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The Angel's Game

The Angel's Game

3.9 279
by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

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From the author of the international phenomenon The Shadow of the Wind, comes a riveting new masterpiece about love, literature, and betrayal.
In this powerful, labyrinthian thriller, David Martín is a pulp fiction writer struggling to stay afloat. Holed up in a haunting abandoned mansion in the heart of Barcelona, he furiously taps out

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The Angel's Game 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 278 reviews.
YoyoMitch More than 1 year ago
The length of this volume could have been drastically reduced by better editing in the first act, entitled "City of the Damned." This section strives to become the foundation for the remaining two "acts" and does so overly well. The hero, David Martin, is a writer, the son of a mother who abandoned him and his father shortly after his father returned from the Spanish "War in the Phillippines" a broken and haunted man. When David was in his early teens, his father was murdered in front of him. Fortunately, he was employed as a writer at a rather "raggy" daily newspaper and his writing caught the eye of a wealthy benefactor who made it possible for him to become a featured writer. As expected, the other journalists grew jealous and he was sacked after a year. He becomes a highly read author, who is contractually required to use an alias, nearly losing everything else in the process and that is where the story becomes intriguing. It is also the end of "act one." The following two "acts" detail the relationship David develops with "the boss," Andreas Corelli, a mysterious publisher who commissions him to write a book that "will capture the world." The path this writing leads our hero, the people he meets and the problems he encounters in the year following his meeting Mr. Corelli, makes the last 261 page a much quicker read than the first 139. This is a much darker novel than was The Shadow of the Wind. The Sempere & Sons' book shop and the Cemetery of Forgotten Books are welcomed old friends returning from that novel, however, Mr. Zafon takes the reader into an entirely different aisle in the world of literature with the writing of this work than was his leading in the previous novel. This is as a bloody a tale as is it dark. By the end of the book, I was weary of the body count and discouraged by the "cheap" manner in which Mr. Zafon was dealing with the conclusion of his tale. I was discouraged, that is, until the epilogue, when the picture was complete and the story was shown to have no wasted bloodshed. Each action was as necessary, and usually painful, for David as it was for the reader. There are no nightmares to be found in this book, only the sorrow experienced by those who feel compelled to write then share that part of their soul with the world. There is a decided Spiritual dimension to this parable. David wrestles with an evil who befriends him, yet the price for that friendship far exceeds the benefits given. He is confronted with the miracle of life, magic, love, and mystery all by his skill as a writer, yet he refuses to glimpse beyond the material to see the Real. Mr. Zafon is either a lapsed Catholic or a very radical practicing one, as his understanding of religion is seeped in ritual and he presents faith as something that is deeply personal but just as deeply powerful. Even the title of the book is a hint of the Spiritual nature of the story, as he understands the Biblical idea of "Angel" as a messenger and who is not always a welcomed guest.The love Mr. Zafon has for literature is evident in this, and in his previous, novel. There are references to Dickens' Great Expectations, homage to Goethe's Faust, Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray and a host of other great novelist's works are evident in this tale. Mr. Zafon does not plagiarize the other works, he only honors them with incorporating their "flavor"
TrishNYC More than 1 year ago
