The Angel's Game - Carlos Ruiz Zafón, Lucia Graves Carlos Ruiz Zafon writes books that need to be read slowly and savored. If you don’t, you’ll find yourself lost, missing tiny connections and details that turn out to be oh so important later on. This is something I had to keep reminding myself as I read the book, especially at the beginning. At times, The Angel’s Game was slow. The story is beautifully written with an intricate plot but there were times when it dragged.

David Martin is a struggling author who makes his living writing penny dreadfuls under a pseudonym. His modest income allows him to rent a decrepit old mansion in Barcelona called the Tower House which is steeped in mystery and filled with the belongings of the previous occupant. David receives an irresistible offer to write a book from a man who goes by the name of Andreas Correlli, a French publisher. As David begins to work on the book for Correlli he realizes that perhaps the offer he accepted wasn’t what he thought it was and that the fate of the previous occupant at Tower House might be tied to it.

When I first picked up The Angel’s Game I had hopes that it would be similar to The Shadow of the Wind. It wasn’t. Despite the fact that The Angel’s Game is book #2 in The Cemetery of Forgotten Books trilogy it is NOTHING like The Shadow of the Wind. For one thing, it is far darker. There is no Fermin to lighten the mood and no lovely father son relationship to remind you that there is good in the world. No, The Angel’s Game is a very dark story. David is extremely troubled and it is difficult to tell what is paranoid delusion and what isn’t (or is anything paranoid delusion?). Correlli is obviously a very dangerous man but it is hard to tell if he is real or simply a fantasy thought up by the unwell David.

Another difference is that the story isn’t wrapped up like it is in The Shadow of the Wind. In fact, almost all of it is left rather open ended. I have had to read several other reviews and even some discussion boards to understand the events taking place. And even now I wouldn’t say I am 100% sure.

There were also a couple characters and relationships that weren’t developed as well as I felt they could have been. My main complaint is with Christina, David’s love interest. She is cold and distant throughout the book and even when she makes herself available to David it feels almost…hostile? That is the best way I can describe it. I don’t really understand the fixation that David has with her.

Besides that I really enjoyed The Angel’s Game. It is complex and interesting. When the story is slow it is for a reason and you will be grateful for the added information later on. Once again, Zafon paints Barcelona as bleak and hauntingly beautiful. I could not imagine a better setting for the story. I also loved meeting Isabella, who is the mother of Daniel from The Shadow of the Wind. Senore Sempere was another great character, he is the only one who ever really offers David unconditional support and comfort.

I think I did enjoy The Shadow of the Wind more but regardless, The Angel’s Game is an amazing read. I cannot wait to read The Prisoner of Heaven as I believe it ties the two stories together. Also, Fermin will be back!