As a lover of Gothic fiction, I was over the moon to have been selected to snag a copy of The Angel’s Game from LibraryThing‘s Early Reviewers program. I was far from disappointed. Despite a vague sense that the novel was long, I loved the story and quickly became engrossed in it. Set in Barcelona, I loved mystery and darkness and enveloped David Martín’s life after he began writing stories in installment for a small local paper. His way was paved for him by his benefactor and legendary Barcelona author and his talent caught the interest of a strange Parisian editor, Andreas Corelli. Corelli wants him to take a year of his life to write a book written to his own specifications. In exchange, Martín would recieve a small fortune and a freedom from tight weekly or monthly deadlines. While researching Corelli’s odd request, Martín becomes embroiled in so deep in a sinister mystery that inevitably leads back to the history of his house and disrupts the few relationships he’s been able to maintain over the years.
Zafón creates a Barcelona of dark tunnels and secrets that is both beautiful and terrifying at the same time. He clearly loves this place, right down to the underbelly where the witch’s reside. I couldn’t imagine a more perfect setting for this novel. Only Barcelona could house the cryptic castle-like home that Martín chooses to rent as soon as he has a reliable source of income. I love wondering what the house was all about and the sheer foreboding present in the novel whenever it was mentioned.
My favorite scene of the novel is when we first see Corelli. Martín isn’t sure he believes what he is seeing, but what he believes he sees in that moment is about the more freakishly alive thing I have read in a long time. I could clearly picture what Martín thought he was seeing and it gave me goosebumps. It was such a strong image that I could close my eyes and conjure the image back up again without needing to read that passage over again.
If what I’ve read thus far is any indication, Carlos Ruis Zafón is destined to become one of my favorite authors. According to Wikipedia The Angel’s Game is a prequel to Zafón’s first novel, wihch I have not read. [For the once this summer, I’ll actually be reading novels in order. What a nice feeling! LOL!]. I will definitely be making time to read The Shadow of the Wind soon. I’m curious to learn more about The Cemetery of Forgotten Books the fate of Sempere & Sons bookshop. I can see enjoying his work more with each book I read. With the translation of this novel being so beutifully written, I cannot image what it’s like to read Zafón in his native language. This is a must read for fans of Gothic fiction.
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