Title: The Angel’s Game
Author: Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Release Date: June 16, 2009
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.