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The Angel's Game

(El cementerio de los libros olvidados #2)

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3.90  ·  Rating details ·  94,393 ratings  ·  8,715 reviews
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 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 photo ...more
Paperback, 432 pages
Published May 2009 by Weidenfeld & Nicolson (first published April 17th 2008)
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Popular Answered Questions
Karla No, you do not have to read the Shadow of the Wind first, however The Shadow of the Wind is a much better book than The Angel's game, and makes it…moreNo, you do not have to read the Shadow of the Wind first, however The Shadow of the Wind is a much better book than The Angel's game, and makes it more interesting to read to learn the development of a few characters.
There are two completely different stories that have a few returning characters and even though both stories have their own ending, I would recommend to read first the Shadow of the Wind.(less)
Kandie Sweeney The Angels Game is technically NOT a prequel. The books can, and are meant to be. read independent of each other so can be read in any order. They…moreThe Angels Game is technically NOT a prequel. The books can, and are meant to be. read independent of each other so can be read in any order. They have characters that cross over each story. I got this straight from the author's web site. I have read two of the 3 books, and am excited to get to the last one. He is an amazing author. If you skip some of this book, it isn't going to have much effect when you read the last one I wouldn't think. I'd try and hang with the book though. It is craziness at its best.(less)

Community Reviews

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3.90  · 
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 ·  94,393 ratings  ·  8,715 reviews


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JG (The Introverted Reader)
David Martín is a writer of penny dreadfuls who is offered a huge sum of money to write a book for a French publisher. He can't find any evidence that the publisher actually exists though, and violent things start happening to David's friends and colleagues.

I was rocking through the first half of the book, loving Ruiz Zafón's writing, and then I just stopped caring a little over halfway through. I'm not entirely sure what happened. I think I got sick of having absolutely no freaking idea what wa
...more
Lee Goldberg
The book starts out so well, rich in a character, humor, and a powerful sense of place. It captivated me from the first few pages. I couldn't wait to keep reading. I rewarded myself with it each night. I felt I was reading a truly great book, one I was certain would become a beloved favorite of mine.

I was so in love, that I was willing to overlook a nagging flaw -- in a story where language and the craft of writing mean so much, where the writer himself aims a spotlight on authorial laziness ("
...more
❄️Nani❄️
4.5⭐

Hats off to you, Sir!

I love this author so damn much!!!

First, let's get the confusion out of the way. The Angel's Game, though the second book to the beautiful Shadow of the Wind, is neither a prequel nor a sequel.
Essentially it is a stand-alone story that you can fully enjoy on its own but if you want to get the most out of it and discover all the connections that will enhance your reading experience with the characters, I highly recommend reading them in their publication order and not th
...more
Will M.
David Martin is a pulp fiction writer struggling in life. He went to Barcelona in hope of a better future, and the mysterious man with an unbelievable offer seemed to fulfill his wish. The events after he accepted the offer changed his life forever.

The first book, The Shadow of the Wind managed to exceed my expectations. I was a bit reluctant with this second one, but clearly Zafón is one hell of a writer. He once again managed to exceed my expectations. I consider him as one of the best Histori
...more
Becky
Dec 09, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Gothic mystery lovers
This book was ALMOST a 5 star read for me. I really, really enjoyed it, and wish that I could give it 5 stars, but I feel like the loose ends were kind of rubber-banded together, rather than tied up all nice and pretty.

But first I want to talk about the writing. GOR-GEOUS. Ruiz Zafon captured me with the first paragraph. In fact, while I was reading "What Dreams May Come" right before this, I snuck a peek and then almost didn't put it back down to finish "WDMC". I mean, look at this:
"A writer n
...more
Lavinia
Nov 26, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010, fiction
My, oh my! I had such great expectations from the book - I know, it's not fair - and I was so disappointed about how it ends I actually don't know anymore if I liked it or not.

It starts OK, nothing spectacular at the beginning (well maybe that episode when David, a journalist at this point, visits the brothel - I still haven't figured out its connection with the rest of the story ), but after the first quarter it gets better and better. Now a writer, David is asked by a mysterious editor to writ
...more
Char
Jul 13, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, audio-book
Last night, I listened to the end of this audiobook with tears in my eyes. I won't easily forget those last scenes.

My favorite parts of this story were the visits to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books. I love the idea of a place where:

"Every book, every volume you see here, has a soul. The first time someone visits this place, he must choose a book and adopt it, making sure that it will never disappear, that it will always stay alive."

Just reading those sentences makes my soul sigh with contentm
...more
Maxwell
May 21, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015, i-own-it, translated
More like a 4.5 stars but still really, really good. I couldn't get enough of this book. It has the delightfully gothic elements that Ruiz Zafón does so well: mysterious figures, creepy mansions, blood and mist, and the eerie atmosphere of Barcelona at night. And of course, the importance of books in the story makes it quite an enjoyable read.

