I did not have high hopes for this book. For some reason, some where I had read that it was terrible. I personally think that review was unfounded and untrue. Was it Dickens? No. Does everyone now have a picture of Charles Dickens dressed as Zorro in their mind? Yes. I am happy to have helped. Let me help you more.
Right. I, however, had Antonio Banderas in my head for this whole book, which is wonderful. Slightly strange while Diego was a boy, and he was just a mini version, but it worked. The story is a wonderful swashbuckling adventure throughout California (which was then a part of Mexico and a Spanish colony), mainly around LA and Spain, mainly in Barcelona. It follows Diego up until the point he is established as the Zorro we all know. There are sword fights, duels, love, Gypsies, horse riding, pirates, Native Americans, gambling, whoring. It’s fun.
Am I therefore cheating having it as my Chilean read as it is not set in Chile? Very probably. It was on my bookshelf though and that was one of my rules; that I read what was on my shelf first. I broke it once and I can’t do it again. We have run out of room for more books. My partner is trying to put up shelves in the house for more books, but it is just resulting in the house smelling like wood stain (as we can’t open it up as it has been -6 all week), lots of holes in walls, and one exploded drill. He’ll get there and he’ll do it better than me. But in the meantime, I must read my already acquired books.
Isabel Allende? The House of Spirits was amazing! It probably helped that I had just done a Sociology unit (my god the website is still active 8 years on) on South America and it’s dictators, their overthrowing by socialists and then overthrowing of the socialists by military junta backed by the US. Chile was one of these countries (I say one, as it happened in most of them. Astounding). So reading that story that talked about these happenings from the family involved’s perspective was wonderful. That and I think she is a brilliant storyteller.
That storytelling brilliance was evident again in this book. You were easily whisked away on the journey and adventure. You were pulled into the Californian desert or the streets of Barcelona. What was jarring however was that while the book was told in the majority in third person (and worked wonderfully), every now and then there would be a narrator that jarringly popped their head in. The first time I was shocked. It was like someone had burst in on my dream and started telling me what’s what, while I was trying desperately to work out who the hell this person was and how the hell they got into my head. Then they popped in and out every 50 pages or so, talking in first person, telling you little snippets about Diego’s character (kinda worked it out already little dream invader, but cheers for that) or how they know Diego *sooo* well, or guess what happens later!
This dream invading narrator needed a good slap. But when they disappeared and left you to the story it was enjoyable and fun. I want to go swashbuckling. 3.5 sabre wielding stars.
Next: Burma with Saving Fish from Drowning