Jennifer D's Reviews > The Angel's Game

The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
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Dec 07, 09

bookshelves: library-borrow, effing-awful, in-translation
Read in December, 2009

In the words of the author himself: "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 really wanted to like this book. It was my first Zafón novel and I had high hopes based on all of the critical praise for his writings. This morning, I found the quote above while trying to learn more about Zafón and his novels. The quote annoyed me and reminded me of the jacket description for Little Bee which warned the reader the books was so good we aren't going to tell you anything about it. Ugh! Off-putting in both circumstances.

Generally I found The Angel's Game to be a mess of a book. There are plots and sub-plots wound around one another for us to untie, which is fine but I don't think our guide allowed us enough rope to do the job well and he left us hanging in many areas. Zafón also wrote "...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." My question then is, if we "don't need to care or know about any of this stuff", what is the point? I read to become a part of a world I care about with characters that have meaning to me during the time I am reading about them. I was engaged with The Angel's Game, but after each chapter I kept thinking :"Maybe the big stuff starts in the next chapter". My whole read was one of anticipation that never became fulfilled.

A novel about a writer, books and language has a wonderful appeal to me so that aspect of the book was appreciated. The overall theme of good and evil always has potential as do the intricacies of human nature. At the end of the story I just felt lament for what could have been. I have been given a better sense of what to expect from The Shadow of the Wind, which I own, and I expect it will be a more pleasurable read than this first date with Zafón.
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Reading Progress

12/04/2009 page 284
53.48% "Enjoying the writing but keep waiting for a big 'event'."
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