them. Any of them. Which is really sad.
It's a long epic book, and it's quite good in its genre, but the truth is that it didn't pull me in like other books usually do.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
This Book on: LibraryThing | Goodreads | Bookdepository UK | Bookdepository US | Amazon UK | Amazon US | Gam.co