Guest Review: The Angel’s Game

Posted September 11, 2012 by Guest Post in Crime, Guest Posts, Historical Fiction / 0 Comments

Guest Review: The Angel’s GameTitle: The Angel’s Game (Goodreads)
Author: Carlos Ruiz Zafón
Translator: Lucia Graves
Series: Cemetery of Forgotten Books #2
Published: Knopf Doubleday, 2008
Pages: 531
Genres: Crime, Historical Fiction
My Copy: Personal Copy

Buy: AmazonBook DepositoryKindle (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

The Angel’s Game is the prequel to The Shadow of the Wind. This book is set in the gothic city of Barcelona in the 1900’s. It tells the story of David Martin, who one day dreams of becoming a serious writer. He gets his break when he is asked to write a fictional series under a pseudonym. Earning a modest wage, he decides buy an abandoned Tower house, which he has had his eye on for a while, but soon finds out it has a dark history. Over the years David starts to feeling unsatisfied with his writing career and decides to take a big risk and write his own novel. It was during that time that unforeseen circumstances had arisen, leaving David feel betrayed, depressed and in poor health when he is approached by mysterious French publisher who offers him a deal that will change his life forever.

This is my 2nd attempt at reading The Angel’s Game and I’m glad I made the decision to re-read it. Through this attempt I came to realise what a beautifully written book this is with a clever plot and the adorable characters that I have grown to love, which I had completely overlooked during my first read. I think part of the reason was the fact that I read it not long after reading Shadow of the Wind, which happens to be my all time favourite book. I believe my view of this book may have been overshadowed by its previous one. I desperately wanted the author to create another Shadow of the Wind and I was disappointed when it didn’t live up to my expectations.

My opinion of Cristina, David’s love interest, remained the same in both reads. I had an instant dislike to her and I couldn’t see what was so appealing in David’s eyes. She seemed a cold and distant character with no personality to her. She caused a significant amount of distress to David’s emotional state and I couldn’t see any reasoning for it.

The mystery surrounding the Tower house and Andreas Corelli was complex and strange. I felt it was not one to rush through as the answer was not spelt out to you in black and white. There were many layers, and characters that were introduced to you towards the end that I found the need to slow my pace to get the gist of what was happening. I can’t say that I could give you a definite answer, even after the 2nd read, but it made me question whether David was of sane mind and reliable? Or were the events took place due to something supernatural?Or both? Nonetheless it was extremely suspenseful and had me glued to the pages.

It is rare for me to re-read a book as I was of the opinion that I had a good memory. But going into this book again I was surprised to realise how much of the earlier parts I had completely forgotten, and they were the most entertaining, dramatic and moving parts of the book. Barcelona itself was a character all of its own. Carlos has a magical way of describing its haunting beauty and provided the perfect atmosphere to this mysterious tale. I came to adore David assistant, Isabella, who was a feisty, bossy and determined character and some of the best and light hearted moments involved the interaction between Isabelle and David. Their playful and passionate conversations and sarcastic remarks were so amusing and a pleasure to read. And I can’t go further without mentioning the wise and compassionate Senor Sempere from Sempere & Sons book shop, who knew David like no other and was a father figure. He provided him comfort at really hard time and the books to fuel his brain.

This book is an amazing story and I’m so pleased that I gave it another go with a clear and open mind. I can’t say that it is as good as The Shadow of the Wind but nonetheless it a thrilling read with many elements to it. I’m sure if I read it again I would find something new and exciting that will surprise me. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I believe it is worth reading.

Original Rating:  

Re-Read Rating:  


This is a guest post by Mish; when she is not reading she is busy moderating that Aussie Readers group on Goodreads. Big thanks to her for this post and doing a read a long with me of The Angel’s Game.

0 responses to “Guest Review: The Angel’s Game

  1. Mish

    Michael, thankyou very much for having me on here again. Re-reading Angel’s Game was a great experience for me the second time around but not only that, I’ve come to realise that I want to revisit some of my favourites again that I’ve only read once – Jasper Jones & Shadow of the Wind.

      • Mish

        I probably couldn’t read Angel’s Game anytime soon. I’d like to perhaps give myself at least 2 year before I read it again. I don’t know if my opinion will change that much but I do hope to get a clearer understanding of Andreas Corelli & David’s mind.
        But yes it would be interesting to see how I feel with a re-read of Shadow of the Wind. The first & only time I read it was 2009.

  2. Stephanie Campisi

    I’m always fascinated by how much a re-reading can influence someone’s opinion of a book. We change so much as readers based on our experiences and on other things that we read along the way, and it’s so often the case that the “reader me” who first read a given book is completely different from the “reader me” I am the second time around.

    • Mish

      I agree with you Stephanie, there are so many things that can influence our reading. Going into this book the second time I wasn’t expecting my opinion to changed so dramatically though. And what I found interesting was the fact that I only could remember the negative aspects of the book the first time around and none of the positive – I really didn’t go into this book with a clear mind the first time.

  3. Jennifer Liu

    Hi Mish, thanks for the review, it really gave me motivation to re-read the book as well. Like you, I was utterly disappointed when I read The Angel’s Game (which was after I read The Shadow of the Wind as well), but after reading The Prisoner of Heaven recently, I realised that perhaps there are many hidden elements I’ve missed in The Angel’s Game previously. I wonder if you’ve re-read The Angel’s Game after you’ve read The Prisoner of Heaven, or before?

    • Mish

      Hi Jennifer, I was so happy to hear that I’ve motivated you
      to re-read Angel’s Game. It is a remarkable book & I do hope you have success
      the 2nd time around. Please let me know how you go.

      Prisoner of Heaven wasn’t out when I decided to re-read
      Angel’s Game but it was the buzz surrounding the release of his new book that
      made me decide. Plus I thought I’d better brush up on my knowledge of Angel’s
      Game before heading straight into the new one. And I’m glad it did.

      I haven’t read Prisoner of Heaven as yet but I’d like to read sometime next month. Did you like it?

      • Jennifer Liu

        Prisoner of Heaven was pretty good for me, but it was rather short, about only half the length of Shadow of the Wind and Angel’s Game. Still, I think it’s pretty satisfactory and I enjoyed it more than Angel’s Game (at least for now). I think Zafon did a good job in bridging the gaps and linking the three books together, and of course not forgetting to also leave us with more questions at the end of the book to be answered in the fourth book (lol). Overall, it was an enjoyable read. I’ll let you know how it goes after I do a rerun with Angel’s Game, and I definitely look forward to your review for Prisoner of Heaven!

        • Mish

          Thanks Jennifer, it sounds great. I’m now more & more intrigued
          how he’s going to link them together.

          And yes, I’ll look forward to hearing you’re thoughts on the
          re-read & I’ll give you mine on Prisoner of Heaven 🙂

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