This has to be one of the most frustrating books that I have ever read. The first 100 pages made me want to pull out all my hair because though interesting in general, it was long winded and could have been 50 pages shorter. In 1920s Barcelona, David Martin is a young man who has been orphaned at a very young age. But he is lucky in his patronage as his mentor is Pedro Vidal, one of the richest men in town. Through Vidal, he gets a job at the local paper where he soon excels writing a pulp fiction serial. His stories are an instant hit and widely embraced by the populace. Unfortunately, his success turns friends at the paper into foes and he is eventually forced to leave. He finds another job and is contracted to a long term deal with two unscrupulous publishers, writing under a pseudonym. One constant through this period is the presence of a mysterious man, Andreas Corelli, who wants David to come work for him. Through a confluence of different events that break David's heart and spirit, David would eventually agree to a contract with Mr. Corelli. Shortly after he makes this agreement, his former publishers suffer brutal and mysterious deaths. David has nagging doubts about Corelli but the money that he is offered and the freedom that comes along with it prove to be temptations that cannot be passed up. But as David writes this book, his doubts continue to grow. Who exactly is Andreas Corelli?What kind of publisher pays an exorbitant amount of money for a book that he never intends to publish? Also what is the relationship between Corelli and the former occupant of David's house? This book is beautifully written and melds elements of mysticism, the supernatural and features very intelligent debates/discussions of the nature of religious belief, faith and the human search for meaning. The author is obviously a very talented writer whose love for the written word is apparent. In his writing he pays tribute to the masters like Dickens, Bronte, Wilde, etc. His writing is lyrical, magical and in his hands, Barcelona becomes a dreamlike locale that I am now dying to visit. But before I could get to the place where I could say all this about the book, I had to survive the first section of it which just seemed to go on and on and on. Honestly, I believe that many people will get so frustrated with this first section that they may give up and therefore miss out on a truly great book. I wish that this portion of the book was trimmed down because it detracts from the overall work. Another problem with the book was that I felt that too many characters were introduced that sometimes I lost count of who each person was. This could have easily been a 5 star book but these two factors made me rate it lower. But all in all, it is a very well written book that does not leave you with easy answers. By the end of the book you are unsure of who is victim or villain. You do not walk away with a clear sense of who the hero is or if there is even one.
CathyB More than 1 year ago
In "The Angel's Game", I was transported to Barcelona, albeit the Barcelona of the 1920s. Through Mr. Zafon's descriptive prose, Barcelona was brought to life. I got a chill reading about the Pueblo Nuevo Cemetery with its 'forest of angels and crosses' and the scenes that took place within its walls. I could hear footsteps echoing in the alleyways, smell the putrid stench of decay, feel the neglect of buildings abandoned long ago, and see 'the whole of Barcelona stretched out .' (pg 50) before me. Mr. Zafon has also created several memorable characters: David Martin, the tortured narrator; Andreas Corelli, angel or demon; Isabella, a kind and generous soul; etc.... These characters stayed with me long after I finished reading. They seemed to inhabit my dreams. Mr. Zafon's novel centers around a young writer who unwittingly makes a pact with the devil. Yes, a Faustian bargain; however, there is more to the novel, namely, there is an underlying mystery that will have you guessing/thinking throughout the novel. The story moves quickly. I found myself repeatedly saying I have time for just one more chapter. I read the book in three days - because life interrupted and I needed sleep. It is a book that you will not want to put down. People have commented that this book is one in a series and a prequel to "The Shadow of the Wind". I have yet to read that book and did not find myself at a disadvantage. I believe that this book stands on its own quite well and highly recommend to those that have read previous works of Zafon or those who like mystery/thrillers.
RyannD More than 1 year ago
I must start by letting everyone know that I dont write reviews. I had to make an exception because this novel took my breath away. Not only is it beautifully written but the plot is thrilling and unexpected. The characters are wonderfully developed, they are human and very real. I sat down to read this and could not put it down... I wanted to find every excuse throughout the 5 days it took me to read all 500 pages, to steal away and read on. I almost wish it hadn't ended and I could read on forever. I simply loved every moment of it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sundari More than 1 year ago
I loved Shadow of the Wind. While I enjoyed The Angel's Game, I did not like the ending. It just felt wrong and unfinished. It left me incomplete. I found the characters in both books interesting. I just feel that Shadow of the Wind had more to offer the reader. Better characters, and story.
