Sunday, June 23, 2013

the angel's game

Prequel to the wonderful Shadow of the Wind, The Angel's Game is another dark, literary mystery set in Barcelona. The story revolves around David Martin, a young man with a troubled upbringing who dreams of being a writer. With a lot of help from his friend/protector Pedro Vidal, he rises up in the newspaper world and then signs a contract with a publishing company. A true lover of the written word, David becomes consumed with his work. He is obviously a great writer, but his contract forces him to write a certain type of novel and he isn't given any time to relax. He's also in love with Vidal's chauffer's daughter, Christina, though she rebuffs all his advances. David is overworked and unhappy. Then, he is offered a large sum of money to write a book for an enigmatic French publisher, Andreas Corelli. But of course the agreement isn't quite what it seems . . .

Although this is technically a prequel to The Shadow of the Wind, it's really just a story involving some of the same characters. You don't need to read this to read Shadow of the Wind or vice-versa. 

I really love Carlos Ruiz Zafón's writing style, largely because his joy for the craft shows through. He writes in an old-fashioned, Gothic, dramatic sort of style. Very cinematic, really, with lots of descriptions and overly elaborate settings. The dialogue can be overly quippy and clever, and sometimes characters talk aloud to themselves for dramatic effect. Usually these things would bother me, but I enjoyed it because Zafon clearly loves it and has a lot of fun with it. And it works very well with the plot, which is full of mystery. You never quite know what's going on behind the scenes, though you know that something's not right with Corelli and his deal. 

I was really enjoying it up until the end. After waiting so long for a clear explanation of the mysteries, I never got an answer. I've been reading some of the discussion questions and answers (at the bottom of the book's Goodreads page) and I think I have some sort of idea of what happened now, but many elements of the plot still perplex me. Because of this, I only gave the book 3 stars. I enjoyed The Shadow of the Wind much more than this. However, I am really excited to read the next book in the trio, The Prisoner of Heaven.

TITLE: The Angel's Game
AUTHOR: Carlos Ruiz Zafón
DATE FINISHED: 22 June 2013
VERDICT: 3/5 stars. Intriguing but left me baffled.

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