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291
3.9 out of 5 stars
The Angel's Game
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102 of 115 people found the following review helpful
on 24 June 2009
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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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 8 November 2009
I have literally just finished reading this book and like another reviewer have come online to see if anybody has offered an explanation for what the ending of this book meant - not sad, actually quite a logical thing to do as the mysteries in this book were never explained! It took me a little while to get into this book but once I did I found it very enjoyable and mysterious and I was looking forward to finding out how the mysteries unravelled, including who/what the mysterious Andreas Corelli was. I also agree with another reviewer that Christina was very hard to like, she had no qualities of a heroine and there seemed no reason for David to love her as he did, which made it all the more frustrating.

This is one of the most frustrating books I have ever read, as after enjoying the whole book I finished it having no idea what on earth had happened. For the last 100 pages as the plot started to gather pace and revelations of gigantic proportions started coming out of the woodwork I began to suspect that I was going to finish the novel not fully understanding what had happened and who was who - but worse than that I had no understanding of the mystery at all - it just didn't seem to make any sense at all! If you ejoy reading beautifully written books that don't end satisfactarily I would recommend this - but don't buy it if you like to actually understand and have resolved the storylines.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 16 August 2010
As one of those books which everyone is apparantly reading, curiosity got the better of me and bought The Angels Game. Undoubtedly full of style and beautifully described ( a little too much, it could have lost 20 pages), it was an intriguing page turner. But the problem is, I got to the end and had no idea what had happened. Many story strands seemed unresolved and it was unclear exatly what had become of David Martin and indeed, who Corelli really was. Twists are fine, but I really do prefer a definitive resolution. And as other reviewrs have mentioned, the last part was absurd, seeming to give itself over to the qualities of a blockbuster movie, with chases scenes and an increasingly ridiculous body count.

The three stars are awarded for the genuinely interesting, fascinating characters, and the atmosphere of Barcelona created by the author. But ultimately this book just left me frustrated.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 13 November 2009
Having read the Shadow of the Wind, I was excited to see that Zafon had written another. I was slightly disappointed to find it a little samey to the previous. Don't get me wrong, the plot is different, but Zafon obviously likes writing about the book culture in Barcelona.

The dark, narrative style is engaging and enjoyable but the endless supernatural twists and turns end up being a bit too much and seemingly for the sake of it rather than a strong contribution to the plot. It's a good story, with likeable characters but, if you're just getting into Zafon, I'd recommend that you read one or two books in between, otherwise you'll feel like you're reading the same story over again with slightly different characters.

If you enjoy this gothic style of writing, the Mysteries of Udolpho (a classic), by Mrs Radcliffe is brilliant and you should add to your reading list.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 28 August 2010
On the whole, I enjoyed reading this book. In my opinion 'The Shadow of the Wind' was an absolute masterpiece and kept me interested the whole way through. Up to about page 300 of 'The Angel's Game', I was very happy. It seemed that this would be another masterpiece, the same elegant prose and profound description. I found many memorable quotes scattered amongst the pages, and was sure it would be a five star read. But sadly it did not live up to my expectations entirely. I think this book is far too long. It could have been edited down to 300 odd pages and not have lost anything of its essence. There also seemed to be some confusion in the storyline. I often found myself having to look back in the book to try to remember who a certain character was, or a certain event. I know it's a fantasy so anything goes really, but I found it a bit far fetched and long-winded in places. There was an awful lot of death towards the end of the book, maybe a bit too dark... one death after another, all the characters being killed off in turn.
It is the story of David Martin, a writer who is commissioned by a mysterious publisher to write the ultimate religious text. In agreeing to do this, David finds himself thrown into a strange and surreal world, where the truth is stranger than fiction, and by the end of the book it is unclear what was real and what was imagined. It is also the the story of David's obsessive love for Cristina.
Despite all its shortcomings, I did like the final twist and felt that it rounded the whole book off well, which is why I am still giving it four stars. I would hesitate in recommending it to anyone, though.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 14 March 2010
This is the macabre and sinister tale of David Martín, a journalist who turns to writing books. Initially, these are regularly churned out, trashy stories, written purely for income. I won't tell where he progresses to, or describe any of the weird events that ensue, for fear of spoiling this wonderfully intriguing story for you. Suffice to say that this book is packed with action and mystery.

If you build an affinity with a strongly crafted character, then you are in danger of becoming quite depressed as you follow the exploits of unfortunate David Martín. He lives out his life in dull sepia. If anything could ever go wrong for the poor chap, it did. If he went to Heaven, St Peter would show him to the worst suite in the place and show him a bed of nails on which he may rest.

Despite all this, Martín's tale is so compelling that you cannot leave it until you have read to the last sentence of the book.

Although the events described in The Angel's Game precede those of Shadow of the Wind, there are clear connections between the characters and places which are featured in both books. The magical writing of Zafón is, once more, captivating. However, if I were to rank the two books against each other, I would say that Shadow would slightly edge it. There were times in this book when a discomforting feeling of boredom started to impinge on my enjoyment. Overall. It is a wonderful book and deserves five stars.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 1 May 2011
I downloaded The Angel's Game on the assumption that it wasn't going to grab me like The Shadow of the Wind. I was wrong: I liked it better.

There are some similarities, but I found it darker. It was perfectly-paced for me and I couldn't put it down.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 4 May 2010
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 15 June 2011
Set in Barcelona in the early 1900's the plot revolves around David Martin, a young talented writer who yearns to see his own name on the title of a published book. He eventually get's there but at some cost! I found it to be a strange, facinating and hypnotic story:(a deadly combination since it kept me glued to the pages till the small hours) The author has "a way with words" that grabbed me from the first page and held me to the last, so much so that I am now going to try his other books. My opinion: A darn good read!
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