The Angel’s Game – Review

 

 

 

“This place is a myster. A sanctuary. Every book, every volume you see, has a soul. The soul of the person who wrote it and the soul of those who read it and lived and dreamed with it. Every time a book changes hands, every time someone runs his eyes down its pages, its spirit grows and strengthens. In this place, books no longer remembered by anyone, books that are lost in time, live forever, waiting for the day when they will reach a new reader’s hands, a new spirit…”

                     -from The Angel’s Game

 

The excerpt is taken from late in the novel and doesn’t reveal anything you won’t come to expect. But it does show Zafon at his best and most poetic. If you have read The Shadow of the Wind you are familiar with his cemetary of forgotten books. It is possibly one of the most wonderful creations in modern fiction – a massive library of sorts that only a privelaged few know of and have been able to visit, housing all of the books that have fallen from the shelves of bookstores and the casual reader, waiting to be discovered by the one they are destined for.

this library played a central role Shadow of the Wind and it makes its presence known here as well. And its passages, such as the one above, that make for why you should read The Angel’s Game, despite its feeling like ground Zafon has already once tread – though for good reason. The Angel’s Game is a prequel to Shadow of the Wind with many of the same characters showing up that made appearances before. We learn the story of Daniel Sempere’s mother and how the world seems unkind to its literature lovers, especially if they reside in Barcelona and come into knowledge of the Cemetary of Forgotten Books. Zafon, again, paints a gloriously sweeping portrait of Barcelona that casts it in a near mythical light, as if it is a city from some far away world transplanted to this earth and not entirely blending with the reality it now occupies. It is simply a beautiful book to read.

For those who loved The Shadow of the Wind and were looking for what new worlds Zafon would create, you might be a bit disappointed, though. As I said, the feeling that he is journeying through known lands is impossible to shake as you read The Angel’s Game and you easily notice plot devices and styling that helped twist and curve The Shadow of the Wind into such an enjoyable read. Having completed the novel, I am left a bit empty because of this. While having enjoyed the journey, I don’t feel as if I have been left with anything new but more of a re-visiting to a beloved vacation spot. I think an apt comparison would be to M. Night Shyamalan where you enjoy his tricks for a few turns but, eventually, you begin to wish that he would take his immense gifts in a new direction. So be warned. As a page turner and summer read, it excels and you can’t be disappointed with it. But it’s also a visit to the family camp grounds that, while you love them, you already have a pretty good idea of what’s there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Angel’s Game at Amazon

Official Web Site

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