Monday, January 25, 2010

The Angel's Game

I just finished reading Carlos Ruiz Zafon's The Angels Game last night and can't resist writing about my first big disappointment in 2010. Towards the end of last year I came across 'The Shadow Of The Wind' almost by chance and picked it up on a lark. Little did I expect to get totally encaptured within the indescribable labyrinths of mystery, romance, suspense, horror, tragedy and quick witted humour expertly created by the author. Never before had I read a book like SOTW and whilst I couldn't wait to get to the heart of its mystery, I also couldn't help but wish that this wonderful book would never end! By the end of the novel, I was completely awestruck by Zafon's story telling and couldn't help talking about him in all my literary discussions with fellow book worms.

Fast forward to The Angel's Game. I greedily went and bought myself this "supposed" prequel to SOTW, in futile hopes of once again being transported back to the ancient Gothic Barcelona as described by Zafon. With hopes to devour every word written by (I think) one of the most gifted story tellers ever, I began to read this book. After reading the first 200 pages of the book rather feverishly I had to (albeit reluctantly) admit to myself that the story was going nowhere!

The main character in the novel, David Martin goes through a series of struggles and tragedies one after the other and yet fails to evoke considerable pity in the mind of the reader. However, there is no relief for Martin and the book does get a little pessimistic to read. The story proceeds at a sluggish pace and lacks the humour of its sequel. It is overly descriptive at times and its setting, characterisation and description of Barcelona are all very similar to SOTW.


As I forced myself to skim through the latter 150 odd pages of the story, the suspense never thickened, instead it grew thinner and vaguer. The book ended on a rather abrupt note, leaving the readers to make their own interpretation as to what actually happened. There were a lot of loose ends which didn't add up at all and I'm still clueless about how much of what transpired in the story was David's figment of imagination, whether Corelli was an angel or demon, what actually happened to Marscala and the book that David wrote. (Any answers ?)

This book might perhaps make for an enjoyable read for those who are yet to read SOTW. Zafon's description of the Barcelona  as the City of the Damned and the Cemetery of Forgotten Books certainly do create vivid images in the mind of the readers. The parallels and the overarching themes from both the novels are also well executed and yet the basic plot makes very little sense somehow. In all fairness, I can say that SOTW really raised my expectations from The Angel's Game and great expectations are almost always difficult to live upto!

12 comments:

Gamma Sharon said...

How very disappointing! My last two books I have very much enjoyed by Kate Morton. The first was "The Forgotten Garden"... I really enjoyed the different time frames that it takes you through and the mystery. You might like this book, I really did. The second is "The Shifting Fog" and I am liking it as much... Kate Morton (I think) is very good at telling a story.
Thanks so much for visiting my blog. I love your background... the colors are right up my alley.
BTW, I am following.
Sorry to carry on so much!

A 2 Z said...

Hi,

I'm from Sits. I have to confess that I read your last post only, the one about your 2009 resolutions. They are pretty good, especially the one about "less internet". I too have to get off my "derrière" and exercise more. I love the look of your blog!. Keep up the good work!

Anne-Marie

tattytiara said...

Aw nuts. A disappointing read is one thing, but when you're all psyched that it's going to be really great it's a real gut punch.

{ Persis Shah } said...

Thank you for dropping by fellow SITSas...the blog template is up for grabs at http://www.simplyfabulousbloggertemplates.com/. They have some other nice ones too.

"The forgotten garden" -- I just googled it and it definitely seems like something I'll enjoy reading...Thanks a ton for recommending it dear Sharon! xoxo.

alessandra said...

Thank you SITSta for the good advice.:)

Melissa B. said...

I'm one of those people who insists on finishing the dern book, even if it disappoints me. That, in turn, just makes me dislike the book all the more. Vicious circle...

{ Persis Shah } said...

oh that is nice!...i'm the sorts who can sit through a bad movie but refuses to go through with a bad read. I confessed to having finished The Angel's Game only to be able to write this review :P lolz.

Charlene said...

So true - sometimes our expectations can really affect our read from one book to an another by the same author. Looking forward to seeing what you thought of the John Irving book under your "recent reads." I love him (but haven't read this one yet.) Cheers!
Charlene
The Balance Beam

Amy said...

Great post! I am a major book lover...just don't have tons of time to read "for fun" right now!

{ Persis Shah } said...

@ Charlene, it is wonderful to meet a fellow Irving admirer. I haven't known many who admire his humour and writings. I'm reading 'Last Night In Twisted River' rather slowly b'coz of lack of time and b'coz I find Irving's books the kinds which you have to read and then stop to absorb it all before proceeding further. =)

@ Amy : Thank you! I'm sure you'll find plenty of time to indulge in reading for fun after your wedding. In the mean time have fun planning for your big day!! It is a once in a lifetime experience for sure xo.

Crystal Escobar said...

Great book review! Thank you for sharing your insight on the book, you're very great with your words, and I find your writing to be very enjoyable to read. You should write a book of your own.

{ Persis Shah } said...

thank you so much for your kind words! u made my day =)