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3.9 out of 5 stars
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3.9 out of 5 stars
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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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on 10 March 2010
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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on 15 March 2011
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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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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on 17 October 2011
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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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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on 6 April 2015
Coming very late to these books, I decided to read The Angel's Game first, as it is suggested as a prequel. I have since read all of this authors works. I have had a look at some of the negative reviews of this particular book & I feel a little sad that others did not enjoy it as much as I did & I feel slightly puzzled as to why this would be. The Prisoner of Heaven, (which is a much slighter work, even though still full of depth & characterisation) rates more highly with Amazon reviewers - possibly because it is peopled by a lot of the same or similar characters to The Shadow of the Wind.

TA'sG is a wonder - is the writer David Martin living a dream within a dream, or a living nightmare? Is he schizophrenic? Has he made a pact with the devil? Can he only remember that which has never happened? The PoH answers some of the questions which TA'sG raised. Oh, & it also asks more!

Each book paints very vivid pictures of Barcelona, all very evocative, even of a time in the city that I could not possibly know about first hand.

One could theoretically read this & TSotW as stand alone books, but TPoH would be too confusing I think.Taken as a whole they all add up to a wondrous experience.

I have no idea where the next in the series will go, so look forward very much to it's publication.
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on 31 May 2009
Carlos Ruiz Zafón's 'The Shadow of the Wind' was so flawless and breathtaking that I really didn't expect that Zafón would be able to fascinate me in the same way again. I was wrong. 'The Angel's Game', an arguable prequel to 'The Shadow of the Wind' (although it can be read separately!), is, if possible, even more beautiful than his first novel. Set in 1920's Barcelona against a darker, gothic backdrop of the dangerous world of literature, 'The Angel's Game' tells the story of David Martín and the consequences of his actions when he makes a deal with the mysterious Andreas Corelli. Tied into the story is the history of the oppressive tower house Martín resides in, the Sempere & Sons bookshop, and the finicky nature of Spanish society. A truly stunning read, and recommended to just about anybody who loves reading as much as Zafón obviously does.
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on 13 July 2009
I really loved the Shadow of the Wind and was really looking forward to this book. For the most part of the book it was again really interesting and atmospheric. However the plot was quite complicated and my impression was the author did not know how to finish the book. The Amazon reviews are interesting as alot of people have given it 5 stars. This surprises me as the ending is full of holes, the chase scenes with the police were not in keeping with the rest of the book, the whole ending of the book was complicated and not in the spirit of the main portion of the book.
I think there was a number of options open to the author as to how to end the book but he looked as if he kept changing his mind. To some this may look like keeping the reader guessing but in a book so large when you keep redirecting the readers suspicions the reader just loses faith that the author knows themselves how to finish the book.
There are some lovely sentences in the book and some lovely philosophies. Parts of it are extremely well written.
I can see why some people like it and some people don't rate it all.
This is because it is not a perfect novel but it could have been.
Isabella is a lovely character as is Sempere. The cemetry of books reappears which is a good connection to the Shadow of the Wind.
However David Martin is hard to like, so is Cristina its hard to know why he loves her. This whole twist with the previous owner of the house is completely illogical and underexplained and really grated for me as I finished the novel.
If I was the writer I would have finished the book about 100 pages earlier with a neat ending. Ending seem to be the hardest part for all authors. They get an idea for a novel but have to think as they write how to finish it.
I look forward to his next book I hope its more like Shadow of the Wind which was far more together and wrapped up at the end nicely with everything fitting into place.
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VINE VOICEon 2 October 2009
I am old enough now not to feel inclined to read on when a book is letting me down (I resent wasted money but plodding on for that reason is adding insult to injury). So I gave up on The Angel's Game after 150 pages. For the reason see most of the other disappointed readers here. The Shadow of the Wind was beautifully written, original, entertaining and involving. The Angel's Game is redeemed (as far as I read) only by the fact that vivid phrases leap off every page. Otherwise, I felt little sympathy for most of the characters, I thought the author was using hints of the supernatural as an easy means of generating suspense without adequately explaining them, and I became impatient with the lack of any sense of narrative direction. So I gave up.
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