The Angel’s Game

The Angel’s Game

…by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.Set in the early 1900 Barcelona, this story introduces us to the narrator, David Martin, who works at a local newspaper and aspires to be a writer someday. David gets an opportunity to write a story for a newspaper under a pen name, and thus signs a contract with the publishers of the paper. Few years down the line, David realizes that the kind of story that he writes for the paper is not what he really enjoys doing, and then enters a mysterious foreign publisher, Andreas Corelli, who offers David a chance to write a book under his own name in exchange for a big sum of money. The catch? – David has to write a book that will help create a new religion. Intrigued, yet unsure, David doesn’t take up Corelli’s offer right away, but when things in his life start going downhill, he gives in and starts off with the project. Soon after, David finds himself in the middle of a maze, trying to solve the mystery of his foreign publisher among other things. As he digs more and more to get answers, he’s only left with further questions.

Who is Corelli? How this project changes the course of David’s life. Does he get to finish his project? Why he finds himself in a big pool of trouble – police chasing him, people close to him passing away, people he comes in contact with getting killed, not knowing how and when everything is going to end. David’s life is anything but peaceful.

This book, working wonders to bring out the charm of a dark and depressed Barcelona, left me satisfied, intrigued, yet confused. The author does a superb job of narrating a tale of this proportion paying attention to every scene, every detail and never leaving the reader bored. I was hooked, right from the first page; had I had the time to read it all in one go, I would have…this is one of those books that is so thrilling in its scope that it will leave a reader wanting more with every turn of the page. The story flows flawlessly; the characters are all very well-drawn; the prose evokes the right emotions at the right times making the readers connect and identify with the different characters. All in all, this author’s work is a must-read.

Now for the part what left me confused – while I couldn’t put down the book especially once I got to the later part of the book, at the end, I was left with many questions than anything else. And honestly, I don’t know if that’s because this is something that is out of realm of understanding, or because the intention was to leave the reader in that puzzled state of mind. The author leaves the story with an open end – while it didn’t bother me that I was left to interpret the ending to my liking, to my understanding, it did baffle me a bit because of all the unanswered questions I have…maybe I’ll get the answers if I read it once more and fill my head with all those details that I might have missed the first time around, but until then I’ll have to settle for leaving my concerns behind. Anyhow, this doesn’t take away from the wonderful journey that was reading the book; so I won’t complain much.

Overall, I would highly recommend it – a tale of love, obsession, passion, friendship, a little bit of life’s philosophies with a tint of supernatural outlook makes reading this book a one of a kind experience.

My rating: 5*.

*for the rating scale, click here.


The shadow of the wind


Quick Data

Author: Carlos Ruiz Zafon

ISBN: 978-0-7538-2025-4

Price: 350 INR

The shadow of the wind  is the story-set up in post-Civil War Barcelona- of a young boy-Daniel-, whose life changes forever when he comes across a rare book written by an obscure author-Julian Carax- who disappeared under mysterious circumstances.

Daniel likes the book so much that he reads it in one go and is impressed with the way Carax has written the story. Something about that novel ignites the curiosity about the author and Daniel is all set to find Carax’s whereabouts. When he asks his father-a bookshop owner himself and other book dealers and shop owners about the author, nobody claims to have heard about the person Daniel is mentioning.

As Daniel grows, the mystery of Carax’s life grows too…Daniel hears that someone is desperately searching for all the copies of Carax’s books and destroying them to ashes. This piece of information deepens Daniel’s curiosity and he is determined to find Carax anyhow ! While on his way to solve the mystery, Daniel meets characters who seem to be coming out of Carax’s books.

So,does Daniel reach to the end of the maze ? Does he ever find Carax ? Does Carax even exist ? Questions like these would pop in your mind as you would progress in the novel. I bought this book on hunch like most of the times I do!The Shadow of the Wind according to me does not fall into any specific genre. It is a story about books, love, friendship, fate, commitment and jealousy.  The moment you think that you’ve almost solved the jig saw puzzle, that the author has presented, there would be another piece out of the puzzle that will be thrown at you…the characters appear real and you are made to think about them and the mysterious story that engulfs them all. At times it frightens you and sometimes it will surprise you. Like Daniel you without knowing start solving the puzzle..the mystery..the author Julian Carax ! The write-up is lovely.Carlos has done  justice to the thriller !

It’s one of those books which you would not want to put down before you reach the end.

My rating for this book is 5*