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The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

The Angel's Game (2008)

by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Cemetery of Forgotten Books (2)

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6,711370873 (3.67)391
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English (303)  Spanish (18)  Dutch (16)  German (9)  Italian (8)  French (6)  Norwegian (3)  Swedish (2)  Catalan (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Finnish (1)  Hungarian (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  All languages (370)
Showing 1-5 of 303 (next | show all)
Beset with increasingly debilitating headaches, fledgling author David Martín learns from his physician that he suffers from a brain tumor and the prognosis isn't promising. Soon after, he is approached by a mysterious stranger who offers him a large sum of money and a clean bill of health in exchange for writing an influential religious book. David agrees, though the further he becomes entangled in his boss' wishes, the greater his misgivings.

Zafón's first book in this series, The Shadow of the Wind, was breathtaking. This one? Not so much. The writing is still beautiful, but the story itself was not nearly as engrossing as I was expecting. It sounds like quality picks up again with book 3, and I'm looking forward to it. ( )
  ryner | Mar 6, 2019 |
UPDATE 10/25/2017 - Reread this book for the third time. I'm still in awe. I love this book so much!!!

It has been about 16 hours since I've finished this book, and I keep wanting to go back to it. I'm having a serious book hangover. This book has everything in it that I love. Beautiful writing...check. Flawed, complicated, yet loveable characters...check. Atmosphere and setting...CHECK!!! I would say that the setting is what is really causing this book hangover. Most of the story takes place in Barcelona, which is my favorite place in the world. To dial up atmosphere, the weather and locations in Barcelona used in this book make for a tremendously satisfying Gothic read. The main character, David Martin, is someone you want to smack across the back of the head and then turn around and hug. My favorite character in the book (aside from Isaac who has my dream job) is Isabella. I would love to have her spunk and tenacity. The plot is quick, and I did not see the twists coming. I've quit reading standard mystery novels, because they are too formulaic and I can usually predict the "whodunit." That was not the case with this book. This book was an excellent follow up to The Shadow of the Wind. I can't wait to get to the third book, although I kind want to re-read the first two and then dive into the third. Ruiz Zafon is now among my all-time favorite authors. I only wish I had kept using Spanish after college, so I could read these books in their native language. Big props to Lucia Graves on her translation! I RECOMMEDN THAT EVERYONE GO AND READ THIS BOOK...LIKE STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING...RIGHT NOW...AND READ THIS BOOK!!! You can thank me later!!! ( )
  tntbeckyford | Feb 16, 2019 |
This was incredibly detailed in writing, every page was something I can see in my head like a movie. The storyline never lost its pace, the characters were beautifully written, though the story had me confused with some of the characters at times, but easily found my way back. ( )
1 vote thursbest | Nov 5, 2018 |
The Angel’s Game is the second book in The Cemetery of Forgotten Books series, but it follows events that took place before The Shadow of the Wind happens. I have been so excited to get back into this interesting world and learn about Barcelona before David Sempere was born into it. While I don’t think that this book quite captures the magic of The Shadow of the Wind, it’s still interesting, and has plenty of drama and intrigue to keep you going. Unsurprisingly, this book centers on the power of words and stories; the main character, David Martin, is a pulp fiction writer, and dreams of becoming an author in his own right someday. After ghostwriting a successful story, a mysterious man offers a huge publishing contract for him to write a book about religion; however, David has no idea just what he’s agreed to until too late.

I had a bit of a hard time getting into this book. First, it’s rather depressing, so you have to be in the right mindset to take it all in. A lot of the story hinges on gloom and unhappiness, so definitely be prepared for that. This isn’t light, fun reading. There’s a real melancholy air hovering over the story. It also takes a while to set the scene and get everything in place before it ramps up. But, when it gets going, it doesn’t stop. I zoomed through the last hundred pages or so, because I just couldn’t put the book down. There was too much going on and everything was high-energy, so I just kept turning those pages.

There’s equal amounts of fantasy and mystery, with touches of romance too. The plot was super interesting, and once the whole of the story is revealed, it’s very good. I liked that Zafon dropped a few familiar things from The Shadow of the Wind, but you absolutely don’t need to read that book before reading this; they are completely independent stories. I have a personal like for reading things in chronological order, so if I’d known about this book before I read The Shadow of the Wind, I think I would have enjoyed it more to read The Angel’s Game first, but alas.

