The Book Junkie

            Zafon's "The Angel's Game" is beautifully written, although I stopped noticing after the first few chapters. Whether the allure of the language is

due to Zafon's skill or the translator's (the book was originally written in Spanish)--or more likely, a combination of the two--is unclear. However, the

plot--which wasn't cohesive enough to keep me up at night--soon took over. The characters didn't feel especially strong to me, and even the main

character seemed one-dimensional. Perhaps the translator lost the essences of the people, but based on the story itself, this seems unlikely.

            "The Angel's Game" is the story of...well, I'm not sure. It's about David Martin, a young man living in Barcelona who writes a book at the behest

of "the boss" (the eponymous angel). It's never clear why the boss wants the book written. Oh, it's explained, but not to my satisfaction. The reasoning

felt manufactured, which, while not unforgivable, made much of the plot implausible. This deus ex machina left me feeling that the story's premise was

forced. Anyway, Martin's life begins to parallel that of the boss's previous...er, employee?...and Martin looks for a way out of his commitment to the

book he's writing. With no luck, as it turns out; both the book and the boss now have a hold on Martin's soul. Now a suspect in several murders, Martin

must solve the mystery of who the boss is, what he is up to, and how it's taking over his own life. As the book progresses, much blood is spilled, many

characters are killed, and those who survive become less and less distinguishable from each other.

            Most reviewers have declared this book "a page turner" and the like, but I have to disagree. The only reason I finished reading it is that I wanted

to find out if the ending redeemed the rest of the book. Sadly, I found that it didn't. From the beginning, I loved the book. The first part enchanted me.

From there, I became less interested in the story, until finally, I was forcing myself to keep going. I wanted to see if the end of the book made up for the

middle, and it didn't. After enough of the characters die, it feels like the remaining ones have less motivation for their actions.

            Oddly, I think I might try to read Zafon's previous book, "The Shadow of the Wind". From reading reviews, it sounds like this might be a more

enjoyable read, and it might clear up some of my confusion/displeasure at "The Angel's Game".

 
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