Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Pub. Date: June 2009
ISBN-13: 9780385528702
Pages: 531
Rating: No rating

Summary: The Angel's Game is set during the early 1900's to 1930 in Barcelona, Spain. It is the story of David Martin, a famous writer who spins crime novels under a pseudonym while living in a mansion with a mysterious history. He later meets Andreas Corelli, a wealthy publisher from Paris, who offers him 100, 000 francs if David will write a book that will change peoples' minds and hearts. David takes the offer but later realizes he is getting more than he bargained for. What's even more intriguing is the former owner of the house, the late Diego Marlasca - a writer just like David. Diego's death also involves Andreas Corelli, and it seems that David's life mirrors Diego's. Will David be able to escape the clutches of Andreas or will he suffer the same fate as Diego?
Thoughts: I wanted to like this book. I tried to like it, but I eventually quit reading at page 300. I almost didn't review this because I didn't think it was fair to rate a book that I didn't finish. In the end, I decided to post my thoughts.
Let me talk about the good points of this book first. The blurb was catchy, and I was drawn to the story because it was about a struggling writer who wanted to be published. I thought: That's cool. I know what that's like because I'm going through the same challenges myself. Another reason why the story appealed to me was because The Angel's Game was also about books. A book about books. How neat, right?
There were three parts in this novel. I didn't have any problems going through the first part of the book. I was able to relate to David who loved books. David was abused as a child and sought refuge in books. As an adolescent, he started to work as a runner for a newspaper company and had a friend in Pedro Vidal who's a writer. Vidal became his mentor and soon David started writing stories for the paper.
The second part of the book started out well. However, it was losing its firepower towards the middle. I struggled to finish part two, and finally I just gave up. Don't get me wrong. The author's brillant. Zafon wrote beautifully about Barcelona. It almost felt like I was there. The writing was dark, but I didn't mind that at all. The description and how the author wrote in David's voice were all wonderful.
What failed to keep my attention was that I lost interest in the characters. I got to a point where I just didn't care about David's findings about Diego. I didn't care who exactly Andreas Corelli was. I especially didn't care if Cristina Sangier (David's first and only love) went crazy because she didn't love her husband Pedro Vidal. In fact, I detested Cristina because I saw her as an opportunist.
If you have read any of my reviews, I love to talk about the characters and how they're the driving force of the story. The plot in The Angel's Game was great but the characters just failed to bring the story around. This might just be a personal thing though since some might care about the plot only. I'm the type of reader who wants to symphatize with the characters and be able to connect with them.
Zafon authored The Shadow of the Wind, and from what I learned, it had very favorable reviews. I just might read it one day and hope that it's a better book.
Other thoughts I'd like to share: Usually I post my recommendations after a review, but I'm not going to do that. I don't think I'm in the position to tell people not to read this book because they might enjoy it. People have their personal preferences when it comes to books, and so do I.


  1. I really enjoyed The Shadow of the Wind and recommend it. Maybe The Angel's Game doesn't have the same appeal. In any case, I plan to read it and hope I don't get bogged down in the middle. By the way, the characters in The Shadow of the Wind are superbly drawn.

  2. Thank you for sharing that, bookbirddog. Zafon is a superb author so I'm interested in reading The Shadow of the Wind.

  3. Sorry this one did not work out for you. I have not read it yet.

    BTW: I love your fall blog background; looks great!

  4. Hi, Diane. Thanks for the comment about my blog background. As for the book, I was disappointed too, but I look forward to read The Shadow of the Wind.