It is safe to say that with the number of books I have left to read in 2018 that Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s conclusion to his Cemetery of Forgotten Book’s series, The Labyrinth of Spirits if the biggest surprise of the year. I recall being tremendously underwhelmed by the (now) second longest book of the series, The Angel’s Game and so when I found out that this book was going to be over 800 pages long (805 to be exact), I really wasn’t looking forward to it. Thankfully, my doubts were shattered by the time I was 10 pages in and never once did the wonder, elation and overall joy I felt while reading this love letter of a book dissipate. It is the kind of epic book, like Justin Cronin’s Passage trilogy or Gabi Gleichmann’s The Elixir of Immortality, to name a more obscure book, where a writer of immense talent simply uses said talents to tell the kind of story that fills the world around the reader with a little bit more magic, or at least as long as they are reading the book. It is a book with countless twists and turns, an aura of the immense and characters that will find deep, finally etched space within the reader’s subconscious long after they have finished it. The plot is rather daunting to explain, so I will try my best in what little time I allow myself in these reviews. First, I would like to say that you do not have to have read the previous books to understand the plot of this one, although there are many references to the other three. So, after a few interludes where we meet Daniel Sempre and Fermin, two characters who play major roles in the story, we meet our heroine Alicia Gris, an investigator for Spain’s secret police, at the forceful hand of her mentor Leandro, becomes embroiled in the search for Mauricio Valls, Spain’s minister of culture and the former warden of Montjuic Castle, where, after the Spanish Civil War, several dissident writers were imprisoned and tortured. It is in Valls office that Alicia and Vargas, a cop who is forced on her but slowly earns her undying trust, find the first clue, a volume in a series of book that shares the novel’s title written by Victor Mataix, a writer imprisoned by Valls. This tiny clue takes them from Madrid to Barcelona, where Alicia almost lost her life during a brutal bomb raid, where they encounter Fernandito, a young man with unrequited love for Alicia, the quick witted Fermin and the whole of the Sempre family, as well as many dangers in the form of an unidentified maniac who reveals themselves in the book’s most shocking death, Hendaya, a brutal enforcer in the Secret Police and a shocking conspiracy that shakes the world of every character in the book. I won’t reveal too much, but the book is full of beautiful passages, many of which are brilliantly rendered dream sequences that would make Bolano blush and a quietly moving final hundred pages that reveal the true, beating heart of this book. It is a hefty read, but a rewarding one for those who find themselves easily lost within the pages of a good story.