Sunday, 12 July 2009

The Angel's Game - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Published: June 2009
Hardcover: 448 pages

The whole of Barcelona stretched out at my feet and I wanted to believe that, when I opened those windows, its streets would whisper stories to me, secrets I could capture on paper and narrate to whoever cared to listen.'

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 existed - a book with the power to change hearts and minds. In return, he will receive a fortune, perhaps more. But as David begins the work, he realises that there is a connection between this haunting book and the shadows that surround his home.

Set in the turbulent 1920s, THE ANGEL'S GAME takes us back to the gothic universe of the Cemetery of the Forgotten Books, the Sempere & Son bookshop, and the winding streets of Barcelona's old quarter, in a masterful tale about the magic of books and the darkest corners of the human soul.
(author's site)

This story captivates your heart and soul. Zafon's words are magic that draws you in and refuses to let go of you. You are caught in his web and can't stop reading this story. He has a way of word like no one else, and they just flow over the pages like poetry. He is a master story teller, and the magic that gets caught in those pages makes me fall in love.

If it isn't visible by now, I can just tell you that I am so in love with Zafon. It's his way of writing that makes me melt and yes I loved this book. It wasn't as good as The Shadow of the wind though. That book had more good quotes and sentences that are forever written in my heart. But it's still the best book I have read this year, and it will be one of the best books I have ever read. But this one had such a great story, and the words still flowed. Some of my favs quotes from this book were these:

"Every book has a soul, the soul of the person who wrote it and the soul of those who read it and dream about it."

"Envy is the religion of the mediocre. It comforts them, it soothes their worries, and finally it rots their souls, allowing them to justify their meanness and their greed until they believe these to be virtues. Such people are convinced that the doors of heaven will be opened only to poor wretches like themselves who go through life without leaving any trace bu their threadbare attempts to belittle others and to exclude -- and destroy if possible -- those who, by the simple fact of their existence, show up their own poorness of spirit, mind, and guts. Blessed be the one at whom the fools bark, because his soul will never belong to them."

This is a confusing story that will make you imagine a lot of things, I thought David's boss was an Angel, a demon, a crazy person, that David was schizophrenic, that it was a dream and in the end I realized that I still didn't know what just had happened. It's a book that leaves you with a question that you yourself must answer. It's a fable, and you can choose your own answer to what you think. Does it have a happy ending, there the answer is both yes and not. It's a fitting ending to a mysterious book.

David is a great character and the reader get to see him grow up. He loves book and because of that he meets the owner of Sempere & Son, the grandfather of the main character in The Shadow of the Wind. He works as a journalist and he wants to write books. This will in the end lead him to meet the very strange Andrea Corelli, and here the gothic Barcelona really comes into play. The man has always been there from the start, and the book has a darkness to it that is really eerie.

There is also the lovely Christina that he is in love with, Pedro Vidal a good friend from his journalist days and that has secrets of his own. Isabella who we meet later in the book and that i really like. She has spirits and is a good influence on a David that keeps getting darker and darker. Even a house plays a major role in this book. It's a house filled with dark memories and I would not set my foot in it.

My heart aches for David, especially in a chapter to do with his book, my soul cries a but there. I always wishes him the best but this is not a happy book. It has it's happy moments, but at most there is the darkness and mystery that surrounds him. This especially later in the book as the story evolves. I can highly recommend this book, and especially The Shadow of the Wind. Read that wonderful book first.

This is a book that has to be read, for the sure joy of reading and feeling the magic of his words. Mr Zafon is a true author in every sense, and he makes me rejoice in my love for reading.


  1. I definitely want to read it now. Just need to read Shadow in the Wind first!! Great review.

  2. You know strangely enough, I haven't read either of them but the beggining and ending quote you provided definitely show that he's a writer worth reading.

  3. I borrowed this book and had to return it to the library too soon. Your review gave me some insight into it and now I want to finish it ( I only read a few pages).

  4. Nice review. I'm so glad you enjoyed it. I've just found out I'm getting an ARC and now I can't wait to read it.

  5. Okay, I want to read this book! You made it sound amazing, Linda! Definitely adding it to the list!

  6. I received this as an ARC and his first book is one of my absolute favorite books of all time.
    Your review was stellar in all ways. Beautifully written. I felt the same way about his writing in Shadow of the Wind, and you captured the essence of his form so well.
    I am so glad you liked it, because I have read some reviews that were not as favorable. I was getting worried. I am going to begin reading it today....thanks to you. Thanks Blodeuedd

  7. Scrap girl,
    Do read Shadow of the wind, it's one of the best books I have ever read. So beautiful and haunting.

    Shadow of the wind has such beautiful quotes in it. It's definitely a book worth reading, I at least fell in love with his style.

    Book bird dog,
    Do borrow it again :) Especially if you liked his first book. This one was truly worth it too.

    I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did.

    Thanks yvonne :D

    I am in love with his writing so I am sure I could go on and on about him. Do read Shadow of the Wind, it's hauntingly beautiful.

    His first is truly one of my favs too, I will never forget it. It was poetry to my ears. I do love his way of writing and I am glad you think I captured something of it in my review.
    I have seen too that people doesn't think it's as good, and they are 2 different books. You shouldn't compare, just let yourself be swept away. Cos yes the first one was better, but this one is good as well

  8. I haven't read this author yet, but there's been a lot of buzz about this book. It does sound good. Thanks for the review!

    Diary of an Eccentric

  9. I love, love, love Carlos Ruiz Zafon!

    My review of The Angel's Game here:

  10. Anna,
    He is such a treat, his style makes you fall in love. He is truly worth the chance.

    I know, LOVE him :D
    I must check it out

  11. I loved your review, beautifully written! It's not easy to capture Zafon's magic, but you did it wonderfully. I loved The Shadow of the Wind so much it made my heart ache when people didn't love it like I did. I hesitate to read The Angel's Game for fear of being disappointed, but your review has inspired me to pick it up the next time I'm in the book shop. Thank you!

  12. Hi Allison,
    Thank you so much, I wanted to at least try to capture something of his essence in my review. I am glad you think I did good then. That book made me head spin and I was caught in his way of thinking. He is such a great author.
    Do pick it up, even if you don't love it as much you will still enjoy his great writing.



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