Angel's Game, The

Carlos Ruiz Zafón
From master storyteller Carlos Ruiz Zafon, author of the international phenomenon The Shadow of the Wind, comes The Angel’s Game — a dazzling new page-turner about the perilous nature of obsession, in literature and in love.The whole of Barcelona stretched out at my feet and I wanted to believe that when I opened those windows — my new windows — each evening its streets would whisper stories to me, secrets in my ear, that I could catch on paper and narrate to whomever cared to listen…In an abandoned mansion at the heart of Barcelona, a young man, David Martin, 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 ever existed — a book with the power to change hearts and minds. In return, he will receive a fortune, and perhaps more. But as David begins the work, he realizes that there is a connection between his haunting book and the shadows that surround his home.Once again, Zafon takes us into a dark, gothic universe first seen in The Shadow of the Wind and creates a breathtaking adventure of intrigue, romance, and tragedy. Through a dizzyingly constructed labyrinth of secrets, the magic of books, passion, and friendship blend into a masterful story.From the Hardcover edition.


Reviewed: 2016-06-24
This book was ALMOST a 5 star read for me. I really, really enjoyed it, and wish that I could give it 5 stars, but I feel like the loose ends were kind of rubber-banded together, rather than tied up all nice and pretty.

But first I want to talk about the writing. GOR-GEOUS. Ruiz Zafon captured me with the first paragraph. In fact, while I was reading "What Dreams May Come" right before this, I snuck a peek and then almost didn't put it back down to finish "WDMC". I mean, look at this:
"A writer never forgets the first time he accepted a few coins or a word of praise in exchange for a story. He will never forget the sweet poison of vanity in his blood and the belief that, if he succeeds in not letting anyone discover his lack of talent, the dream of literature will provide him with a roof over his head, a hot meal at the end of the day, and what he covets most: his name on a miserable piece of paper that will surely outlive him. A writer is condemned to remember that moment, because from then on he is doomed and his soul has a price."

A price, you say? Hmmm... Must read on! So I did, and found that with every page, I enjoyed the book even more. It was dark and gloomy and despairing and creepy at times, and at others it was laugh out loud funny and light and surprising.

David, our narrator, is a young writer, who's had a hard time of life, and is therefore older than his years. He's bitter, and jaded, and sarcastic, but still idealistic in a way. I loved the way that he looked at things, and the life he brought to the pages. Even when he was writing himself to death, he's still interesting and dynamic and I wanted to know him better.

So, in comes Andreas Correlli, mysterious and perfectly dressed and wanting to put David's talent to use for his own vague purposes. I recognized Correlli for what he was right away, as maybe I was intended to, so I waited anxiously for the inevitable.

There is quite a bit of religious speculation and philosophy (if that's the right word) in this book, which was very interesting to me. The conversations that Correlli and David had regarding religion were maybe a touch over my head, but intriguing to read, because both men had more than reason enough to twist things to their own purposes in their conversations, and I was never quite sure whether what they were saying was really what they were saying.

From David and Correlli's first meeting, things start to get more and more mysterious and strange. Very surreal in a realistic way, and quite intense. There were times when I'd have to force myself to put the book down to go to bed. And the chapters were so short that it was far too easy to justify "just one more". New twists and turns were introduced and I couldn't wait to figure out how they all fit together.

But this is where things went a little bit downhill for me. While things were technically ended, and it wasn't a bad ending, I just wish that we had a bit more explanation as to certain things in the story, and that's why I had to drop a star off. I mean, I guess we could just look at it from a stand-point of "it is because it is because it is", but I'm always looking for the "why" too.

I don't want to ruin this book for anyone who has yet to read it, because it is definitely worth reading, so I will not go into spoilerish stuff here. I will just say that I would have liked a bit more wrap up with certain converging storylines.

Overall, I immensely enjoyed this book. The writing has a way of just making me part of the story, and the descriptions made me wish I could be in Barcelona to see it for myself. I look forward to reading "Shadow of the Wind" soon.
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