1DANA3 More than 1 year ago
Loved this one too! As I accidentally said, Love loss, buried secrets, lack of trust, connection, books....What more can you ask for? I love Zafon's writing style and his creativity to keep the reader hooked to each page! His writing appeals to both sexes, which is quite a trick to pull off! Another book that captured my heart recently is EXPLOSION IN PARIS, by Pirrung,only it appeals more to women. Loved it so much that I'm promoting it as best I can! It deserves to be read and enjoyed! The reviews tell the story!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. It was thrilling, I couldn't put it down. I also loved "Shadow of the Wind." I can't wait to read more of his books. His books are definately intended for readers who want suspense and mystery.
JAGosch More than 1 year ago
I absolutely LOVED "The Shadow of the Wind" and I couldn't wait for another book by Carlos Ruiz Zafon to come out. While this isn't as good at "The Shadow of the Wind" it is still a great read. I can't help but excape into the places that he writes about and I truly feel like I'm watching a movie, rather than reading a book. The author is so descriptive, you to will get lost in this book. A mystery, a romance, and an angel? You've got to read this to find out the secrets hidden throughout.
cactusuenaz More than 1 year ago
I loved Shadow of the Wind and am just as enthralled with The Angels Game. I am listening to it on CD (which I sort of hate to do with such excellent writing but that's just what worked out for me) I do not speak much Spanish so I would never come up with the pronunciation that the narrator has. It really makes you feel like you are in Spain listening to an authentic Spanish story. I highly recommend this. The names of people and places spoken by the narrator with his accent are just beautiful to listen to. I may go back and read it later so I can take it slow and savor some of the passages and hopefully read it with the same beautiful pronunciation in my head. I hope he will write many more books.
DuncanLee More than 1 year ago
A strange, foreboding and complex tale of kidnapping, duplicity, crooked police, murder and intrigue with an ample shot of devils and a gothic universe that encompasses eternal life, witchcraft, a cemetery of forgotten books and spiritual benefactors. It is about a troubled writer, David Martin and his strange struggle with his art and his destiny in Barcelona 1917 -1930. He is a common man of no established family who has only one wealthy friend, Pedro Vidal who assists him endlessly out of guilt. Christina, his one true love throughout the book, is Pedro's chauffeur's daughter, who is good for considerable heartache. David a workaholic experiences numerous strange life-changing occurrences. He begins his writing career as a journalist, graduates to anonymous but successful crime pulp fiction and then writes his first and last novel as well as ghost writing one for his friend Pedro Vidal, whose ability is failing, unbeknownst to him. David is wrenched back from death's brink to embark on writing a book that will change the world for a mysterious wealthy publisher from France. He acquires a strange tower house that is haunted by an unusual history, which entangles him entirely. David is blessed with a young writing assistant, Isabella who struggles to keep him sane. The cemetery of forgotten books is probably the most intriguing concept of the book. The location of which is apparently only known to avid bookman like Senor Sempere of the renowned Sempere and Sons Bookshop. He is David's oldest friend and supporter who ultimately divulges its secret to him. The pace is baroque, deliberate and intricate until the last sixty pages when it flies with action, murders, escapes and suspense.
TWTaz More than 1 year ago
First let me state that The Shadow of the Wind was, by far, one of the best books I have ever read. For me, The Angel's Game did not quite live up to my expectations after having enjoyed TSOTW so much. I was definitely drawn into David's world and this author absolutely makes me feel like I am living vicariously through his protagonist. The Angel's Game started strong and I was immediately immersed in the dark atmosphere of the book. A little after midway through the story this book started to lose some of its hold on me. I think it may have been the way the story was branching off in so many directions. I do understand the purpose of having David encounter all these other characters, but I sometimes felt like I was reading three separate stories that were being forced to mesh into one book. I didn't feel David and Cristina's love story as emotionally as the love story in TSOTW because I never got that sense of their connection. By the end of The Angel's Game I felt a little let down by what seemed to be a quick wrap up to a complicated story that could have been concluded about 200 pages earlier if I hadn't had so much peripheral story to deal with. That being said, I would still recommend this book, and I still look forward to this author's next work. I loved that the Cemetery of Forgotten Books also played a part in The Angel's Game. I loved the inclusion of the Sempere family and learning more of their history. I absolutely love Carlos Ruiz Zafon's writing style and his ability to make me feel as if I am part of the story, experiencing what his characters are experiencing as if I am walking through the streets of Barcelona with them. Do I think this book was as wonderful as The Shadow of the Wind? No, I don't. But it is still a good book and well worth your time to read and become a part of these characters' world for a short time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Please translate more books by Ruis Zafon. This book is the perfect book for anyone who love books, who loves to read, and sees books as a mirror into the soul of humanity.
