Friday, 27 August 2010

The Angels Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

I very much enjoyed The Shadow of the Wind earlier this year and I was very much looking forward to reading The Angels Game.

For those of you who have read The Shadow of the Wind, The Angels Game is set when Daniel's father was a young man. The book does not focus on Daniel's father; I am just giving you an idea of time-scale involved.

The main protagonist, David, is a struggling writer specialising in sensationalist novels. One day he is approached by a strange man offering a fortune to David if he writes a book which will have the ability to change people. It’s not long before David notices that sinister things are afoot with both the book he is writing and the very house he is occupying.

I really liked some of the characters in this and David himself is interesting and at times complex. For me though his sassy, but also spoilt, teenage housekeeper/assistant Isabella stole the book for me. I was also surprised to learn Isabella's identify and how she ties up with The Shadow of the Wind.

Once again Ruiz gives the reader a vivid, atmospheric and Gothic Barcelona. David spends large portions of the book running around Barcelona looking for clues and digging up the past as he goes. Unfortunately The Angels Game had a much slower pace which seemed to drag sporadically throughout the 500 pages as the story became more and more convoluted. Large parts of the plot were either not explained fully or were illogical and at times it felt like the book was rambling. The central romance between David and his lover Christina also fell a little flat for me but this might be because I could not see what on earth David ever saw in her or why he pursued her.
Despite my criticisms I still found this an engaging and at times an enjoyable read and I enjoyed Ruiz's writing enough to want to read the next instalment in this series.

Would I recommend this? If you enjoyed The Shadow of the Wind and want a similar atmosphere and to read the next instalment then yes. It is however worth noting that Zara from This Bookish Life read The Angels Game without realising that it was linked to The Shadow of the Wind so therefore couldn't compare and she really enjoyed it.

Verdict 3/5

Posted by Jess


  1. I've read both The Shadow of the Wind and this one. My favourite of the two was The Shadow of the Wind. I agree that The Angel's Game rambled and remember getting a bit lost at times!

  2. Thanks for your review Jessica, this title is slowly nearing the top of My Mt TBR but somehow reading your comments I am not sure that I will enjoy it as much as the Shadow of the Wind.

  3. I was so disappointed by this book. I love the Shadow of the Wind, but got so bored by the ramble in the book that I lost interest and stopped paying attention and then got confused and then over it. I will say that he can create an atmosphere incredibly well, and I will most definitely read more of his work - I won't let my reaction to this one put me off!

  4. I've heard so much about these books but I've never come across anything that makes me think WOW I MUST READ THEM. Perhaps I'll save this for if I ever get really bored!

  5. I did like Shadow of the Wind, but I haven't read this one, as for some reason it is not calling my name.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts

  6. I agree that the book does ramble on some and is hard to follow at times, but these are both reasons why I enjoyed it. I became immersed in both books and didn't mind when they took their time, because I wanted to spend more time in them.

  7. booksploring - Id be interested to see how the books progess, I wonder if The Angels Game was shorter it would have been better?

    Lindy - both books have the same great atmosphere so in those regards they are very similar but I would rush out and read it.

    mummazappa - like you Im not put off by his books. I like the guy as a writer so I want to see what else he comes out with. Shame though it wasnt as good as Shadow.

    Bethany - The Shadow of the Wind is a quick easy read if you ever want one of those type of books.

    Bibliophile - I thought I would go for ages without reading this one but I felt like reading the same I guess which is why I picked it up so quickly. I wouldnt prioritise it.

    C.B. James - I found Shadow alot less rambling and I felt that one had more focus somehow. I will read other books by this author as I do love his atmospheres and his characters. He hasnt lost me as a reader on this one.

  8. I did enjoy Shadow of the Wind and intend to read this one. I'm a patient reader, so it will be okay. I think next year I will go on a "Shelfari" hunt and start picking some books from that bookshelf--Angel's Game is one of them.

  9. I read this book last year and I liked it... didn't love it, but it was very well written!

  10. I read this book last year and I liked it... didn't love it, but it was very well written!

  11. Kim - you might like the slower pace of the Angels Game - but you should love the atmosphere if you liked Shadow of the Wind.

    reederreads - I dod like the authors writing, like you say it is very well written.

  12. I LOVED Shadow of the Wind - which I read several years ago - and I have read from others as well that The Angel's Game doesn't quite measure up so my enthusiasm waned after it was first released. I still really want to read it and perhaps the time lapse will allow me to read it without too much comparing.

  13. everybookandcranny - it might be best to read it while you can still remember Shadow of the Wind well as there are elements that pop up in both books.