Sunday, July 26, 2009
The Angel’s Game
Carlos Ruiz Zafon
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.