Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Review: The Angel's Game, by Carlos Ruiz Zafon


The Angel’s Game is definitely one of the best book I’ve read this year. It’s a prequel of sorts to Shadow of the Wind, and it’s set in 1920s Barcelona. The plot is hard to describe. David Martin is a young writer, and the author of a number of lurid crime stories written under a pseudonym, when his first “real” novel (published under his own name) bombs. David is approached by a mysterious French publisher named Andreas Corelli to write a book. Later, David finds that the house he lives in was once occupied by another writer, also approached by Corelli for the same purpose.

Reading Shadow of the Wind isn’t a prerequisite towards reading this book, but it definitely enhances one’s reading of The Angel’s Game. The tone of this book is a lot darker, and bleaker, than Shadow. But like Shadow, Barcelona comes alive here; from its streets to its parks to its cemeteries, the darker side of a beautiful city comes out. Like the title of one of David’s books, Barcelona really is the City of the Damned.

The characters of this book are another thing that make it stand out. David is sarcastic and cynical, and sometimes even unlikable. But it’s his flaws that make him interesting, in the end. It’s a psychological novel, too; at times I even began to question how reliable he was as a narrator. What I also like is that all the characters, not just David, are drawn in gray; neither white or black or entirely good or entirely bad.

My only criticism about this book is the ending; the novel ended abruptly. I’ve heard that there will be a continuation to Shadow of the Wind and The Angel’s Game, so I’m hoping that things will be cleared up at some point. Other than that, though I thoroughly enjoyed this novel about obsession and desire in pre-Civil War Spain. It’s a complicated read, but so good that I read it within the space of two days, reading before work, during lunch breaks, and when I got home at night. This won’t be a book I’ll forget easily.

Also reviewed by: A High and Hidden Place, The Book Lady's Blog, Devourer of Books, 1morechapter, Bookeywookey, Shelf Love, A Garden Carried in the Pocket, S Krishna's Books, The Literate Housewife, Between the Covers, Medieval Bookworm, Caribou's Mom, The Bluestocking Society

5 comments:

Marg said...

I so loved Shadow of the Wind. I can't wait to finally read this one! I went and bought it on the weekend.

Serena said...

you had me at "this is one of the best books I've read this year!"

I will pop this on the to-read list.

thanks for a great review.

Kristen M. said...

I also reviewed this one recently -

http://webereading.com/2009/06/early-review-angels-game.html

While I didn't love it as much as Shadow of the Wind, it was still rather good. I really liked the background of the Semperes.

PopinFresh said...

I've heard such good things about Shadow of the Wind and this book. I really need to start reading Carlos' books sooner rather than later. They look really good.

~ Popin

nbbaker1102 said...

Our book club really enjoyed Shadow of the Wind. We were just talking about it again last night. Maybe we should consider the prequel for a read!

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