The story follows David Martin, a writer for a newspaper and penny dreadfuls who gets sucked into a creepy plot with a figure called "the boss" who employs
...more
K
Jul 11, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: couldntfinish
When I'm reading something good, or even decent, I'll find myself reading just a few more pages when I should be doing housework or some other exciting chore. When I find myself finding all sorts of creative ways to waste time without even thinking of picking up my book, I know it's time to give up on it.

Too bad -- I really liked The Shadow of the Wind. But unfortunately, like the sequel to The Pillars of the Earth, I think the author was trying too hard to recreate his own success at the expens
...more
Jim Fonseca
Like me, you will probably read The Angels' Game because you enjoyed immensely the author's The Shadow of the Wind. And it's all here again: the musty dusty bookstores of Barcelona with their Borges-like labyrinths and secret passageways. Decaying old mansions; a brooding half-crazed, over-caffeinated writer; darkness, shadows, death, murders, mystery and foreboding. The problem I had was with the plot. I couldn't tell at the end what the resolution was of the plot. I even skimmed back though th ...more
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
Overall a well-told story with a clever and original plot. David Martin is a struggling author living in poverty in the seedy depths of Barcelona. He receives an irresistible offer of 100,000 francs to write a book for a creepy man he begins referring to as "the boss." After accepting the offer Martin starts research on the designated topic, triggering a series of strange happenings. He knows he is being "played" and used, but he doesn't know why or by whom. Things just get more and more siniste ...more
Will Byrnes
Jun 17, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In The Angel’s Game Zafon returns us to the Barcelona of his prior novel, Shadow of the Wind. Young David Martin is a copy boy at The Voice of Industry, but the newspaper’s star writer, Pedro Vidal, has been promoting David to the editor. Given a chance to write, David blossoms. Vidal later pushes him out of the newspaper so he can work for a pair of unscrupulous publishers of penny-dreadfuls. David is wildly successful at that as well, but pines to do more substantive writing. He is approached ...more
Elton
Jan 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
The Angel's Game actually takes place in the same area of Barcelona as SOTW. Set in the period just before the civil war that leads up to SOTW. The main character is David Martin, who at the beginning of book is working at a newspaper & gets his chance to be a writer. Soon with the help of of his friend & mentor, Perdo Vidal, he is able to lift himself out of poverty & start writing for a living.

He soon leaves the newspaper & starts writing pulp fiction under a pseudonym for a le
...more
Carmen
Aug 10, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Peter
Feb 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Menace
Not as good as Shadow of the Wind. I really like Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s style as he manages to create a feeling of menace and foreboding in his writing that is just perfect for a mysterious thriller. There is always a hint of supernatural that brings an eerie haunting atmosphere that keeps you wondering what’s right around the corner or who’s watching. The main character is made an offer that he can't resist but what is the real cost?

While the guessing game is what we all love in a mystery
...more
Yzobelle
Once more, Zafon takes his readers to a thrilling ride into a web of stories. And any ride with Zafon is guaranteed to be breathtaking.

In the Angel's Game, Zafon has again exhibited his specialty in leading his readers into a series of intricate stories. He makes sure his readers enter that labyrinth of events so engrossed that they would hardly feel that they have been sucked into it. But great Zafon makes sure that his readers come out of it safe. He really has that talent of giving little une
...more
Kim

I am a patient reader. I can cope with ambiguity and digression. I enjoy ornate prose and the occasional serving of melodrama. I don't need each and every element of a plot spelled out for me. This means that I loved (almost) every over-the-top melodramatic moment of the first in Carlos Ruiz Zafon's "Cemetery of Lost Books" series, The Shadow of the Wind. Reading that novel, I was carried away to Barcelona during the Spanish Civil War and thoroughly enjoyed Ruiz Zafon's magical prose.

My overwhe
...more
Emer
Imagine a book that is a mystery with the sensibility of a gothic horror but is also a story about loyalty and friendships, and love and betrayal. How can one book be so many things and not feel like a gigantic mess? Well in the hands of Carlos Ruiz Zafón it seems such feats are indeed possible.

'The Angel's Game' is the second book in his The Cemetery of Forgotten Book series following on from my much loved The Shadow of the Wind. But it's not a direct sequel. It's a prequel but can very much b
...more
Melissa
Aug 01, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sara
I’ll say one thing for Carlos Ruiz Zafon, you never think you would like to lay his books aside while you are reading them. He presents you with one mystery after another and little clues and pieces that you know are going to figure into the story later but can never imagine how. I find it amazing that anyone could begin to conceive to such complex storylines.

David Martin, an aspiring writer, finds himself embroiled in a very complicated web of evil and sometimes supernatural occurrences, and pa
...more
Beatrix
Everything is a tale, Martin. What we believe, what we know, what we remember, even what we dream. Everything is a story, a narrative, a sequence of events with characters communicating an emotional content. We only accept as true what can be narrated.

Zafón’s books are pure magic. And while I loved The Shadow of the Wind because of the story, I enjoyed The Angel’s Game primarily because of its protagonist, David Martin.

