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The angel's game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
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This was a real pageturner for me. Not a gothic romance per se, but definitely a gothic! It's a first person story of a young man in the first decades of the 20th century. He is very poor but aspires to be a writer. As he is very talented several people help him to achieve his dreams. The setting is Barcelona and the city and all its mysteries are described beautifully. I've been to Spain several times but never to Barcelona and wished that I had gone there. But perhaps that would have been anticlimactic as I can't imagine the city to be as gothic as in this book, and of course it's almost a century in the past. When our hero finally comes into a little money through his writings, he rents an old tower house that he always felt a desire to live in. There's a mystery in this house as well, and I must say it's a bit contrived that the author doesn't let him discover the hidden secret early on in the story. As it is this revelation concurs with other discoveries so the story can be told chronologically. Throughout the story you feel the love for writing, books and also for Barcelona the author himself must feel. Along that line of thinking I fear the author isn't as positive about women in general, as his female characters had certain unlikeable traits.
I kept thinking the book would be very well suited to be turned into an adventure game like the Gabriel Knight series. The hero travels all over Barcelona, visiting palatial buildings and graveyards, to find more clues by speaking to people which leads him to more people and more clues.
So what's my verdict?

SPOILER ALERT - I'll not give the plot away, but the following could spoil your anticipation

While still reading I was completely entranced and almost couldn't put the book away for bed-time. All the time you get glimpses of mysteries you cannot wait to find the answers for. You can gather from the book's title that there's some supernatural being at work here, which involves magical things to happen, and that's what you'll have to be content with. Your own speculation is your answer to a lot of the riddles presented. If the "angel" would have been your average villain, at the end of the book all his doings might have been explained in a logical way. Here you just have to accept that it was how it was because of the power of this angel to make things happen. Perhaps because I'm not a reader of supernatural fiction I have a hard time being pleased with such a non-resolution. I felt a bit like I did after watching Lost's season six.
So it's difficult to give an overall verdict. The writing, mood, characters, setting and plot all get 9 out of 10, but my satisfaction at the end of it all was a 6 out of 10.
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