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The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon: Review

Updated on August 9, 2015

The Angel's Game: From the author of The Shadow of the Wind

I loved one comment I read about this book which is that the author, Carlos Ruiz Zafon, has almost created his own genre with his novels.

Although I have read only two of his novels so far - see a link to my review below of the other - I suspect that comment is correct. Although critics will insist on comparing Zafon's work to that of other authors, I believe he stands alone in his own genre.

When I started reading the book, I was delighted to find myself in a familiar world - that of gothic Barcelona in the first half of the twentieth century. And of course, the book is also concerned with the literary world as is its predecessor.

Whereas in Shadow we met Daniel, the son of bookseller, in Angel we follow the life of David; an aspiring author.

You can rely on me not to create a spoiler here but giving a brief outline of the book will, I'm sure, intrigue you. David is struggling as a young man, trying to make it as an author. But when he anonymously starts to write gothic fantasies his fortunes change for the better.

This is even more the case when a reclusive publisher offers him a fortune - literally - to write for him. Who is this man? Why does he want this specific book written? As I'm writing this, the word 'labyrinth' keeps coming to mind because as the book progresses, that's exactly what we are drawn into - a complex maze of relationships, friendships, betrayals, intrigues and history.

I highly recommend this excellent novel.

My review of The Shadow of the Wind

Zafon is often likened to Gabriel Garcia Marquez (largely incorrectly, I believe) but one common thread between the two is the re-emergence of certain favourite characters - in The Angel's Game too we are taken to Sempere's book store and meet its kindly proprietor (or is it?)

We walk familiar streets with David, come across familiar themes and of course, we're taken to the Cemetery of Forgotten books. But this is a very different book to Shadow.

Note: I was asked which of these two Zafon novels should be read first. It truly doesn't matter because one is not a 'sequel' or a 'prequel'. But I would recommend the order in which I read them - start with Shadow and you'll be craving for more; that's exactly what you get with The Angel's Game.

Once you've read one Zafon novel, I promise that you'll be hungry for more.

There is something addictive about the way he writes and draws you in to the novel. This skill is something every novelist would envy.

I am SO looking forward to reading more of his works.


The first Zafon book I read was totally absorbing. See more below.

Can he really be compared to Gabriel Garcia Marquez?

The Shadow of the Wind
The Shadow of the Wind

This novel, written before The Angel's Game, begins during a later time period. It contains the most wonderful characters, plenty of intrigue and imagery plus the most remarkable storylines.It's one of the very few books that, when I read the last page,I turned again to the first in order to read it - and enjoy it - again. I am currently reading it for the third time.

One Hundred Years of Solitude (Harper Perennial Modern Classics)
One Hundred Years of Solitude (Harper Perennial Modern Classics)

This is the other book that I mentioned above and I've just realised that the description I wrote of Shadow directly above applies to this book too.The storylines are amazing; the characters supremely crafted. The difference is that I have read this book far more than three times and I will continue to do so.IfI were to be stranded on a desert island with just one book, this would be the one.


Hear from the author

Zafon explains about this book - and The Shadow of the Wind - in this video so much better that I have done above. As he says, although both are 'books about books' Shadow is a about readers and The Angel's Game is about writers.

With the former, the author virtually takes us by the hand and takes us on a journey through the events. With the latter though, readers are forced, at whatever point they choose throughout the book, to step outside the comfort zone of being walked through the labyrinth.

As he explains, The Shadow of the Wind is a 'feelgood' book - The Angel's Game is not.

© 2014 Jackie Jackson


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    • BritFlorida profile image

      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @DreyaB: Thanks! I suspect that as you live in France, you'd find that there are familiar European attitudes that you'd appreciate (if that makes sense!)

    • BritFlorida profile image

      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Ibidii: There's no audio CD at Amazon at the moment but they may have one later.Maybe you can request it from the library?

    • BritFlorida profile image

      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Brite-Ideas: I recommend it :)

    • DreyaB profile image

      DreyaB 3 years ago from France

      I haven't read any of these books, but you've got me interested now. Books about readers or writers, amongst the others details sound good to me. More for my reading wish list! Thanks for sharing and making things sounds so enticing to read. :0)

    • profile image

      Ibidii 3 years ago

      Sounds very intriguing! It is available on audio C D at the local library. I can't read print. I have to listen to books. It wasn't available at the library for the blind yet. I ordered the shadow to try first. Great review, got me intrigued!

    • Brite-Ideas profile image

      Barbara Tremblay Cipak 3 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      it's official, you have me intrigued! you make want to read this book!

    • BritFlorida profile image

      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Lady Lorelei: It seems so - I'm so much looking forward to reading more of his work.

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 3 years ago from Canada

      This author certainly sounds like he has cut his own niche into the vast field of literature.