Book Review: “The Angel’s Game”


Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s “The Angel’s Game” is book 2 in the writer’s Cemetery of Forgotten Books series.

It’s the first one I’ve read in the quartet of books, and in an ideal world I would have started with book 1, “The Shadow Of The Wind”.

However, much like my bohemian reading ways, the series can be read in any order, as narratives interweave with each other.

“The Angel’s Game” sees young man David Martin write pulp crime fiction under a pseudonym. Writing the stories sees him working day and night, at the expense of his health. Martin, though, yearns for escape and ultimately reward.

This comes in the shape of shadowy editor Andreas Corelli, who offers Martin the chance to write a book like no other – a book that will have the power to change people’s lives for ever. In return, Martin will receive 100,000 francs for his loyalty to the project.

Is it an offer that’s too good to refuse?

“The Angel’s Game” is set in 1920s Barcelona; the turbulent surroundings complementing the city’s artisans’ desire to create and experiment. I’m a fan of Gothic literature, and the late, talented Zafón skilfully brings this to life through haunted locations; the constant feeling of unseen, peering eyes emanating from the shadows.

Through the pages of the novel, the temperate Mediterranean climate is captured through a descriptive palette of colours.

Love & Pride

The always polite, immaculately turned out Andreas Corelli caught my imagination. And Corelli has some of the best lines.

During a meeting between the editor and writer, they chat about fables, and Martin asks,

What did you want to be as a child, Señor Corelli?

The reply is forthright as it is succinct.

God.

Now that’s serious ambition.

As I was reading the novel, I felt for Martin’s plight. He’s a good writer who can become a great writer – but at what cost?

What he wants more than anything is to win the heart of a woman he knows he can never call his own.

David Martin is a flawed hero, but the best heroes usually are.

In “The Angel’s Game”, as in life, books, no matter who writes them, can make lasting impressions.

Alan Spink

Alan is a member of the “Friend” Fiction Team. He enjoys working closely with writers and being part of the creative process which sees storytelling ideas come to fruition. A keen reader, he also writes fiction and enjoys watching football and movies in his spare time. His one aspiring tip to new writers is to “write from your imagination”.