Lindsey84 More than 1 year ago
As a huge fan of Shadow of the Wind, I eagerly awaited Zafon's next novel. Although I enjoyed Angel's Game, I felt it fell short of his first. I found myself a bit confused about Sempere as he in included in the plot of this as well, until a little more than halfway through where I figured it out. The writing is just as beautiful as Shadow's, but the plot is a lot darker. Not everyone gets a happy ending. I did enjoy the tie-ins that allowed the characters to continue to exist in the same beautifully written world, but overall I felt the plot wasn't as finely crafted as from his first work. It started out well enough, but I felt it dragged and left me not as satisfied as I had hoped. Still worth a read, but didn't quite measure up to the excellence of Zafon's first venture.
2manybooks2littletime More than 1 year ago
I was disappointed in this book. I had been looking forward to it for a long time because I loved his first book but this one wasn't even in the same league with his first book. Zafon's writing style is the only thing that keeps you turning the pages. The characters are interesting but do not live up to their potential. The characters seem to move through the pages as confused as the reader does trying to figure out WHAT"S THE STORY ABOUT ANYWAY?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"The Shadow of the Wind" is without doubt one of the finest literary achievements in recent history. Sublime in Spanish, it is possibly even surpassed by the remarkable translation of Lucia Graves, and "The Angel's Game", in Spanish, is as rich, beautifully written, original and thought-provoking as its predecessor. We look forward to the English-language version, with its incomparable use of language.
captaincurt81 More than 1 year ago
Vividly told with drama, intrigue, laughs, love and the pure joy and magic of books and their power to transform us, The Angels Game is the prequel to the internationally best-selling The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. The author dazzles us but never overwhelms as he weaves his tale set in Barcelona of the 1920s. An orphaned boy grows to manhood in a Gothic world of wonders and secrets. He is befriended by a rich, failed writer, and a local secondhand bookshop owner and is seduced into the world of words. We follow David Martin as he becomes a writer himself and is drawn into a literary mystery involving a powerful stranger Andreas Corelli, who commissions a book to be written which brought only bad luck and ruin to the writer previously hired for the task. Clues are unearthed in the old house where David now lives involving closed off rooms and dreams and visions of unsettling events. The characters are well drawn and the tale is enlivened with a dash of humor and wit. There are two loves in Davids life and you will fall in love with these women too. Explore the Barcelona of the 1920s in this exciting and enchanting tale. It is perfect for summer reading for anyone who has ever fallen in love with a great book. It has already become one of my new favorites. Curt Jarrell Glen Burnie, MD
tammienguyen More than 1 year ago
Hi! Please check out my review here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ktIpg0UFb0o&index=5&list=PLWoQUT7m9DukhZ_5pEj6fanu6x1vIcPKd
keysshrink More than 1 year ago
I eagerly awaited reading this book after being enchanted by "shadow of the wind". The initial chapters re-captured the lush, sensual writing style I enjoyed in his previous novel...but then the plot became disjointed and at times silly. Would still recommend as this author is pure joy to read
JACk1026 More than 1 year ago
I was a bit disappointed that the story was about the same family. Shadow of the Wind was just awesome and I did expect his follow up to be a completely different story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In reading The Angel's Game, I alternated between not wanting to put it down and wanting to stop reading it altogether. I'm glad I finished it, but some of the detail was too much for me. I read Ruiz Zafon's Shadow of the Wind, and it's one of the best books I've ever read; I highly recommend it. The Angel's Game was brilliant to be sure, it just felt like some of the details make it move slowly. I cannot fathom what a mind this author has to come up with such a story.