If you liked The Shadow of the Wind, I think you’ll also like this, but it’s definitely a different sort of story, and like I said earlier, just not quite as magical. It gave me some new appreciation for the first book, and I want to re-read it now after reading this, but I’ll hold off until I read the third book. If you’re interested in Gothic novels, and love some dark intrigue and mystery with a bit of magical realism thrown in, definitely check this out.

Also posted on Purple People Readers. ( )
  sedelia | May 29, 2018 |
Plus a half star which might be credited to the translator Lucia Graves for a fabulous job. The tale is told in the first person but the voice is anything but straightforward; petty and weak willed and unreliable as seen from the inside, yet attracting strong friendships from clearly insightful people. The more I think back over the book, the more I see in it and the more I like it. Full of lots of different sorts of angels. ( )
  Ma_Washigeri | May 27, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 303 (next | show all)
The result is a twisty, sarcastic ode to books, with a satisfying dollop of religious theory thrown in for good measure. On its surface, "The Angel's Game" is a thriller laden with Gothic elements, but readers who need a traditional denouement with answers neatly laid out will come away disappointed. (I definitely had a little moment of "Wait! What? Huh???" at the end.)

But while the plot payoff may not be what readers are expecting, the novel itself is such a pleasure to read that the characters could have ended with a rendition of "The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow," played on cowbells and a zither, and I would have shrugged it off.
added by sduff222 | editThe Christian Science Monitor, Yvonne Zipp (Jul 11, 2009)
“Faust” this isn’t. Ruiz Zafón’s flamboyant pulp epic is something altogether sillier, a pact-with-the-devil tale whose only purpose is to give its readers some small intimation of the darker pleasures of the literary arts, the weird thrill of storytelling without conscience.
Game is a multi-layered confection that combines undying love, magical realism, meditations on religion, the importance of books and a love affair with the vibrant city of Barcelona.

Zafon hits the reset button on what it means to be a great writer. His visionary storytelling prowess is a genre unto itself.
added by sduff222 | editUSA Today, Carol Memmott (Jun 16, 2009)
While much of this novel is highly enjoyable, at some latter point the tongue withdraws from the cheek. In wrapping up a host of absurd sub-plots, somewhere in there the writer loses his sense of humour. When the book ceases to be self-conscious about its own manipulations, it stops being fun. This won’t bother some readers; some will happily dive into the mysticism up to the neck. But others will miss the drollery and sophistication with which the novel began, and for these readers Zafón’s straight resolution will disappoint.
Zafon delivers a warning about the dangers of obsession, mixed with an obvious passion for literature and the printed word; his book is also a song of love for Barcelona with all its creaking floorboards and hidden subbasements.

A nice fit with the current craze for learned mysteries and for spooks of both the spying and the spectral kind.
added by sduff222 | editKirkus Reviews (Jun 1, 2009)

» Add other authors (33 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ruiz Zafón, Carlosprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Arpaia, BrunoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Blank, YvonneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Geel, NellekeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Graves, LuciaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Härkönen, TarjaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Partanen, AnuTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schwaar, PeterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For MariCarmen, «a nation of two»
First words
A writer never forgets the first time he accepted a few coins or a word of praise in exchange for a story.
It is part of our nature to survive. Faith is an instinctive response to aspects of existence that we cannot explain by any other means, be it the moral void we perceive in the universe, the certainty of death, the mystery of the origin of things, the meanings of our lives, or the absence of meaning. These are the basic and extremely simple aspects of existence, but our limitations prevent us from responding in an unequivocal way and for that reason we generate an emotional response, as a defense mechanism. It's pure biology.
An intellectual is usually someone who isn't exactly distinguished by his intellect. He claims that label to compensate for his inadequacies. It's as old as that saying: Tell me what you boast of and I'll tell you what you lack. Our daily bread. The incompetent always present themselves as experts, the cruel as pious, sinners as devout, usurers as benefactors, the small-minded as the patriots, the arrogant as the humble, the vulgar as elegant, and the feeble-minded as intellectual.
I'm staying here to read. Life's too short.
Silence makes even idiots seem wise for a minute.
Most people, as they grow old, continue to believe in nonsense, usually even greater nonsense. I swim against the tide because I like to annoy.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Na Barcelona turbulenta dos anos 20, um jovem escritor obcecado com um amor impossível recebe de um misterioso editor a proposta para escrever um livro como nunca existiu a troco de uma fortuna e, talvez, muito mais. Com deslumbrante estilo e impecável precisão narrativa, o autor de A Sombra do Vento transporta-nos de novo para a Barcelona do Cemitério dos Livros Esquecidos, para nos oferecer uma aventura de intriga, romance e tragédia, através de um labirinto de segredos onde o fascínio pelos livros, a paixão e a amizade se conjugam num relato magistral.
(Bullhosa books & living)
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0385528701, Hardcover)

