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The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

The Angel's Game (original 2008; edition 2009)

by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

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6,130353668 (3.68)377
Title:The Angel's Game
Authors:Carlos Ruiz Zafón
Info:Doubleday (2009), Edition: First US Edition, Hardcover, 544 pages
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The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (2008)

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English (291)  Spanish (17)  Dutch (15)  German (9)  French (7)  Italian (6)  Norwegian (3)  Swedish (2)  Catalan (1)  All (1)  Finnish (1)  Hungarian (1)  All (1)  All (355)
Showing 1-5 of 291 (next | show all)
David Martín is a young man that dreams of becoming a writer. Unfortunately, he signs a slave deal with the publishers Barrido and Escobillas. But one day a strange man that claims to be a publisher offers him a deal he can’t refuse. But is this man an angel or the devil?

The Angel's game is the second book I have read by Carlos Ruiz Zafón and a prequel to The Shadow of the Wind. I will probably go against the tide, but I found this book much better than The Shadow of the Wind. I liked the characters and the story better in this book. David Martíns life and struggles were captivating to read about. The only thing that bothered me really was the character Christina, I mentally sighed when we were introduced to her at the beginning of the books. She was such a flat and boring character and honestly I just couldn’t stand her. Luckily we were introduced to Isabella later on and she was such a wonderful character that she in many ways compensated the presence of Christina.

One thing I really enjoyed was the link this book has with the first book. Not just the Cemetery of Forgotten Books but also the bookstore Sempere & Sons.

Carlos Ruiz Zafón has a really wonderful talent for telling a story. And I’m looking forward to reading his next book The Prisoner of Heaven. ( )
  MaraBlaise | Apr 14, 2017 |
Really, really difficult to come up with a rating for this one. On the one hand, Zafon delivers another fantastic tale imbued with evocative writing, atmospheric feel and solid Gothic quality, shrouding the mystery playing out on the pages. Zafron’s depiction of 1920’s Barcelona is a Gothic reader’s delight, filled with crumbling Gothic piles, labyrinthine streets, damp cemeteries and eccentric architecture like the tower house where David lives. As with Zafon’s previous book, The Shadow of the Wind, literary references abound, with Great Expectations – my favorite Dickens novel – receiving repeated references throughout the story, exemplifying David’s Dickensian like childhood, making it easy for this reader to glimpse similarities between Dickens’ London and Zafron’s Barcelona. The concept of a writer possibly making a pact with the Devil is not a new idea for a story-line, but Zafon handles it with a flourishing finesse, giving the idea a refined quality.

So, what not to like? Well, my main complaint is that in the second half of the story Zafron gives up all pretense of eloquent, refined brooding Gothic atmosphere and slides the story squarely into pulp fiction madness mode with a barrage of rather absurd subplots and an escalating dead body count that seems completely superfluous to the main story. Even the ending – via a rather strange epilogue – leaves me wondering if Zafron started out writing one story and midstream decided to head in a different direction. As for the characters, Isabela is a delight and the perfect feisty counter to David’s detached manner, but none of the other characters stand out as amazing or memorable. Even Corelli, our villein, takes second fiddle as a character to the mystery that surrounds him.

Oh…. did I mention that the audiobook is narrated by Dan Stevens (Matthew of Downton Abbey fame and the Beast in the latest reboot of Beauty and the Beast)? Stevens does a fabulous job reading the story and is one of the reasons the story is receiving a rather generous rating from me.

Overall, I am a bit disappointed with how such a fabulous story deteriorated into such a pulp fiction mess. This story is probably not for readers who steer clear of pulp fiction and senseless violence. This has not deterred me from looking forward to reading more Zafon... I just now know that I cannot expect the reaction I had when reading The Shadow of the Wind. ( )
  lkernagh | Mar 31, 2017 |
Zafon has written a second mysterious novel set in Barcelona, but set in an earlier period, the 1920s, rather than the 1930s and 40s of his previous novel “The shadow of the wind”.
This one is more convoluted than the first, featuring a demonic background that threatens David Marin, the main character. The early part of the book explores the theme of the hardship ad difficulty involved in creative writing. Later this changes to David’s relationship with Andreas Corelli, a publisher, who seems able to grant his every wish, however unlikely, in return for David writing a book, which Corelli describes as the foundation of a religion. It may be read as David selling his soul to the devil. David tries to free himself from this obligation, but in the end, this novel is less appealing than the first and the epilogue is less than convincing.
  camharlow2 | Mar 2, 2017 |
I found this absorbing from beginning to end. The slow revelation kept my mind actively engaged. ( )
  BridgitDavis | Feb 28, 2017 |
I'm just past halfway and so far the book is a disappointment compared to Shadow of the Wind. It's not bad, but it's not great. But I'll keep pushing on! ( )
  a.leenlu | Dec 28, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 291 (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)
The early pages of the novel, focusing on the travails of a writer coming of age, call to mind Mario Vargas Llosa's Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter. But we are not in the nuanced world of literary fiction; calamities pile up on poor Martin's head as they only can in a genre novel. He writes a book for his friend, another aspiring writer, only to see it praised by the same critics who pan his own novel; his girl abandons him and marries his best friend; and he is diagnosed with a brain tumour.

The Angel's Game draws the reader into nothing more than a world where people who read, write, or collect books are shown to be special; it peddles narcissism. On the pretext of transporting readers to another time and place, it contracts their world.
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.

» Add other authors (33 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Zafon, Carlos Ruizprimary 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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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)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 14 descriptions

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4 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 1921520523, 1921656719

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