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 Don Basilo was a forbidden looking man with a bushy moustache who did not suffer fools and who subscribed to the theory that the liberal use of adverbs and adjectives was the mark of a pervert or someone with a vitamin deficiency , I was astonished by the repeated reliance on cliche phrase For example In this neck of the woods, one doesn t have to run very fast The editorial board had opted to take the bull by the horns technically, it was my father who paid, but don t look a gift horse in the mouth my father came back and found me alive and kicking It was especially bewildering since the author is capable of such amazing, vivid, and fresh prose How could he possibly let a cliche like he let the cat out of the bag get past the rough draft Since the book is a translation, I will give the author the benefit of the doubt and assume it s the translator s fault and not his one need only look at The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo for an example of that But the cliches would be a minor annoyance if the rest of the book matched the brilliance of the first half Unfortunately, the book quickly devolves into relentlessly dull exposition, delivered by one note characters with absolutely no motivation or reason to deliver the speeches to our hero besides the author s need to relay the information Worse, the plot, such as it was, totally collapses into an unintelligble, incoherent mess that isn t satisfying or entertaining Nothing that was planted in the first half pays off in the second For me, the book was a crushing disappointment. 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 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 roof over his head, a hot meal at the end of the day, and what he covets most his name on a miserable piece of paper that will surely outlive him A writer is condemned to remember that moment, because from then on he is doomed and his soul has a price A price, you say Hmmm Must read on So I did, and found that with every page, I enjoyed the book evenIt was dark and gloomy and despairing and creepy at times, and at others it was laugh out loud funny and light and surprising David, our narrator, is a young writer, who s had a hard time of life, and is therefore older than his years He s bitter, and jaded, and sarcastic, but still idealistic in a way I loved the way that he looked at things, and the life he brought to the pages Even when he was writing himself to death, he s still interesting and dynamic and I wanted to know him better So, in comes Andreas Correlli, mysterious and perfectly dressed and wanting to put David s talent to use for his own vague purposes I recognized Correlli for what he was right away, as maybe I was intended to, so I waited anxiously for the inevitable There is quite a bit of religious speculation and philosophy if that s the right word in this book, which was very interesting to me The conversations that Correlli and David had regarding religion were maybe a touch over my head, but intriguing to read, because both men hadthan reason enough to twist things to their own purposes in their conversations, and I was never quite sure whether what they were saying was really what they were saying.From David and Correlli s first meeting, things start to getandmysterious and strange Very surreal in a realistic way, and quite intense There were times when I d have to force myself to put the book down to go to bed And the chapters were so short that it was far too easy to justify just oneNew twists and turns were introduced and I couldn t wait to figure out how they all fit together But this is where things went a little bit downhill for me While things were technically ended, and it wasn t a bad ending, I just wish that we had a bitexplanation as to certain things in the story, and that s why I had to drop a star off I mean, I guess we could just look at it from a stand point of it is because it is because it is , but I m always looking for the why too I don t want to ruin this book for anyone who has yet to read it, because it is definitely worth reading, so I will not go into spoilerish stuff here I will just say that I would have liked a bitwrap up with certain converging storylines Overall, I immensely enjoyed this book The writing has a way of just making me part of the story, and the descriptions made me wish I could be in Barcelona to see it for myself I look forward to reading Shadow of the Wind soon. 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 the timeline order of the books Only once have I come across a book, The Night Circus , where the setting becomes a major character by almost, but not quite, overshadowing the main characters Here, the hero of TAG, David Martin is an engaging and sympathetic human but through the vivid language of Zafon, the surreal city of early 20th century Barcelona very nearly upstages both with its gloomy moods and its sinister beauty.Now, does The Angel s Game match up to The Shadow of the Wind Fuck No I mean, TSoTW was like, reading words dipped in magic HOWEVER This one had its own beat that sucked you in with its dark and eerie tone throughout Also, I daresay the characters in this novel are a bitcomplex than those in The Shadow of the Wind.In the years after World War I, a mysterious publisher, Andreas Corelli, offers our lead, David a writer who suffers the torments of his craft a great deal of money to write a narrative book that is to be the inspiration for a new religion, and after reluctantly accepting this deal, he starts having chilling encounters with characters who may be real or perhaps figments of his imagination and he is drawn into a terrifying maze of events that threaten his sanity if not his life.No point in sayingbecause, honestly, best to go in blind and have it challenge your own sense of reality vs imagination Zaf n KNOWS how to write with grace and passion His prose is eloquent and his abilities to spin a remarkably elaborate plot from a potentially simple idea is truly awe inspiring The Angel s Game is filled with hapless victims who are driven mad or die in random accidents, paranoia, ill fated love and as the story goes on, the narrative is littered with corpses, murdered policemen and so much .Oh, and that cryptic epilogue That left me withquestions than answers and by the way, I ve also read the third book in this series and, that s right, I was left with even , gigantic snowball of questions than answers and to say I cannot wait for book four is the understatement of ages DO NOT read this before The Shadow of The Wind Okay, now I m done prior to reading Ahhh when fate intervenes I couldn t stop staring at this book so I picked it off my shelf JUST to peak through it and hold it in my hands for a few seconds honestly ve no clue why I felt I had to do that but now I can t stop reading Yup I ve decided it s fate telling me to go back to the world of Cemetery of Forgotten Books. 