I had always felt that the pages I left behind were a part of me. Normal people bring children into the world; we novelists bring books. We are condemned to put our whole lives into them, even though they hardly ever thank us for it. We are condemned to die in their pages and sometimes even to let our books be the ones who, in the end, will take our lives. – Chapter 39
I read Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s Shadow of the Wind almost three years ago, and while most everyone who’s read that title raves about it, my opinion at the time was a little muted. It was definitely a page turner, but I had some misgivings about the manner in which the female characters were portrayed. So, I really wondered if The Angel’s Game would have those same characteristics. Fortunately, I was happily surprised with this new book in that regard and can even say that I enjoyed The Angel’s Game more than The Shadow of the Wind.
This book is sort of a prequel to Shadow in that the story occurs directly before it. However, The Angel’s Game can be read on its own. You’ll just enjoy it a bit more if you’ve already read Shadow. Conversely, you will also enjoy The Shadow of the Wind more if choose to read The Angel’s Game first. There is a place that is enjoyed in both books:
My favourite place in the whole city was the Sempere & Sons bookshop on Calle Santa Ana. It smelt of old paper and dust and it was my sanctuary, my refuge. The bookseller would let me sit on a chair in a corner and read any book I liked to my heart’s content. – Chapter 5
This story is a bit gothic in mood, with books, religion, and violence thrown in for good measure. I enjoyed it and I also enjoyed some of the characters, particularly Isabella. After finishing the book, though, I was left wondering about the reliability of the main character’s (Daniel Martin’s) narration. The ending will definitely have you scratching your head as to what really happened in the story. That’s not necessarily a bad thing as far as I’m concerned. I don’t always have to have things neat and tidy at the end of the book, but I would have liked to read this one in a group to try and get a consensus on some of the plot details. Whether I ever make sense of this one or not, I’ll look forward to Zafon’s next release.
2009, 470 pp.
[Disclaimer: This copy was received from the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program]