The Angels Game is the follow up to The Shadow of the Wind which I read and reviewed here in July. It is once again set in Barcelona but set in an earlier era, in fact when the protagonist in The Shadow of the Wind ‘s father was still a young man. There is also an overlap with characters which at times I did tend to find confusing. It actually might have been less so if I had not read the previous novel. Does that make sense to you I wonder? Is this the reason that I found this sequel (that is actually a prequel) less enjoyable, it started off very well, but at over 500 pages it is a long novel and as the story became more complicated I kept losing the thread. Just not completely understanding what was going on meant that for me the middle of the story seemed to drag somewhat until I reached the final third when it started to fit together again, thank goodness.
The story is all together much darker which for me was another minus point because although I enjoy intrigue, suspense and even murder, I tend not to rave over the majority of gothic style novels and I believe this would be classed as such, horror stories give me the creeps and at times this certainly did. I did enjoy though all the literary references to well known classical novels that appear throughout the novel, plus the wonderful description of books having a soul. I was delighted that once again The Angel’s Game is set in Barcelona in the 1920s and 1930s and follows a struggling young writer David Martin who is approached by a mysterious figure to write a book. As in the previous novel I found that the city once again comes to life on the pages as we return to places both real and imaginary. The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, the mythical building in the heart of Barcelona, as well as the Sempere & Sons bookshop both feature again.
His adventures as he tries to write this commissioned book lead him to the brink while he mentally battles with his demons. A story of deep secrets, intrigue and romance, with that ghostly influence I at times found disturbing.
I read on the authors Official Website that this novel is about the ‘magic of books and the darkest corners of the human soul’ A perfect description and I think a novel well worth reading, despite the few problems I had I am definitely glad I read it. If you want to learn more about the novel and the author visit the site I have highlighted, you can even read the first chapter and watch a video of Barcelona there if you wish.
The following interview is very interesting as Carlos Ruiz Zafon describes these two novels as the first two acts in a series which can be read in any order. This is just the first of a three part interview, to view the full set you need to visit YouTube
Carlos Ruiz Zafron was born in 1964 in Barcelona and more can be learnt about him and his forthcoming novels here at his Website.