Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Book Review: The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Photo taken from Goodreads

 Book Info

Title:  The Angel's Game 
Author:  Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Publisher:  Orion Publishing
Language: English
Format:  Paperback
Pages:  448 pages 
ISBN - 10:  0753826445
ISBN - 13:  978-0753826447
Music Background:  Lacrymosa by Evanescence
Source:  Gift, from The Boyfriend 


From Goodreads:

"In the turbulent and mysterious Barcelona of the 1920s, David Martin, a young novelist obsessed with a forbidden love, receives an offer from an enigmatic publisher to write a book like no other before—a book for which "people will live and die." In return, he is promised a fortune and, perhaps, much more."


It is often said that all books are beautiful in their own way - yes, even bad books.  But all the real literary masterpieces have one thing in common:  they suck in the souls of readers who make the mistake of opening their pages, trapping them within chapters of tales that may or may not be real, and might be too impossible to happen in real life that after readers have turned the final page and has gone onto a new book, the story lingers in their minds as if what they just read might come creeping its way out into their own lives.  If the story was as light and as pleasant as daylight then that its occurring in a reader's real life might be a wonderful idea.  But what if the story was as gothic and as terrifying as it was seductive, electrifying and fascinating?  Would a reader be thrilled to have it happen in his/her real life?  Would you?

And this is where The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon comes in.   A book about books, this is the story of David Martin, a writer of crime novels who was given a once in a lifetime chance to write an extraordinary book for a mysterious French publisher.  Little does he know that this would lead him to a series of mysteries and events that might take everything he holds dear, even his own life.

Set in the 1910s, this novel is both prequel and sequel to the author's first book, The Shadow of the Wind, as well as a stand-alone story of greed, mystery, friendship, love, and murder.  David's voice was as haunting and as engaging as he narrated the whole story, the underlined urgency egging the reader on to keep turning the page and fueling the curiosity for what is going to happen next.  Apart from playing the narrator, David also manages to be a very interesting character who undergoes some major changes in his personal views.  He is very imaginative, compassionate, a bit serious but has a great amount of sarcastic humor that peppers his dialogues throughout the book that would definitely catch any reader off guard by the sudden gust of witty and snarky remarks that is like a splash of cold water amidst a deluge of suspenseful and somber scenes.

However, the character I loved most was Isabella.  She was the perfect friend, sister, mother, even lover, all rolled into one.  In my opinion, she provided most of the comic relief as she traded jibe after jibe of entertaining remarks with David in their almost never-ending verbal sparring.  I even thought that she had better chemistry with David than Cristina, the latter's love interest.  But Cristina has her own unique characteristics that reveal her warmth and charm that helps her stand her ground among other equally fascinating characters.

What struck me the most was the 'Cemetery of Forgotten Books' which seemed to be one of the threads that connect The Angel's Game with The Shadow of the Wind.  A glimpse of this fantastic place would turn any book lover liquid with envy but nervous and a wee bit frightened at the same time.  I would love to tell you more about this particular place but I do not want to spoil the fun and will just have to make you read it yourself to find out what makes this place tick.

This book made me think of 'Lacrymosa' by Evanescence and this music kept playing in my head the entire time I was reading this book.  The gothic feel of this music perfectly matches the theme of the story, especially those times when the scenes got too intense and thrilling.  And like the lingering effect of music, most of this book's moments were stuck in my head even when I was not reading the book, even going so far as to look over my shoulder for fear that some mysterious person is stalking me.  Scary, yes, but shows that the story is very effective in embedding itself into my brain that it has almost blurred the lines between what is real and what is only in the book.  Which is a good indication that my soul has been sucked into its pages, as what I said about real literary masterpieces.

If that is so, I don't want my soul back.  But this book will definitely stay in my hands.


If you have any questions on this particular rating, please refer to my ratings system here.


All opinions expressed in this book review are my own and not influenced by any party in any way.

Please contact me for questions, comments, and suggestions.  


  1. I love ARGH, his a cutie xD

  2. Am glad that you enjoyed this book!! I was intrigued by 'The Cemetery of Forgotten Books' as well.. wish I could see it!!

    I loved The Shadow of the Wind more... but both to me are precious!!


I just have to tell you, ARGH feeds on awesomeness, so if you can, drop him some awesome here, and I promise to give some awesome back :D

Right now, because of my really busy schedule, I'm cutting back on receiving awards. So until further notice, me and ARGH would not be accepting awards. But thank you for thinking of us, we really appreciate it!