The Angel's Game

I could barely sleep after finishing "The Angel's Game" by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. I finished in the dead of night, just half an hour after one, slept for two solid hours, and up again right now, watching the back and forth game of football between Netherland and Argentina. Even after reading it, still lurks the stinging lingering words under my skin accompanying me to sleep. 

For those of you who haven't read it, I can't tell you the whole plot in respect of the book, afraid of not doing it the justice it deserves. What's it about is only what I can tell you, the rest one has to read the book himself. It's a mystery novel surrounding the life of a suspense and thriller writer David Martin, the moment he was born, unwanted to his Father, grew up and took an office boy job at a newspaper where he met the socialite Pedro Vidal, and where since then he took the tiny steps on becoming a writer. Even as a little boy, he possessed the talent in which he was admitted as a threat since his first crime story became public in an edition of the newspaper. One night, his father who was the security guard of the newspaper, were in a wrong place at the wrong time and took someone else's place to die. After the death of his father, with little left of his possession, he became the writer he wanted to be. The conflict came with his purchase of a tower house, and with it the mystery it contained from the previous owner, also with his relation to a Parisian publisher that seemed almost Godly or rather, ghostly. 

Different from his previous book, The Shadow of the Wind, this one possess a lot more supernatural mystery and an ending which cannot be accepted with common sense. And it seems to me, Carlos likes to put his mysteries in exquisite old houses, like the tower house of David Martin, or the Avenida del Tibidabo in The Shadow of The Wind. He also likes to put romances along the way, one that has a happy ending, and the other one that has a sad ending. In both The Shadow of The Wind and The Angel's Game, there's a talented writer character like Julian Carax (in The Shadow of The Wind) and David Martin that has this one true love in which they can't have a happy ending with. Although the lead character in The Shadow of The Wind, Daniel Sempere, and the Sempere Junior in The Angel's Game (which turns out to be Daniel Sempere's Father), both have a beautiful love story that ended with happy ending. 

I'm aware of how disrespectful it is to compare his works, but I can't help it. I can't compare him to anyone else, since he is the first suspense, mystery, and thriller author I've ever tried to read. That's why I am biased in my praising of Carlos and how much I was enchanted with his literary genius. By reading a mystery novel, I came across many ways to describe things in perfection. Reading it will improve your literary writing skill, trust my words. 

Carlos has a way of twisting everything in the end. The last a hundred pages or so, I was in agony by how unreal everything seems. He guided you through David's story, a perfectly normal and realistic story, then at the end he revealed that somewhere along the way, at some point till the end of the story (it could be when he read the damned Lux Aeterna by Diego Marlasca, or probably the point where he get all these letters from Andreas Corelli (the Parisian mysterious publisher)), everything turned out to be unreal and the truth dissolved into thin air. And you can't even know for sure, since the one who can clarify all of them, turns out to be evil. 

You will know in the end that the reason why everything happen can only be explained in one thing. That David Martin has lost his mind, which explains all his dark gloomy dreams. Throughout the book though, you will believe David Martin, solely because you thought that he was the hero of the story, of his own story, and simply because he narrates everything normally and it's as if he was the victim. But the last part of the book, the damn last part of the book will leave you with confusion and the distortion of the whole truth that was gathered pieces by pieces in the first and second part of the book by David Martin. 

So many have died throughout the novel, each one of them with good root of correlation with David, and the rest is bad. You will come across many antagonists in the novel, and maybe that is why David seems to be the victim of everyone's wrongdoings. But you will meet many characters that will love David truly, even in his bad state. 

There's a lot of scary scenes in the novel that it seems that Carlos squeezed out all of his creativity and rained it over his novel in an orderly manner. I like his mannerism in the way he tells a story. He gives a very gothic vibe in all his books, especially that the setting is in Barcelona (aka The City of The Damned). Promise me that even if you don't like mystery novels, you will try this one out. It left me crying and in a confused state that I have to rewind the plot again in my head to let it all sink in. I'm not such a fan of mystery novels, but this gothic theme seems to attract me as much as John Green's The Fault in Our Stars, in a completely different way. I highly recommend this book if you want to try a good mystery novel for the first time. It's pretty thick, but stick with it till the end and you'll know what I mean. 


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