What Adam’s Reading: “The Angel’s Game” by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Time for the second installment of “What Adam’s Reading”! It’s been a while since my last one but I promise you I’m a faster reader than this. It’s just that this book took a little more time and effort to get into than I’m used to. Like last time, I included a more detailed analysis in the upfront for you more determined folk, and provided a quick recap at the bottom for the skimmers.

Detailed Narrative:

I originally picked up this book at Borders during their popular buy-one-get-one-half-off promotion. I was already acquainted with Carlos Ruiz Zafon thanks to his first (and awesome) novel “The Shadow of the Wind,” which you should go out and buy immediately if you haven’t already read it.

This book sat on my bookshelf for a while though because I knew that I had to be in the right mood to dive into the dark world that he usually paints. Not only that, it took well over 100 pages to get into the story since no clear plot or goal was outlined. Now, don’t let this deter from reading “The Angel’s Game” because at the end of the day, Ruiz Zafon is an amazing writer. Even though you’re confused as to where the story is going, you can’t help but get lost in the effortless fluidity with which he strings words together.

A great thing about Ruiz Zafon, and probably his biggest weakness, is that he uses a lot of similar elements throughout both of his novels. If you had given me the same book and not told me who the author was, I would have guessed Ruiz Zafon.

First of all, the setting to his stories is usually Barcelona where he currently lives (Like they say, write about what you’re familiar with). Secondly, he is a very dark storyteller. Many a time, you will find yourself in the streets at night or wandering the black halls of an abandoned mansion, waiting for the moment when the enemy’s hulking form is outlined in the doorway.

Finally, and this is what I like most about him, his stories center around books. You can tell he values the written word, and particularly the effort and soul that goes into creating an engaging, sometimes life-changing, novel. All his protagonists are somehow involved in the book industry or are writers themselves, which allows you to take a step back and, in a way, look at the book you’re reading through the eyes of the main characters. They’re willing to sacrifice themselves to save books they believe in. Would you be willing to do the same with the one you’re reading? My typical answer would be “no” but, if I were confronted with someone set on destroying books, I might take a stand.

Overall, I gave this particular novel a B because of the slow start, yet engaging finish. It had me staying up late at night, not only because I was afraid to fall asleep and dream of the “boss” character, but also because he provides plenty of plot twists to keep the pages turning. Worth a read if you’re willing to put in the time.

Bulleted List:

  • Grade: B
  • What it’s about: A bourgeoning author who finds himself over his head when he takes on a project that has supernatural guidelines.
  • Who should read this book: Those that enjoy twists and turns in a dark, gothic setting.
  • When you should read it: At a time when you want to venture away from your typical American bestsellers and tackle some deeper, more international fare.
  • Where to find it: Amazon.com for $18.

Have you read any dark/gothic books lately? What genres appeal to you?

PS: Check out my other book reviews here.

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4 thoughts on “What Adam’s Reading: “The Angel’s Game” by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

  1. Dennis Hickey says:

    So a novel about a guy who likes books. Does that qualify for a biography?

    • Adam says:

      Touche. I guess I should have delved into the plot a little more. If you took out the supernatural, murder mystery portion of the novel, it very well could be Ruiz Rafon reminiscing about the early stages of his writing career.

  2. Siobhan says:

    I hated this book. It was such a poor follow up to Shadow of The Wind. I’m convinced it only got published on the merit of his other books.

    • Adam says:

      I totally see where you’re coming from in the sense that I didn’t devour this book like I did his other book. But, I still considered this a pleasurable read even though “Shadow of the Wind” is the more superior novel. Any other of his books you recommend?

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