The Angel’s Game

by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

“Every book has a soul, the soul of the person who wrote it and of those who read it and dream about it.”

A young writer who was introduced to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books through our favorite booksellers, ‘Sempere & Sons,’ is tasked to write a specific, dangerous book by a mysterious benefactor and finds himself entangled in a web of love and betrayal, mystery and murder as he attempts to understand what’s happening around him.

The Angel’s Game has everything, including a high degree of complexity. While plot intricacies threaten to harm the story toward the end the author deftly brings things into focus so it’s teetering like a car on two wheels while taking a corner too fast, but ends up right back on all fours rocketing ahead of where it would have been if driven more safely. A strong supernatural element is present, and while there’s no James Bond here our protagonist is run ragged all over Barcelona, creating a slight action element as well.

The characters of David and the elder Sempere are so fully developed there might be something missing in your soul once the story is complete. It’s a rare storyteller who can enhance our lives with his characters over the course of a book and make us acutely feel their loss when the book is finished. We never want a good book to end, but the best of them leave a wound-like hole behind when completed–like this book does.

At over 500 pages it’s a long, rich read, and the quality of the physical book from Subterranean Press matches that of the story. Some are going to feel this standalone prequel eclipses even the author’s beloved The Shadow of the Wind.

An absolute masterpiece combining literary fiction, historical fiction, romance, mystery and horror, this book comes with the highest recommendation.

5 stars

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