OK, from the perspective of pure literary criticism, this book is overwrought.
However, from my personal perspective: "OMG, it has all the awesome!" ;-)
A worthy followup to Shadow of the Wind, this tale of a young writer with 'great expectations' who is pulled into an infernal contract is wickedly delightful. It's Faust meets pulp fiction.
Its vivid and accurate depictions of Barcelona made me hunger to go back to the city... even if Zafon does claim it's "damned"...