Book Description
From master storyteller Carlos Ruiz Zafón, author of the international phenomenon The Shadow of the Wind, comes The Angel’s Game--a dazzling new page-turner about the perilous nature of obsession, in literature and in love.

“The whole of Barcelona stretched out at my feet and I wanted to believe that, when I opened those windows, its streets would whisper stories to me, secrets I could capture on paper and narrate to whomever cared to listen...”

In an abandoned mansion at the heart of Barcelona, a young man, David Martín, makes his living by writing sensationalist novels under a pseudonym. The survivor of a troubled childhood, he has taken refuge in the world of books and spends his nights spinning baroque tales about the city’s underworld. But perhaps his dark imaginings are not as strange as they seem, for in a locked room deep within the house lie photographs and letters hinting at the mysterious death of the previous owner.

Like a slow poison, the history of the place seeps into his bones as he struggles with an impossible love. Close to despair, David receives a letter from a reclusive French editor, Andreas Corelli, who makes him the offer of a lifetime. He is to write a book unlike anything that has ever existed--a book with the power to change hearts and minds. In return, he will receive a fortune, and perhaps more. But as David begins the work, he realizes that there is a connection between his haunting book and the shadows that surround his home.

Once again, Zafón takes us into a dark, gothic universe first seen in The Shadow of the Wind and creates a breathtaking adventure of intrigue, romance, and tragedy. Through a dizzingly constructed labyrinth of secrets, the magic of books, passion, and friendship blend into a masterful story.

Carlos Ruiz Zafón on The Angel's Game

Years ago, when I began working on my fifth novel, The Shadow of the Wind, I started toying around with the idea of creating a fictional universe that would be articulated through four interconnected stories in which we would meet some of the same characters at different times in their lives, and see them from different perspectives where many plots and subplots would tie around in knots for the reader to untie. It sounds somewhat pretentious, but my idea was to add a twist to the story and provide the reader with what I hoped would be a stimulating and playful reading experience. 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.

At first I thought this could be done in one book, but soon I realized it would make Shadow of the Wind a monster novel, and in many ways, destroy the structure I was trying to design for it. I realized I would have to write 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. Since each novel was going to be complex and difficult to write, I decided to take one at a time and see how the experiment evolved on its own in an organic way.

It all sounds very complicated, but it is not. At the end of the day, these are just stories that share a universe, a tone and some central themes and characters. You don’t need to care or know about any of this stuff to enjoy them. One of the fun things about this process was it allowed me to give each book a different personality. Thus, if Shadow of the Wind is the nice, good girl in the family, The Angel’s Game would be the wicked gothic stepsister. Some readers often ask me if The Angel’s Game is a prequel or a sequel. The answer is: none of these things, and all of the above. Essentially 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. Beware. Maybe, without realizing, I ended up writing a monster book after all... Don’t say I didn’t warn you, courageous reader. I’ll see you on the other side. --Carlos Ruiz Zafón

(Photo © Isolde Ohlbaum)

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:25 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

In an abandoned mansion at the heart of Barcelona, a young man, David Martin, makes his living by writing sensationalist novels under a pseudonym. Close to despair, he receives a letter from a reclusive French editor, Andreas Corelli, who makes him the offer of a lifetime--write a book unlike anything that has ever existed--a book with the power to change hearts and minds. In return, he will receive a fortune, and perhaps more. But as David begins the work, he realizes that there is a connection between his haunting book and the shadows that surround his home.… (more)

» see all 20 descriptions

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 1921520523, 1921656719

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