One of my favorite authors. I love his writing style! This is part of the connected book series with Shadow of the Wind and Angel's Game. Not a lot of action happens (most of the action is in the form of backstory that Fermin tells Daniel) and some issues remain unresolved at the end, so it's definitely not a standalone novel. It basically sets up the 4th and final book in the series. If you've never read Zafon before, I'd recommend not starting with this book because I think you'll be confused. Or at the very least, you won't get as much out of it if you had started with one of the other two.But definitely read Shadow of the Wind then come back to this one.