The Angel’s Game is the second novel in Zafón’s ‘the Cemetery of Forgotten Books’ quartet.
In an abandoned mansion at the heart of Barcelona, a young man – David Martin – 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 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.
Then David receives the offer of a lifetime: he is to write a book with the power to change hearts and minds. In return, he will receive a fortune, perhaps more. But as David begins the work, he realises that there is a connection between this haunting book and the shadows that surround his home…
After enjoying The Shadow of the Wind, I returned to the streets of Barcelona to read The Angel’s Game; usually when reading a series, you look forward to the returning characters, but here you’re looking forward to the returning bookshops. This novel contains a new mystery with new characters, and it is only Sempre & Son’s bookshop and the Cemetery of Forgotten Books that return. That, in itself, highlights the theme of this novel – it’s revolves around books; characters with a love for the written word, and if you enjoy reading about books, then this may be just the novel for you. Side note: characters from book 1 return in book 3 so it’s worth reading these books in order.
Like its predecessor, The Angel’s Game crosses genres and give you a little bit of everything: part historical fiction, part mystery, part romance, part literary thriller, part adventure. I feel like to echo my review of The Shadow of the Wind wouldn’t be far off my thoughts on this one because it too, is a slow burner – the thrills don’t kick in until towards the end of the novel. Obviously, it’s a different mystery but the great gothic vibe to the mystery remains the key factor in creating this books dark atmosphere and this novel is again, another showcase of Zafón’s talented writing. The mystery is layered and Zafón takes you on a journey with a passion for, and the power of, books at its core.
I suppose the key thing to mention here is that, for me, everything in this novel was a little less than in The Shadow of the Wind – the plot was a little less interesting, the character’s a little less enchanting; but one thing worth pointing out is this fab mysterious aura Zafón creates surrounding each character. While I didn’t enjoy this one as much as the first, I still liked it and I will go onto read the next book, The Prisoner of Heaven.
I can only imagine how enchanting this quartet would be to read in Spanish but I’m grateful to Lucia Graves for the translation that allowed me to read this novel.