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86 of 89 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A book about books
Once more author Carlos Ruiz Zafon has produced a magically brilliant book about books with `The Angel's Game' being a supernatural saga, an action-packed thriller, a detective novel and a love story. - and perhaps even a philosophical or religious treatise. It tells a dark and gripping tale with narrative moving at a cracking pace and introducing something new on almost...
Published on 6 Sep 2009 by D. Elliott

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I'm going to have to read this again.
Shadow of the wind is now one of my favourite books so when I saw 'The Angel's Game' in a Granada book shop last year I couldn't wait for the English translation to come out. The Angel's Game drew me in intially, although I was disappointed with the lack of interesting characters - it lacks a Fermin-, but half way through I felt let down. It was almost as if the author...
Published on 16 Nov 2009 by JIGardiner


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86 of 89 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A book about books, 6 Sep 2009
By 
D. Elliott (Ulverston, Cumbria) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Angel's Game (Hardcover)
Once more author Carlos Ruiz Zafon has produced a magically brilliant book about books with `The Angel's Game' being a supernatural saga, an action-packed thriller, a detective novel and a love story. - and perhaps even a philosophical or religious treatise. It tells a dark and gripping tale with narrative moving at a cracking pace and introducing something new on almost every page. Though a stand-alone novel `The Angel's Game' (about writers) follows from Zafon's first book `The Shadow Of The Wind' (about readers), but for me it is not quite as good. This is partly because, in spite of its compelling nature, it reads as though at least two translators were employed with varied language that is generally elegant and stylish yet sometimes colloquial and abrupt. However the main drawback is the book's proliferation of sub-plots (of which some are left unexplained) and their complicated inter-relations. This complexity undermines any possible plausible solution and for me it leaves the ending somewhat weak. I suspect author Zafon is deliberately provoking readers to use their imaginations and to arrive at their own conclusions. I discussed this with my wife and we had both interpreted things differently - so read it yourself - you won't be disappointed.
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57 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mesmerising, 10 Mar 2010
By 
This review is from: The Angel's Game (Hardcover)
Having recently read Shadow of the Wind I was hungry for more. I was overjoyed to find The Angels Game. There are plots within plots, within plots that leave you dizzy. The story is a dark, Gothic and supernatural thriller that unfolds within the grotesque architecture of old Barcelona, worthy of the surrealism of Mervyn Peake.
I found it difficult to put down and the characters even invaded my dreams. It is laced with nightmare scenarios and impossible situations.
I loved and loathed the hero at different times but wanted him to win against all the odds. Zafon's characters leap off the page and the humour is sharp and often crops up when you least expect it.
The ending left many unanswered questions hanging in the air but was none the less satisfying. Zafon has two more books he is writing in this series. I personally feel that he will revisit the open ends in this book later on and bring them to a satisfactory conclusion; I certainly hope so and look forward to them.
Read, open your mind and let your imagine roam the dark and mysterious world of The Angels Game. You will not be disappointed.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I'm going to have to read this again., 16 Nov 2009
By 
JIGardiner - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Angel's Game (Hardcover)
Shadow of the wind is now one of my favourite books so when I saw 'The Angel's Game' in a Granada book shop last year I couldn't wait for the English translation to come out. The Angel's Game drew me in intially, although I was disappointed with the lack of interesting characters - it lacks a Fermin-, but half way through I felt let down. It was almost as if the author had lost interest in his own story and was struggling to keep it going.
I shall have to read this again to see if I 'lost the plot' but it definitely disappointed after 'Shadow of the Wind'.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Superb writing but horribly unfulfilling., 15 Mar 2011
By 
C. Castle (Huddersfield, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Angel's Game (Paperback)
Cor, I'm mad. I feel like writing to the author or publisher, not only for my money back, but for the 3 hours I spent, obsessively reading the last half of this book (unwashed children, hungry cats, unanswered phone) only to find that nothing is answered.

From the moment I started to read The Angel's Game, I realised that we were in the hands of a master - I have since discovered that it is a translation and enormous kudos must go to the translator - from a nuts and bolts writing point of view, this is superb.

However - the plot twists and turns, frequently making one unable to suspend disbelief and ending in a woolly, completely unsatisfactory manner. Perhaps the author and publisher felt that the fame Zafor realized for his earlier book (which I have not read) excused sloppy and ill-conceived structure?