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 Zaf n is one hell of a writer He once again managed to exceed my expectations I consider him as one of the best Historical Fiction writer ever He knows how to write He knows how to keep the reader interested and captivated all throughout the novel.The plot was only a bit different than the first one, but still captivating While reading the novel I once again felt like I was living the life of the main character It felt like I was living in Barcelona the whole time Zaf n can really make the setting seem so believable The writing was superb, and I could say that his writing is my favorite alongside Stephen King s I really like it when the writer can make the character so likable and believable at the same time Nothing changed from the first book, because both characters were unforgettable David was just a fun guy to read about He didn t seem pretentious, and the supporting characters were just as good Isabella and Christina were both perfect for David, but obviously he only loved one, as the author tried to convey view spoiler For me though, David had slight feelings toward Isabella, and she obviously reciprocated Such a shame that they didn t end up together though hide spoiler 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 any 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 write THE book, something nobody has ever dared to write before, in exchange for an enormous sum of money When Isabella shows up, the story gets even better Besides the gothic atmosphere, mystery and religious supernatural events which, I have to admit, made my heart skip a beat a few times I totally loved David Isabella relationship Their dialogues are so sparkling and witty and they act so stormy have I watched too many romantic comedies I almost wanted them to hook up But well, Zafon had other plans and David remains devoted to his one true love, Cristina, which leads to all kind of complicated events, because this is what love does, it complicates our already complicated lives, right So, from one point onward the book totally got me things disappear, people die, houses are burnt , I basically spent my weekend in bed with it, but the last 50 pages chasing escaping fleeting away so not my cup of tea were such a bore and the ending so Spanish opera meets supernatural, I couldn t take it I somehow wanted the always cool never scared David to end his life heroically or not , but being a 1st person narrative that was quite impossible So OK, let him live, but what have we done to deserve such a cheesy ending not spoiling anything about that D I might be ranting a lot, but don t get me wrong Zafon has a real talent for story telling and the book is definitely a page turner if you re into mystery and thrillers, this is a good choice And yes, bookworms or Barcelona admirers, for you too 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 the book trying to see what I must have missed and if I could figure it out no luck It s still a good read just not as good as Shadow. From The Author Of The International Phenomenon, The Shadow Of The Wind, Comes The Angel S Game, A New Page Turner About The Perilous Nature Of Obsession, In Literature And In Love The Whole Of Barcelona Stretched Out At My Feet And I Wanted To Believe That, When I Opened Those Windows, Its Streets Would Whisper Stories To Me, Secrets I Could Capture On Paper And Narrate To Whomever Cared To Listen In An Abandoned Mansion At The Heart Of Barcelona, A Young Man, David Mart N, Makes His Living By Writing Sensationalist Novels Under A Pseudonym The Survivor Of A Troubled Childhood, He Has Taken Refuge In The World Of Books And 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 Photographs And Letters Hinting At The Mysterious Death Of The Previous Owner Like A Slow Poison, The History Of The Place Seeps Into His Bones As He Struggles With An Impossible Love Close To Despair, David Receives A Letter From A Reclusive French Editor, Andreas Corelli, Who Makes Him The Offer Of A Lifetime He Is To Write A Book Unlike Anything That Has Ever Existed A Book With The Power To Change Hearts And Minds In Return, He Will Receive A Fortune, And Perhaps But As David Begins The Work, He Realizes That There Is A Connection Between His Haunting Book And The Shadows That Surround His HomeOnce Again, Zaf N Takes Us Into A Dark, Gothic Universe First Seen In The Shadow Of The Wind And Creates A Breathtaking Adventure Of Intrigue, Romance, And Tragedy Through A Dizzingly Constructed Labyrinth Of Secrets, The Magic Of Books, Passion, And Friendship Blend Into A Masterful Story 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 contentment I didn t enjoy this book quite as much as I enjoyed Shadow of the Wind This tale was slightly darker andmysterious, but I thought the mystery became a little convoluted This was still a wonderful, beautifully written story that had me in tearsthan once What an amazing feeling that is Highly recommended 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 dosubstantive writing He is approached by a mysterious man and offered an opportunity to escape his situation by writing an unusual book Will success and comfort cost David his soul No, really, his soul He is driven by mourning for a lost love, and drawn to a house with a dark history Zafon take us on a tour of early 20th century Barcelona We see a city every bit as interesting as Dickens London There are spooky houses, possibly haunted ones, criminal infested alleys, an eerie man made lake, plenty of dark corners and things that go bump He offers a Dickensian array of characters in fact, Great Expectations is referenced specifically several times as Martin tries to figure out the mystery of the house and the real motivation behind his mysterious publisher There are sinister policemen pursuing him for crimes he did not commit, lies and liars who try to misdirect him, angelic people who try to help him, and some exciting, Hitchcock like scenes of high altitude peril.I did not pay obsessive attention to the details of Zafon s story so if there are logical errors, I did not note them A small gripe It happens too much that simple communication between people or characters could have dispelled years of emotional turmoil I did find myself wishing a less buttoned up environment on some of Zafron s people Recognizing that in this time in this place, speaking the heart was a bit less done than it might be today, one can make allowances, but still, the urge remains to shout some encouragement or criticism Geez, man, get off your ass and tell her how you feel Spleen vented The Angel s Game dabbles in the mystical, which fits in with the foggy atmosphere of the tale I could have done with a bitexplanation, though Above all, The Angel s Game is a fun read Set aside your disbelief, curl up in a cushy chair, open the window to let early morning fog drift in and enjoy.PS came across this article tonight in The Guardian Extraordinary 500 year old library catalogue reveals books lost to time by Alison Flood When I m reading something good, or even decent, I ll find myself reading just a fewpages 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 expense of writing a good book Zafon tried to bring back the same setting and some of the same characters and themes, but what seemed mystical and magical in Shadow was simply melodramatic here Characterization was shallow and simplistic, as were the relationships the writing was choppy The story just didn t grab me, and nothing compelled me to push myself through 400pages.