- Fizzy Thoughts: The Angel’s Game

The Angel’s Game

Sunday, July 26, 2009

angel's game
The Angel’s Game

Carlos Ruiz Zafon
2009
531 pages
translated by Lucia Graves

He’s back, and he’s done it again.  If you’ve read Shadow of the Wind (and if you haven’t, do so now), The Angel’s Game is just as gothically wonderful.  Set in Barcelona, the novel is so dark and creepy I’m convinced Barcelona is a city of smoke and fog and dark corners and eternal night.

The Angel’s Game is the story of David Martin, a young writer who gets caught up in a literary mystery that features himself.  Sound a bit confusing?  Well, it is.  And it’s plot is best discovered by unraveling it yourself, not reading about it beforehand.  Zafon is a master at creating complicated tales that weave together books, writing, tortured souls, doomed romances and dark secrets.  And while you may think you know where the story is headed, there’s always a mysterious twist to keep you on your toes.  And scratching your head.  And I know, tortured souls and doomed romances and dark secrets just sounds so trite.  But believe me, it’s not.  I’d compare his books to The 13th Tale, only more.  More gothic and more convoluted and even more bookish.

Zafon writes books for people who love books.  Okay, maybe not for us, but they definitely appeal to us.  Like Shadow of the Wind, The Angel’s Game features The Cemetery of Forgotten Books and Sempere and Sons Bookshop.  Yay!  I’m sure I’m not alone in saying I fell in love with The Cemetery in Shadow.  Who wouldn’t want to visit a place that is the repository of forgotten books?  Yes, it’s deliciously creepy…but think of all those lonely books needing a good home.  *sigh*

Anyways.  While this book does feature a few familiar places, and is technically a prequel to Shadow, you do not have to read Shadow first.  They are both very capable of standing alone.  And bonus, they have the same translator, who does such an amazing job it’s hard to believe it’s a translation.  Both books are beautifully written, and incredibly readable.

There are a few small quibbles I have about a few murky happenings and characters, but I’m willing to forgive.  Because this book was so much fun to read.  And yes, it got a bit slow for awhile, but all was forgiven when I got to page 441 and had a holy crap! moment.  Followed shortly thereafter by a few more holy crap moments!  And then the end!  OMG, the end!!! 

And now I’m pouting because it’s read and I have no more Zafon.

13 comment(s):

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I tried starting this, but it was right after I read "The Blue Notebook," and right away in this book they were headed for a bordello and I said, no, I can't do this! But everyone loves it so much, I guess I've got to try it again!

Great review!!!

Diane said...

Such a great review; I have this one but have not been moved until your review; thanks

Melissa (Betty and Boo's Mommy) said...

Saw this at the library yesterday, glanced at it and the pile in my hand (and, mentally, on my nightstand), and didn't get it. Now I wish I had. Next time ...

Beth F said...

I.Must.Get.To.This.Soon. I loved, loved, loved Shadow of the Wind, I own Angel's Game. Why haven't I read it?

Chele by the Sea said...

So this is the guy you were talking about....I will have to put these books on my "To Be Read" list!!!

ANovelMenagerie said...

Jill,

I read this book. I reviewed this book. The review hasn't posted yet, but is scheduled. It was the hardest review for me to write. The ending was confusing for me. I wrote Jennifer (Literate Housewife) and she tried to explain it to me... but, I'm still confused.

I have questions... was David Martin wearing the pin the entire time? Was A.C. really Diego? If so, human or spirit? Was it a deal with the devil? If so, where were the forces of god? So... the main cop was a dirty cop and the cop that knew the original story was killed?

Dude... I'm confused!

Sheri

wordlily said...

I agree, I'm pouting because I have no more Zafon to read. My sister bought me a YA Zafon book, but it's in Spanish (and I can't read Spanish).

Glad you enjoyed it!

bermudaonion said...

A book that leaves you wanting more sounds wonderful. Great review.

Ti said...

I absolutely cannot wait to read this. I loved Shadow so much that I am having an incredibly hard time writing the review.

Belle said...

That's it. I see I'll have to add Shadow of the Wind AND The Angel's Game to my stacks. Your review is very enticing.

Anne said...

I am so adding these to my must read list! Hadn't heard of Zafon, but definitely want to check out his work now.

Joanne said...

I'm happy you mentioned that this can be read either before or after Shadow. I've been trying to figure out whether to go ahead and read it or not - since I haven't read Shadow. So I am going to start it tonight ... thanks!!

Colleen said...

I finished this book yesterday morning, and have been trying to figure it out ever since! Loved it, though. (Not as much as "The Shadow of the Wind" - one of my Top 10 Best Books Ever - but still.) Such beautifully lyrical writing. Barcelona was as much of a complex character as the fascinating people inhabiting it. Did you see Zafon's interview on the Border's Book site? "The Angel's Game" is book two in a multi-book (5 or 7?) series. Yay! More to come. :)

In a real sense, people who have read good literature have lived more than people who cannot or will not read. It is not true that we have only one life to live; if we can read, we can live as many more lives and as many kinds of lives as we wish. ~S.I. Hayakawa

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
~St. Augustine

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.
~Mark Twain

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