Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Angel's Game: Review


Let me just start by saying that I loved Carlos Ruiz Zafón's Shadow of the Wind. That was a breath-taking novel--exquisitely written and a truly wonderful book. The Angel's Game--not so much. After enjoying Shadow so much, I had high hopes for The Angel's Game. It starts out strong. Again, the writing is good and the plot promises to be interesting. But half-way in I just lost interest. I was suddenly noticing cliches (everywhere) and the plot made no sense to me. And everything was so gloomy and ultra-Gothic. And the dead bodies piling up everywhere....got to be a bit much. I kept hoping that Zafón would start bringing it all together and it would start making sense...and when I closed the book I was still hoping.

The novel is about David Martin, a blood and thunder writer who is struggling to make ends meet. He's living in an old, run-down mansion in the heart of Barcelona furiously trying to keep up the 6.66 pages per day that he must write to meet his contract. Then one night he meets a mysterious publisher who offers him a book deal he can't refuse. But the deeper he becomes involved with the publisher, the more things go wrong in his private life--and the more people he knows wind up dead. He begins to wonder at the connection between the book he's working on and the shadows that seem to haunt him wherever he goes. And he begins to wonder what secrets the publisher is keeping from him.

If there were any real character resolution at the end of this story, that would be a real plus. But there's not. The wrap-up to the mysterious circumstances and the final chapter just left me flat. I'm not exactly sure what
Zafón intended his readers to feel at the end of the novel, but I'm quite sure that I didn't. What I did feel was confused and let-down. The writing and the method in this novel would make a whole lot more sense to me if I found out it had actually been written before Shadow of the Wind and was Zafón's first effort. The best I can say for the book is Zafón again does a good job evoking the time period and atmosphere of Barcelona. I admire that part of his writing very much. Two stars.

4 comments:

Michelle (Red Headed Book Child) said...

That's too bad. I still have yet to read Shadow of the Wind. Thanks for being a part of this challenge. i'd say you nailed it!

Man of la Book said...

While I did enjoy "Shadow of the Wind" more, I thought "The Angel's Game" was also very good (just not "as good as...").

I have to finish my review of it.

http://www.ManOfLaBook.com

Bev Hankins said...

@Man of la Book: looking over reviews on Goodreads it looks like folks are split on this one either they, like you, think it was very good, but "not as good as" or, like me, were very let down. Must be a love it or hate it kind of book....

John said...

I agree with you Bev. This was Zafon's homage to pulp fiction of yesteryear. It was very much in a different vein than SHADOW ON THE WIND. I kept seeing references to 1940s era weird menace stories. Pretty over-the-top at times. The ending is ambiguous but I think it's meant to be supernatural as well. It's interesting that most of his work is for juveniles. I wonder if when writing for adults he gets to unleash all the stuff he wants to write in the younger audience books, but can't for editorial reasons.