Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Protagonist: David Martin
Setting: Barcelona
Rating: 4.0

When The Shadow of the Wind came out a few years ago, I devoured the novel, discussed it with friends, recommended it to other book lovers. I was smitten. Comes now the sequel, The Angel's Game, the story of a writer (David Martin) who sells his soul -- quite literally -- for immortality. He's writing pulp fiction for a magazine and living in poverty when a publisher comes calling with a deal: write a book creating a new religion and David will no longer have to worry about money - or his terminal illness. This publisher, Andreas Corelli, wears a lapel pin of an angel, but it turns out he is quite the opposite.

The story had several elements that should have enthralled me: it is high gothic, as lyrical as The Shadow and featured the Semperes and the Cemetery of Lost Books from the first book. However, the story failed to capture me. I put it down several times to read other books -- always a bad sign that I'm bored with a book. I did, however, stick with it -- this is the writer of one of my favorite books, after all. And the book does pick up in the second half. Still, the story is far darker than The Shadow and relies on a great amount of "woo-woo," some of it just too hard to believe.

Yet, given the many faults I found with it, the story did eventually ensnare me. No, it's not a great book; it's one that lives in the shadow of Ruiz Zafon's first book. Still, a good read.

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