#184 ~ The Angel’s Game

Cover of The Angels Game

The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

ltearlyreviewerAs 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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  • At 2009.07.22 13:34, Wisteria said:

    I can’t tell you how much I love Shadow of the Wind. Zafon, is one of my favorite authors of all time.
    See my header on my home page. I fell in love with his writing and handed out copies of Shadow to many of my friends years ago. Love him. Great review and so happy you found him equally talented.
    .-= Wisteria´s last blog .. =-.

    • At 2009.07.22 14:19, Sheri said:

      Jennifer, I just finished this book last night. I am dreading writing the review… honestly, I am. This book is so difficult to explain…

      I don’t understand the ending to this book, at all! HELP! Is Corelli an angel/demon? So, Diego Marscala didn’t die in the fire/drowning? The actual guy who died was the cop who was kicked out of the force and Diego took over his life? I don’t get it. And, when Grandes told him what he investigated and what he saw… was that true? Or, because somebody hired him to kill Daniel he was just saying that? And, what happened to the book Daniel wrote?

      I’m just all kinds of lost on this ending. Email me.
      .-= Sheri´s last blog .. =-.

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      • At 2009.07.22 16:22, Sandy said:

        I had Shadow of the Wind on audio, loaded it on my iPod, then realized I was missing one disc. (The library also had the nerve to accuse ME of losing it.) So I am up a creek on that. I am very anxious to read it, and this book. I love the gothic novel…the Little Stranger, The Thirteenth Tale…Sheri has me intrigued though with her confusion. Does this mean that this book would be good for a book club? It is always good to have a group of people to discuss it with.

        • At 2009.07.22 16:52, Ti said:

          I recently read The Shadow of the Wind and loved it. I haven’t reviewed it as I have been basking in its glow but I cannot wait to read The Angel’s Game.
          .-= Ti´s last blog .. =-.

          • At 2009.07.22 19:59, veens said:

            I have not read much gothic stuff! this actually sounds very nice. I am adding it to my wishlist.
            .-= veens´s last blog .. =-.

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            • At 2009.07.22 20:16, Valerie said:

              Lucky you for getting this book to read and review! I’ve read “Shadow of the Wind” twice (about a year apart between reading), and it’s not often that I make the time to re-read a book. So that tells you I think it was very good!

              I’m looking forward to reading “The Angel’s Game”. I need the book first :-)!

              BTW I don’t think your comment luv is working, in case that was something you’d want to know about.
              .-= Valerie´s last blog .. =-.

              • At 2009.07.22 20:37, bookworm said:

                wow, it does sound very good. great review.

                • At 2009.07.22 21:28, softdrink said:

                  I wrote my review of this one a few days ago, but it won’t post ’til the end of the month. Like you, I thought it was a wee bit long, but that didn’t stop me from loving it.
                  .-= softdrink´s last blog .. =-.

                  • At 2009.07.22 23:00, Jen - Devourer of Books said:

                    This isn’t so much a prequel to “Shadow of the Wind” as it is a novel that takes place earlier in the same city and some of the more secondary characters are in both novels. The main character from either one isn’t in the other at all.

                    I enjoyed this too, but it was a bit slow for me. I think your explanation “vague sense that the novel was long” is about right. I think “Shadow of the Wind” is the better of the two books, so you’re in for a treat when you get to that one!

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                    • At 2009.07.23 04:48, Marg said:

                      I loved, loved, loved Shadow of the Wind when I read it a few years ago. I bought this a few weeks ago, but I am not sure when I am going to get to it.

                      • At 2009.07.23 12:31, Alyce said:

                        I’m glad to hear that you liked this one so much! I have it checked out from the library but I don’t think I’ll have time to get to it this time around (others have it on hold). It’s definitely one I’m planning to read though, especially since I will be reading Shadow of the Wind for book club in a couple of months.

                        • At 2009.07.23 19:19, Jennifer said:

                          I meant to reply to everyone yesterday, but I got sidetracked about my CommentLuv not working. I spent almost two hours on it last night and couldn’t figure it out. I apologize to everyone and am trying to decide whether just to turn it off all together.

                          Wisteria ~ great quote! This moved this book into my vacation pile!

                          Sheri ~ I will email you tonight. I have my opinions and I’m happy to share them.

                          Sandy ~ Sounds like you have to keep the library honest and verify what you check out. It sounds to me like they’re not doing their job. This novel would be great for a book club. Most definitely. I have Little Stranger. I need to make an effort to read that one soon!

                          Ti ~ If you are basking in the glow, it’s a definite vacation read!

                          Veens ~ Gothic is wonderful. Have you read any Poe? He’d be my suggestion for an introduction.

                          Valerie ~ Yeah, CommentLuv is broken and I can’t fix it. Blah! I think you’ll enjoy Zefon. Maybe it will still be available when your Bookmark It month comes along. 🙂

                          Softdrink ~ I hate you for being so far ahead with your reviews. I hate you. LOL!

                          Dev ~ It sounds like I’m not alone with the feeling that it was a bit long. What you are saying really makes me look forward to Shadows of the Wind!

                          Marg ~ I can’t wait for your review!

                          Alyce ~ From what Dev says, it doesn’t matter what order you read them in, so you’re in the clear to read it first. I can imagine that the library wait would be extremely long. You were nice to think of the others and turn it back in.

                          • At 2009.07.23 21:57, Valerie said:

                            Hmm, commentluv seems to work ok on my blog. Maybe you can uninstall, then reinstall? I tried looking at their website to see if they had any solutions but I couldn’t find anything. Something like this would drive me crazy too!