debbook More than 1 year ago
The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon follows on the success of last year's The Shadow of the Wind. This highly anticipated novel did not disappoint, at least, not until the end. The story takes place in Barcelona pre-WWII. David Martin is a young crime reporter for a small newspaper. David's father was murdered when he was a young boy and his mother had left long before that time. David is taken under the wing of wealthy Pedro Vidal, who encourages David with his writing. Soon David's serial stories are being published to great popularity. David then signs on with a publishing company to write pulp novels under a pseudonym. With the money he is making, David is able to buy the mysterious and abandoned house of his dreams. David has a cryptic admirer, Andreas Corelli who remains on the peripheral, until David's life seems to fall apart and he finally accepts Corelli's offer to write a story "the greatest story you have ever created: a religion". Thus, begins David's descent into darkness, to events that he can not explain, to wondering if he is searching for evil or if he is the evil. I found this book to be fascinating, a great tale with lots of Gothic mystery. It is a very dark story, much darker than The Shadow of the Wind (though I have not yet finished that story). We revisit the Cemetery of Forgotten Books and Sempere & Sons bookshop. And of course Barcelona. There is a love story, the beautiful Christina, who both loves and despises David. We meet Isabella, a young writer who becomes David's assistant and caregiver, against his wishes. While Zafon creates a intricate plot, it becomes more complicated in the last quarter of the book and I had some trouble keeping track of characters and the storyline and had to go back frequently to re-read parts. The ending left me both unsettled and unsatisfied. But the book reinforces the idea of the powerful nature of books, that they have souls that live on in the reader and I loved that sentiment. The Angel's Game kept me enthralled to the end, and despite my frustration at the finish, I really enjoyed reading this. I can't compare it to The Shadow of the Wind as I have not yet finished that, but I look forward to the next book from Zafon. This is a novel I would definitely recommend. http://bookmagic418.blogspot.com/
Shadowlover More than 1 year ago
B/c Shadow of the Wind is one of my all time favorite books, I was counting the days until The Angel's Game came out. The writing style, the language, and the imagery do not disappoint. Zafon's writing is intensely beautiful, fluid and poetic, and he has the unparalleled ability to transport the reader to early 20th century Barcelona. The plot however does not do the writing justice. At times it seems as if Zafon has 3 different plots going on without ever really being attached to any particular one of them. Unlike Shadow of the Wind, where I adored Daniel from the first moment, David is not a likeable character or even a very sympathetic one at that. Nor are the rest of the characters in the book for that matter. And unlike Shadow where I found myself caring about just about everyone, I can't say the same for The Angel's Game. The subtext was anything but subtle, and unfortunately, the ending was completely predictable. The "darkness" of the book seemed more like smoke and mirrors at times to disguise the tediousness of the plot. Zafon took close to 300 pages to really get into the heart of the mystery, then seemed to grow weary of it, and wrapped it up without any real closure. All in all, it doesn't even compare to Shadow of the Wind.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When I read "Shadow of the Wind" I was totally and absolutely enthralled with it. I have told people since, that it may well be my favorite book of all time (which is tough given that my aunt wrote "Gone With the Wind"). Anyway, though I liked "The Angel's Game", I just didn't think it was as good. Unlike a previous reviewer, I enjoyed the first 100 pages and thought the remainder of the book (writing for Corelli) wasn't quite as interesting. Still, a wonderful book and well translated from the original. I also liked the tie-in to "Shadow of the Wind".
debov More than 1 year ago
I truly enjoyed this book having read the first in the series.