Readers expect a lot from a writer like Carlos Ruiz Zafón and The Angel’s Game will disappoint those who were first introduced to this wonderful story tellers magic in The Shadow of the Wind.
The Angel’s Game begins drawing readers into a Barcelona of the early part of the last century and somewhere around the middle, maybe just past halfway point, the threads of the tapestry taking shape become unraveled. Then, as if an attempted restoration takes place, only portions of the remaining work make sense--and not collectively. The characters remain the same but the story each is living in becomes disassociated with the original narrative and some characters drop away completely with unsatisfactory conclusion to their parts. Mostly there is an overuse of morte et motre extremis to prevent re-occurrence of characters.
I read the book to my wife over successive nights, and it wasn’t long before we were both hoping for the end. The tedious story should have ended but instead there is a flurry of minor characters suddenly becoming important.
I wonder if there is something lost in the translation by Lucia Graves. Certainly there would be much gained if a second edit were done to correct the grammatical phrasing that would put the subject, verb and other sentence parts in an order that would not fetter readability. Maybe if all the strands of incomplete characters, incoherent story lines and incompetent grammar are restored to their possible original luster, it will work.
I really wanted to like The Angel’s Game because I had enjoyed The Shadow of the Wind. My disappointment is extreme, yet I would be willing to give Carlos Ruiz Zafón another chance with whatever he produces next.