I'm afraid to say that The Angel's Game is a meandering story that whilst both gripping and visually fascinating will leave most readers at the end, gritting their teeth with irritation and feeling both confused and short-changed.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars What the heck actually happened?, 17 Oct 2011
By 
Cherry Radford (Brighton, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Angel's Game (Paperback)
I can't decide, am I: a) thick b) being shown it's a mistake to read 'out of my genre' or c) at the mercy of a monstrously talented writer who has - literally - lost the plot(s)?!

As an hispanophile author I was drawn to this novel about writing novels, set in Barcelona; although supernatural happenings and body counts aren't my thing, I thought I'd cope. But I soon found myself saying 'yeah, yeah' every time something spooky happened or we were going down yet another over-described gloomy street or corridor 'knowing we were not alone'. Near the end of the novel we were doing practically nothing else, and I became increasingly confused as to who had done what. But I hung on in there as I cared about the characters and had a naive trust that all would be revealed. It wasn't - or not to me anyway.

It's maddening, there's an amazing story in here, some beautiful writing, interesting ideas. It amused me and moved me. Like all good novels, it's stayed with me and I'm not yet ready to start another. But for heavens' sake, what the heck actually happened?
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A maelstrom of murderous twists, 4 May 2010
By 
Lily Childs (East Sussex, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Angel's Game (Paperback)
If ever a book left me feeling I could never make it as an author then Carlos Ruiz Zafón's The Angel's Game is it. Set in pre-civil war Barcelona Zafón's tale of intrigue and murder twists and turns at relentless speed.

The Angel's Game features writer David Martìn, son of a drunken father and a disinterested, absent mother. Martìn is thrown into the somewhat seedy realm of journalism after his father is murdered in the street and the young David is taken under the wing of Señor Vidal, one of the city's wealthy sons. Taking pity on the lad Vidal finds David a job at the offices of a newspaper he has connections with, and quickly becomes David's mentor, friend and benefactor.

As David Martìn moves up, down and sideways through the world of writing his own life becomes as strange as the penny dreadfuls he pens. Taking up residence in the mysterious, derelict Tower House the young author writes day and night until he can barely breathe. He rarely eats, he never sleeps. His volatile existence is fuelled by cigarettes, coffee and alcohol.

Even with the constants of Vidal's support and friendship, the all-seeing eye of bookseller Señor Sempere and the unrequited love of the beautiful and unobtainable Cristina, a barrage of events dart at Martìn from every direction. Violence hangs around every corner. Ghosts from the past come unbidden into the here and now. The Tower House reveals itself. We are left in no doubt that all is not as it seems.

David Martìn's Barcelona is a surreal place of twisting alleys and sprawling mansions, steamy docklands and towering mountains. Readers of Zafón's first novel The Shadow of the Wind will be familiar with the Cemetery of Forgotten Books - recalling the library with both affection and fear. Here, in this most secret of places Martìn unleashes the key that will turn everything, strange as it already is, on its head. Who is the angel playing the game of the book's title?

The pace of this novel is exhilarating. The atmosphere - noir and gothic yet coloured with Mediterranean spice. Death and love seem interchangeable in the Spanish psyche and Zafón spins these contrasts round and around, revisiting them from every angle.

Zafón is the master of description. His well-crafted prose is sprinkled with a menace laced with dark poetry. The Angel's Game excels in edginess, a sensation that reminds me of another angel - Alan Parker's 1987 film Angel Heart starring Mickey Rourke. The bizarre lifestyle of David Martìn is reminiscent of works by Burroughs.

Finishing this book I felt exhausted. Bereft - cheated even that something so powerful and addictive had been taken from me. I can honestly say that this is one of the most riveting and exciting novels I have ever read. Any fiction that can make me gasp out loud goes straight to the top of my list. Highly recommended.
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102 of 115 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 24 Jun 2009
This review is from: The Angel's Game (Hardcover)
I loved Shadow of the Wind and wondered if The Angel's Game could live up top it - it didn't. The writing style is flawless as are the descriptions of old Barcelona and for about three-quarters of the book I was hooked. The last quarter stretched my credulity to breaking point with the main character brushing off numerous attempts on his life by armed and very tough police officers, leaving a higher body count than a Dirty Harry movie as the story degenerated into a series of chases and killings. I found the resolution clumsy and it did not explain the various mysteries which had been so beautifully set up earlier in the story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not a Classic, but Worth a Read Nonetheless, 6 Aug 2009
This review is from: The Angel's Game (Hardcover)
In this novel we are taken to the gothic and oppressive atmosphere of early twentieth century Barcelona, seen by the eyes of the budding young writer David Martin. We then follow his path as he finds moderate fame through his City of the Damned novels, under his alias, though scarce riches as his lecherous publishers reap the benefits. His friend and mentor, Don Pedro Vidal, helps him find his feet; and with the beautiful and troubled Christina thrown in a delicate love-triangle is formed.