                            Yeah, it would be cool to win this book somehow :-).

                            • […] The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón ~ I was already excited to read this after finishing The Angel’s Game.  Actually well before that.  I’ve heard on Twitter how wonderful TSOTW is, but since TAG […]

                              • At 2009.07.24 21:37, WordLily said:

                                I quite enjoyed this one, but I agree with the others who’ve said Shadow of the Wind is the better book. Wonderful!

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                                • At 2009.08.08 13:11, Jenna said:

                                  Hi Jennifer, I just finshed The Angel’s Game and have questions similar to those posted by Sheri, which I have copied below. I cried like a baby at the ending, but am confused none the less! Please help me!!! Thanks so much!!


                                  “Jennifer, I just finished this book last night. I am dreading writing the review… honestly, I am. This book is so difficult to explain…
                                  I don’t understand the ending to this book, at all! HELP! Is Corelli an angel/demon? So, Diego Marscala didn’t die in the fire/drowning? The actual guy who died was the cop who was kicked out of the force and Diego took over his life? I don’t get it. And, when Grandes told him what he investigated and what he saw… was that true? Or, because somebody hired him to kill Daniel he was just saying that? And, what happened to the book Daniel wrote?
                                  I’m just all kinds of lost on this ending. Email me

                                  • At 2009.08.09 06:42, susan said:

                                    Dear “Literate'”,
                                    I just found your website this morning and i know I’ll be a frequent visitor. I agree with so many of your readers’ comments! LOVED Shadow, and became fully engrossed in Angel, but like Sheri, I was confused by many issues at the end. My biggest question: Is Corelli actually a manifestation of David’s unstable mind? And…. (unthinkable, but I think signs point to his)… did David actually commit the murders of the sleazy book publishers? of the magician? of Cristina? I think signs point to it. The police detective says to David that ever since he has known him he always seen the angel on his lapel. Hmmmm… that started me thinking.

                                    I’m eager to hear others’ thoughts!

                                    • […] #184 ~ The Angel’s Game (literatehousewife.com) […]

                                      • At 2009.09.22 19:12, Lou said:

                                        I just finished The Angel’s Game and was completely mesmerized by it. But I am also one of the ones who are totally confused by the ending. It felt like everything happened so fast… and there were several “loose ends.” Help!

                                        • At 2010.01.22 14:38, Marie said:

                                          I agree with everyone’s questions. I read the novel and I am confused-LOST. There are so many pieces that don’t make sense to me.

                                          I’d love to receive your comments to help me piece this together.

                                          I really appreciated Shadow of the Wind. This one was a slower read, and more unsettling.

                                          • At 2010.01.25 04:25, Persis said:

                                            hello, I just finished reading this book and found it rather disappointing as compared to SOTW.

                                            It is too long and doesnt really go anywhere for the first 300 pages. I found it too descriptive and slightly repetitive.

                                            Also, Christina sacrificing her love coz she feels indebted to Vidal is a little too much. Just like David taking on a commission and being so scared of his boss in the beginning and then just recklessly abandoning the whole project without giving a thought to the boss and the consequences. I also wonder the significance of that brothel like place that David visits in the beginning of the book, since it is never mentioned again in the entire story.

                                            I am very unclear about the end, can you please email me what you think happened to Diego, Correlli, David and the book he wrote etc. I would be very grateful! My email is persis279@yahoo.com thank you.

                                            • At 2010.08.13 18:50, ellie said:

                                              hey, i loved tsotw and i just finished angel’s game last night, there are definitely lots of questions i have though..

                                              i don’t really get why the book david wrote, caused the problems (christina tried to burn it but couldn’t) or whether it was just corelli

                                              who was corelli? was he part of david’s imagination as no one else saw him apart from diego and david found out that he had died years ago

                                              what was the significance of grandes telling david that none of his story added up, i.e. the brain tumour etc… and did he actually have a brain tumour or was all of this a figment of david’s imagination?

                                              i think the brothel bit at the beginning was to plant doubt in the reader’s mind as to whether david was sane or not (i.e. he imagined it) but i’d be interested to know people’s thoughts

                                              who was the person that was set on fire and drowned 25 years ago because we know it wasn’t the police officer as his body was later found in the tower house and it obviously wasn’t diego

                                              what did the picture of corelli holding up christina under her arms when she was in the white dress (just after she died) that david saw in corelli’s house mean?

                                              What was the significance of the pictue of christina walking along the pier holding someone’s hand ( i asume corelli’s but other people said it was david’s hand)

                                              LASTLY the ending, who is little christina and what really happening in the epilogue?

                                              sorry didn’t realise how many questions i had

                                              can someone email me any answers to inurxDreams@hotmail.co.uk

                                              thanks so much

                                              • At 2010.08.13 18:55, ellie said:

                                                also when the police officer said about the angel’s brooch being on david’s lapel from the beginning, i took this to mean that maybe david is corelli i.e. he had the brain tumour and therefore was hullicinating (there are other things to imply that corelli isn’t real

                                                i am so confused, which is the complete oposite to how i felt after TSOTW

                                                please help @ inurxDreams@hotmail.co.uk

                                                • At 2010.08.16 05:52, Gabby said:

                                                  Hi, I loved the book but is very confused about the ending! All The questions posted by others are the same questions that i have? I reread it but still did not understand! Can someone please email me or post the answers on this website to explain! Thank you 🙂

                                                  • […] back, I received a few comments on my review of The Angel’s Game by Ellie and Gabby.  They have quite a few questions about just who David was, who Corelli was, […]

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