Afterwords is my review. Forewords about the book may interest you too.
Hardcover: 544 pages
Publisher: Doubleday (June 16, 2009)
"...if Shadow of the Wind is the nice, good girl in the family, The Angel’s Game would be the wicked gothic stepsister."
That's how Zafon describes this novel of high suspense about books and writing, desire and ambition. It seems he's planned a series.
"to give each book a different personality, to show some of the same characters at different times in their lives. Since these books were, in part, about the world of literature, books, reading and language, I thought it would be interesting to use the different novels to explore those themes through different angles and to add new layers to the meaning of the stories.
...four different novels. They would be stand-alone stories that could be read in any order. I saw them as a Chinese box of stories with four doors of entry, a labyrinth of fictions that could be explored in many directions, entirely or in parts, and that could provide the reader with an additional layer of enjoyment and play. These novels would have a central axis, the idea of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, set against the backdrop of a highly stylized, gothic and mysterious Barcelona.
The Angel’s Game is a new book, a stand-alone story that you can fully enjoy and understand on its own. But if you have already read The Shadow of the Wind, or you decide to read it afterwards, you’ll find new meanings and connections that I hope will enhance your experience with these characters and their adventures.
The Angel’s Game has many games inside, one of them with the reader. It is a book designed to make you step into the storytelling process and become a part of it. In other words, the wicked, gothic chick wants your blood."
I have not read The Shadow of the Wind, this is not my usual genre. So I quote extensively because his explanation, though overblown, explains it all much better than I can.
I enjoyed the story. Its minor characters are so well developed that I often found them much more interesting than David Martin, our young writer. Their feelings and motivations seemed more fleshed out. After getting into writing David puts out a series of potboilers that the public eats up but are known only under a pen name. David can write well, he even writes a great book for a friend and no one knows him as the writer of that book either. The Sempere and Sons Bookshop figures large in the story, so does the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, and a woman he will do anything for. An offer from a French editor to write the book of a lifetime, a book that can change the world, lures our protagonist into the dark, gothic side of ambition. There is an element of fantasy to the novel which threw me, only because nothing outside the real world ever happens in my usual reading, so I didn't clue in to what was happening on one level. I suspect that Zafon's readers like that he will go in any direction to sustain a story. And it's certainly an interesting story.
It's set in Barcelona, about two decades earlier than The Shadow of the Wind. The story moved quickly enough that it did not feel like a long novel, it made you want to know what's going to happen next. The novel is a mystery but a highly evolved one, with intrigue, romance, tragedy, and with much more at stake for our protagonist than is usual. I think people are going to enjoy this book for the most part. It's not perfect, but it's a fun read. Four stars out of five. I recommend it.
Have you read The Angel's Game? What did you think? Any plans to read it? If you've reviewed it, leave me a link, I'd love to read it.
Have you read other books by Zafon, and which do you recommend? The Shadow of the Wind-did you love it or hate it? No Spoilers please.
"25 Books That Caused A Commotion" (1) 4 1/2 stars (5) 4 stars (6) 5 stars (8) American literature (21) Asian American authors (1) Australian literature (3) book awards (10) book giveaways (23) book news (4) booking through thursday (3) Books Read This Week (2) Books TBR in 2009 (1) Burma (1) Cambodia (2) Canada (11) Canadian lit (3) Canadian literature (11) Columbian literature (1) Cover Attraction (3) doctors (1) education (1) elephants (1) England (3) English literature (5) environment (1) epistolary fiction (4) Ex-Cottagers in Love (1) family (3) fiction (2) five stars (2) forewords (1) four and a half stars (1) four stars (1) French literature (3) Friday Finds (6) Giller Prize (2) Giller Prize longlist (1) Giller Prize Winner 2008 (1) guest reviews (10) Hachette (2) haiku (4) Haiku Friday (5) historical fiction (6) humour (1) immigrants (1) Index of Books Reviewed (1) interview (1) Iraq (1) Israel (2) Israeli literature (1) It's Monday What are you reading this week? (2) Italian literature (1) Italy (1) Jerusalem (1) Jewish Book Month (3) Jewish Literature (6) Jewish Literature Challenge (2) Judaism (1) Latin American literature (1) Latin American Reading Challenge (1) library books (1) Library Loot (28) Library Loot July 22 (1) literary fiction (38) literature (20) literature in translation (1) love stories (2) Mailbox Monday (19) male friendship (1) marriage (1) medicine (1) memoir (1) music (1) Musing Mondays (2) My Favourite Reads (1) my work (1) mystery (1) Native Canadians (1) New Crayons (6) New Crayons July 5 (1) New England (1) New York (1) Nigeria (1) Nigerian literature (1) Nobel author (3) Nobel authors (1) Nobel Laureate (1) non-fiction (1) Norway (1) Norwegian literature (1) Nova Scotia (1) Orange Prize (2) ornithology (1) Orthodox Judaism (1) psychological fiction (3) Pulitzer Project (1) rating system (1) Read 'Em Yet? Wednesday (1) Read in 2008 (1) reading challenges (62) reading challenges 2010 (1) reviews (46) Russia (1) Russian literature (1) Salon Sunday (1) Scandinavian mystery (1) short stories (2) Show Me 5 Saturday (2) Spanish literature (2) Sunday Salon (3) The Complete Booker Reading Challenge (1) The Martel-Harper Challenge (1) The Sunday Salon (12) Thursday Tea (4) Toronto (1) translation (2) triplets (1) TSS (2) TSS June in Review (1) TSS March in Review (1) TSS May in Review (1) TSS Week in Review (2) Turkish literature (2) Venice (1) Waiting on Wednesday (8) Waiting on Wednesday July 15 (1) war stories (2) Weekly Geeks (11) What Are You Reading On Mondays? (10) What's On Your Nightstand? (8) winners (14) women writers (2) Wondrous Words (1) Wordless Wednesday (3) writers (1) WW II (2) Wyoming (1)