Onto the scene comes the mysterious Andreas Corelli, known simply as `the Boss'. He commissions Martin to write a religious novel, a fable that will appeal to the masses. As his writing of this work continues, and more and more characters are introduced, Martin finds himself in a world of madness and horror, of parallel events and of one in which his own house has as pivotal a role as any other lead. Questions are suggested about the true identity of the so called `Boss', and the sharp divisions between reality and insanity are blurred. Again we are invited into the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, a wonderful literary creation, and shown a very dark and sinister side of Barcelona.

The writing is pleasant, uncomplicated and the novel proceeds at a fair pace, at the hands of its narrator, Martin. It follows him from one tragedy to the next, allowing him to briefly find happiness, only for that happiness to be quickly snatched from him, replaced by greater misery. One is very much reminded of R.J. Ellory's A Quiet Belief in Angels. And the similarities are quite stark. Both tell the tale of a young writer progressing through life, of how he is followed by the unruly fingers of misfortune, of how every joy experienced is short-lived, how he is wrongly convicted, as well as betrayed, and ultimately loses almost everything he has.

It is set before the time of The Shadow of the Wind and indeed there are a few characters found in both novels, the most notable coming at the end of The Angel's Game with the birth of Daniel, who is the same Daniel as the hero of The Shadow of the Wind. The two novels are entirely unrelated when it comes to the different plots, and the link is a small one, albeit quite pleasing nonetheless.

Compared to The Shadow of the Wind this is a disappointing novel. It is well written, with an interesting and intriguing subject matter, but I feel that Ruiz Zafon as perhaps been a little too ambitious. He creates subplots which are shown and then forgotten for some time; characters which are introduced, but not developed into credible pieces of the puzzle, their rightful place in the entangled plot never explained. But the characters which are developed to a certain extent are believable and likeable. Such as the passionate Isabella, the seventeen year old who forces herself upon Martin as his assistant; and the old Senor Sempere, patron of the local book shop and a genial soul who's love of books reflects many a readers own thoughts.

This novel is not as good as his previous one, but still an enjoyable and riveting read; even if one is left wondering what happened to this or that character and why that thing wasn't explained properly...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well Worth the long Wait, 29 Jun 2009
By 
Lincs Reader (Lincolnshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Angel's Game (Hardcover)
At last, after a long and hard week in which I've had hardly any time to read I was able to give myself a few hours today to fully immerse myself in the second half of The Angel's Game.

I read Shadow of the Wind around 4 years ago and ever since it has been the book that I have probably compared everything I've read since with, with that as my benchmark I did have my worries that The Angel's Game would somehow not live up to my expectations.

Thankfully I was wrong - although I do think that this book is very different to Shadow of The Wind - yes, the same setting and yes, to some degree the same theme - but this is so much darker, almost a thriller or murder mystery, whereas I was never able to catergorise 'Shadow' in any way. I thought the translation was wonderfully done and appreciated the humourous touches throughout the novel.

Dripping with gothic atmosphere, the streets of Barcalona come alive for the reader - the mysteries that are never really answered worked so well for me - I enjoy coming to my own conclusions and am not a fan of stories that are all tied up at the end with no room for using one's own imagination.

Beneath the darkness, the creepy characters and the foreboding streets of the city related so well in the book - there is a beautiful love story, not your ordinary, everyday love story by any means, but one that is strong and never wavers despite the obstacles put in their way.

The Angel's Game is worth every minute of my patient wait over the years - it's lyrical, beautiful and vivid and will proudly take it's place on my bookshelf.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book you won't want to put down, 16 July 2011
This review is from: The Angel's Game (Paperback)
Really atmospheric story. It's something of a cross between a thriller, a horror story and fantasy. Zafón has set the story in Barcleona of the 1920s and 1930s. The book follows (and is narrated by) David Martin, a young writer who is approached by a mysterious figure to write a book. A gripping read from start to finish.
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The Angel's Game
The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (Paperback - 29 April 2010)
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