The Angel’s Game – Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Title: The Angel’s Game
Author: Carlos Ruiz Zafon
ISBN: 9780385528702
Pages: 544
Release Date: June 16, 2009
Publisher: Doubleday
Genre: Mystery, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5

From the publisher’s website:

In an abandoned mansion at the heart of Barcelona, a young man, David Martín, makes his living by writing sensationalist novels under a pseudonym. The survivor of a troubled childhood, he has taken refuge in the world of books and spends his nights spinning baroque tales about the city’s underworld. But perhaps his dark imaginings are not as strange as they seem, for in a locked room deep within the house lie photographs and letters hinting at the mysterious death of the previous owner.

Like a slow poison, the history of the place seeps into his bones as he struggles with an impossible love. Close to despair, David receives a letter from a reclusive French editor, Andreas Corelli, who makes him the offer of a lifetime. He is to write a book unlike anything that has ever existed—a book with the power to change hearts and minds. In return, he will receive a fortune, and perhaps more. But as David begins the work, he realizes that there is a connection between his haunting book and the shadows that surround his home.

Once again, Zafón takes us into a dark, gothic universe first seen in the Shadow of the Wind and creates a breathtaking adventure of intrigue, romance, and tragedy. Through a dizzingly constructed labyrinth of secrets, the magic of books, passion, and friendship blend into a masterful story.

When I was in college, I stopped reading for a few years. I’m not really sure why, I just was out of my element and got out of the habit. However, when I was browsing the bookstore one day, a little book called The Shadow of the Wind caught my eye. I decided to give it a chance – it ended up being one of the best books I had ever read, and is the book that got me back into reading. When I heard that Carlos Ruiz Zafon had a new book coming out, I was ridiculously excited to read it.

I’m not sure what I expected with The Angel’s Game, but the book was a surprise on many levels. I was really glad to see that the same translator, Lucia Graves, worked on The Angel’s Game as on The Shadow of the Wind. Graves translates Zafon’s writing absolutely beautifully. The words are fluid and flexible; they mold themselves to suit what they are describing. It is simply a gorgeous novel to read.

I really loved David, though at times he isn’t the easiest character to like. I think that is a testament to Zafon’s writing ability; he creates completely lifelike characters that are ready to leap off the page. It is easy to forgive David when he is unbecoming or rude because he seems like a good friend, rather than a character in a novel.

The Angel’s Game was a very slow novel. The mystery doesn’t really assert itself until about halfway through the novel. When it finally does, it still takes time to build up the momentum. While gripping, the supernatural elements and philosophy of the novel make it an entirely different novel than its predecessor.

Though I’ve talked about The Shadow of the Wind a lot in this review, it’s not necessary to read that novel before reading The Angel’s Game. However, I think I would not have appreciated The Angel’s Game without reading The Shadow of the Wind first.

Thank you to the publisher for sending me this book to review.

Comments

  1. Hmm – I have The Angel’s Game, but after reading your review, I think I need to get The Shadow of the Wind to read first.

  2. Hmm – I have The Angel’s Game, but after reading your review, I think I need to get The Shadow of the Wind to read first.

  3. Anonymous says:

    bermudaonion – I didn’t read ‘The Shadow of the Wind’ before reading Angel’s Game, and it was fine. So don’t worry about getting the first book first – while they exist in the same world, they are independent novels!

    But…on the other hand, I thought the book was quite slow and didn’t enjoy it as much as skrishna did…so there may be something to reading Shadow of the Wind first after all :-p.

    – Suzi
    http://fashion_piranha.livejournal.com

  4. Anonymous says:

    bermudaonion – I didn’t read ‘The Shadow of the Wind’ before reading Angel’s Game, and it was fine. So don’t worry about getting the first book first – while they exist in the same world, they are independent novels!

    But…on the other hand, I thought the book was quite slow and didn’t enjoy it as much as skrishna did…so there may be something to reading Shadow of the Wind first after all :-p.

    – Suzi
    http://fashion_piranha.livejournal.com

  5. I loved this book, too! Good review.

  6. I loved this book, too! Good review.

  7. Interesting. I loved Shadow of the Wind. I will try to remind myself not to expect the exact same when I start this second book.

  8. Interesting. I loved Shadow of the Wind. I will try to remind myself not to expect the exact same when I start this second book.

  9. I loved “Shadow of the Wind” and…liked “The Angel’s Game.” It was slow, like you said, but still incredibly beautiful. I adore Zafon’s writing. But I didn’t exactly love David and the supernatural parts were a bit hard to follow.

  10. I loved “Shadow of the Wind” and…liked “The Angel’s Game.” It was slow, like you said, but still incredibly beautiful. I adore Zafon’s writing. But I didn’t exactly love David and the supernatural parts were a bit hard to follow.

  11. I haven’t read either, so when I get around to it, I think I’ll start with The Shadow of the Wind. Love that title, btw.

    –Anna
    Diary of an Eccentric

  12. I haven’t read either, so when I get around to it, I think I’ll start with The Shadow of the Wind. Love that title, btw.

    –Anna
    Diary of an Eccentric

  13. wow, I’ve heard shadow is great…I’m not sure that I would like the sequel if it starts off slowly and asserts the mystery in the middle of the book

  14. wow, I’ve heard shadow is great…I’m not sure that I would like the sequel if it starts off slowly and asserts the mystery in the middle of the book

  15. Hi! Great review! I like, you was excited to read the book! But I’m not sure I was as satisfied as you at the end. I was left with a lot of questions. They are on my blog at http://www.internetplus.com/thefunkstop/?p=375 (I didn’t want to post it here because of spoiler alert)

    I’m surprised you loved the David character… he actually kind of annoyed me with his deference to things… (who wouldn’t find out what is in the strange room in the house earlier!)

    Would love to hear your thoughts on the outstanding questions!

  16. Hi! Great review! I like, you was excited to read the book! But I’m not sure I was as satisfied as you at the end. I was left with a lot of questions. They are on my blog at http://www.internetplus.com/thefunkstop/?p=375 (I didn’t want to post it here because of spoiler alert)

    I’m surprised you loved the David character… he actually kind of annoyed me with his deference to things… (who wouldn’t find out what is in the strange room in the house earlier!)

    Would love to hear your thoughts on the outstanding questions!

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