I really can’t properly describe why I love Zafón as a writer; you trul
...more
TL
Sep 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
“Every book has a soul, the soul of the person who wrote it and the soul of those who read it and dream about it.”
----

“We spend a good part of our lives dreaming, especially when we're awake.”

" A writer never forgets the first time he accepted a few coins or a word of praise in exchange for a story. He will never forget the sweet poison of vanity in his blood and the belief that, if he succeeds in not letting anyone discover his lack of talent, the dream of literature will provide him with a r
...more
Jill
Apr 02, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely loved The Shadow of the Wind and expected this book to be my favorite book of the year. Perhaps my expectations were too high to give it a fair chance. I didn't care for the story. I rarely felt like picking the book up after taking a break but continued to think that there would be some redeeming aspect as I read and was closer to the end. I would not recommend this book- it was terrible. I lent it to a friend and she didn't even bother finishing it (she reads a couple hundred book ...more
Diane
This is a hard book for me to rate and review. The writing, of course, was exquisite, always to be expected from Carlos Ruiz Zafón. And I certainly enjoyed reading what was a prequel, timewise, to The Shadow of the Wind, but the primary storyline of this one was just not something I could fully grasp, understand, follow or believe. It had a supernatural 'spell' thrown into the mix which just wasn't my cup of tea. I have to say, though, that it takes a brilliant writer to come up with this; in ad ...more
Nancy
May 11, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
The Angel's Game is the second in the Cemetery of Forgotten Books series which began with The Shadow Of The Wind. Each book is an independent entity and yet the stories are interwoven. They can be read in any order. Much darker than the first, this is an entirely different mystery. The question for me was, "At what price, does the artist sell his soul for the sake of his art?" And does the giving up of the soul involve a bargain with Lucifer, or losing touch with reality and self in a combinatio ...more
Carlos
Sep 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really did not understood this book, I don't know how it connects to the first one (or maybe it's been many months since I read the first book in the series that I have forgotten certain aspects of the books). The ending is very weird and it doesn't satisfy all plots within the book, the book deals with the occult, love, friendship, betrayals and the search for redemption. I'm giving it 4 stars because the story in itself is good , just not a good sequel to the first one . I did love the conve ...more
Jamie
Jun 23, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I've waited two years for this book. Though unemployed, I paid full price and bought it the very first day it came out. To date, I have reread it's predecessor (though this book was the prequel) three times and given away four copies and named a cat that sat in the front window of an art gallery I passed every day on Market Street Nuria, as homage to Ruiz Zafon's first book.
And, before I go on, I will say I had a busy month--I got a job and so I didn't have the sort of dedication I might have b
...more
Luís C.
The second installment of the author Carlos Ruiz Zafón, sent us again in the city of Barcelona in the 30's of the industrial revolution and post-Spanish civil war. He narrates the story of David Martin, fatherless orphaned and abandoned by his mother, who gets a job as a messenger / servant in a small newspaper in Barcelona.
His goal is to become a journalist to practice his writing, and become a writer like his mentor Pedro Vidal. One day the editor of the newspaper gives David an opportunity to
...more
Chris_P
Jan 22, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The Angel’s Game was written by someone who, at times, reminded me of the Zafon I met through the pages of the extraordinary Shadow of the Wind. Up until the final third of the book he was pretty much there, with his bewitching desriptions and his unique way of painting pictures that can haunt you in your sleep. And then, someone took his place. An anxious guy, chased by editorial deadlines and pressured by factors that have little to do with the act of writing. In the end, few things made sense ...more
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
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 charac
...more
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Play Book Tag: The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, 4 stars 5 12 May 31, 2019 10:16AM  
Material Para Profesores De Inglés 1 1 May 14, 2019 08:06PM  
The Mystery, Crim...: Cemetary of Forgotten Books #2 - The Angel's Game 15 50 Nov 21, 2018 06:43AM  
Around the Year i...: The Angel's Game, by Carlos Ruiz Zafón 12 101 Jul 26, 2018 06:51PM  
Explanation 18 2558 Jul 14, 2018 01:02AM  
Play Book Tag: The Angel's Game - Carlos Ruiz Zafon - 2 Stars 7 23 Jul 06, 2018 01:02PM  

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16,558 followers
Carlos Ruiz Zafón is a Spanish novelist. Born in Barcelona in 1964, he has lived in Los Ángeles, United States, since 1994, and works as a scriptwriter aside from writing novels.

His first novel, El príncipe de la niebla (The Prince of Mist, 1993), earned the Edebé literary prize for young adult fiction. He is also the author of three more young-adult novels, El palacio de la medianoche (1994), Las
...more

Other books in the series

El cementerio de los libros olvidados (4 books)
  • The Shadow of the Wind (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, #1)
  • The Prisoner of Heaven (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, #3)
  • El laberinto de los espíritus (El cementerio de los libros olvidados #4)
“I don't suppose you have many friends. Neither do I. I don't trust people who say they have a lot of friends. It's a sure sign that they don't really know anyone.” 871 likes
“Every book has a soul, the soul of the person who wrote it and the soul of those who read it and dream about it.” 698 likes
More quotes…