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The Prisoner of Heaven: A Novel

The Prisoner of Heaven: A Novel

Scris de Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Povestit de Peter Kenny


The Prisoner of Heaven: A Novel

Scris de Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Povestit de Peter Kenny

evaluări:
4/5 (71 evaluări)
Lungime:
7 hours
Lansat:
Jul 10, 2012
ISBN:
9780062208613
Format:
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Descriere

Internationally acclaimed New York Times best-selling author Carlos Ruiz Zafon takes us into a dark, gothic Barcelona and creates a rich, labyrinthine tale of love, literature, passion, and revenge in which the heroes of The Shadow of the Wind and The Angel's Game must contend with a nemesis that threatens to destroy them.

Barcelona, 1957. It is Christmas, and Daniel Sempere and his wife, Bea, have much to celebrate. They have a beautiful new baby son named Julian, and their close friend Fermin Romero de Torres is about to be wed. But their joy is eclipsed when a mysterious stranger visits the Sempere bookshop and threatens to divulge a terrible secret that has been buried for two decades in the city's dark past. His appearance plunges Fermin and Daniel into a dangerous adventure that will take them back to the 1940's and the early days of Franco's dictatorship.

The terrifying events of that time launch them on a search for the truth that will put into peril everything they love and ultimately transform their lives.

A HarperAudio production.

Lansat:
Jul 10, 2012
ISBN:
9780062208613
Format:
Carte audio

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Despre autor

Carlos Ruiz Zafón is the author of eight novels, including the internationally bestselling and critically acclaimed Cemetery of Forgotten Books series: The Shadow of the Wind, The Angel’s Game, The Prisoner of Heaven, and The Labyrinth of the Spirits. His work, which also includes prizewinning young adult novels, has been translated into more than fifty languages and published around the world, garnering numerous awards and reaching millions of readers. He lives in Los Angeles.

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  • (4/5)
    Finally - and I am sure I will love it!
  • (5/5)
    Continuing the story, pulling some loose ends together and unraveling othersMy third book in a binge read of the Cemetery of lost books series. Some questions raised by prior volumes are answered and the background of characters fleshed out. Ruiz says he tries to create scenes as in a movie and the books hang together almost like the serials at Saturday Matinees of yore.Was David Martin Crazy or not. Was his ‘the boss’ the devil? Not answered here, but the suggestion that the next volume will reveal more answers. I find my effort to keep track of people and places is helping me to fit the whole story together. On to the Labrynth.
  • (4/5)
    A really good read, the most undemanding installment of The Cemetery of Forgotten Books series.
  • (5/5)
    Christmas in Barcelona in 1957. Daniel Sempere and his friend Fermin Romero de Torres embark upon an adventure that will take them back to the early days of Franco's dictatorship.
    A beautifully written book, full of intrigue, terror, passion and joy. THE PRISONER OF HEAVEN is part of a series of books set in the literary universe of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books. Those who have read SHADOW OF THE WIND and THE ANGEL'S GAME will once more be captivated by Carl Ruiz Zafon's magical world.
  • (4/5)
    I'm currently making my way through Zafon's Cemetery of Forgotten Books series back-to-back, the first two of which were re-reads for me, but this and the last in the series are/will be first time reads. The Prisoner of Heaven is a much shorter book than the other three, and it takes place more or less right after the ending of The Shadow of the Wind. Fermin is preparing to wed Bernarda. However, prior to the wedding, a strange man enters the Sempere bookshop, triggering Fermin's memories of the past, which he shares with Daniel. Thus, the majority of this book centers around Fermin's past history, prior to the time that he met Daniel. Once again, Zafon brings to life some of Barcelona's darker secrets. We find out some more detail about Daniel's mother, Isabella, and her death. David Martin, the main character in The Angel's Game, is also a significant player in this one, although rather than clearing up some of the unanswered questions from that novel, it creates even more about his character.I'm somewhat unsure how I feel about this third installment of the series. While it was nice to read some of Fermin's history and some other background information, I didn't feel the magic in this one as I have with the other two previous novels and I was left feeling unsatisfied. While I've not yet read the last novel in the series, my gut feeling is that this one acts as a bridge between the other three, and I'm hoping I won't fully appreciate it until I've finished them all. I think, also, that the audiobook narrator for this one could've been much better, and I suspect that played a part in my feelings of dissatisfaction.
  • (4/5)
    A very decent third book in the Cemetery of Forgotten Books series, if we can call it a series given that Zafon tends to play fast and loose with the chronology of events. Not as fabulous as The Shadow of the Wind, but a definite improvement over the second book (which had the appearance of being a prequel). In The Prisoner of Heaven, Zafron is back to the wonderful labyrinthine, Gothic storytelling I fell in love with when reading The Shadow of the Wind. While Daniel is back in this book, this time it is very much Fermin’s story and his mysterious past. Zafon, obviously a fan of Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo – which happens to be one of my all-time favorite reads – takes inspiration from Dumas for the basis of Fermin’s story as a political prisoner in the dark and foreboding Montjuic Castle during Franco’s dictatorship. Zafron is very good at creating atmosphere in his stories, I will give him that. Even better, the author makes some decent connections to the first two books, so that The Angel’s Game doesn’t continue to stick out like a sore thumb. On a downside, Zafon plays messes with information from the earlier books, suddenly giving Fermin a stronger connection to Daniel’s family than originally provided, leaving Daniel to experience some “Say, what!?” moments. Also, Zafon’s female characters have not improved. They continue to come across as a mystery for the male characters to either pity, avenge or suspect of being up to something. There is a strange, token chapter told from Bea (Daniel’s wife) and Bernarda (Fermin’s fiancé) POV that adds, IMO, virtually nothing to the story. Maybe Zafon was asked to include more female character interaction, I don’t know. It just doesn’t work for me. This time, Zafon wraps up with a really solid cliff hanger for the next book in the series. I don’t always like cliff hanger endings. For me, it seems as though the author is attempting to milk a book deal made with the publisher (“Really, I can squeeze another best seller out of this!”) and I don’t like being used as a pawn, but I am intrigued enough to add the next book (which is already out) to my “to read” list. Overall, a decent read if you, like me, are able to enjoy a somewhat flawed story that is stylized with wonderful Gothic atmosphere, mise en scène and is an ode of sorts to Barcelona and wonderful writers like Dumas.
  • (3/5)
    While a great continuation of characters from his two previous novels, Zafon stumbles a bit here in trying too much (in my opinion) and ends up making a novel that demands more resolution than is provided. That's the only thing that's knocked this down from 4 starts to 3 for me.
  • (3/5)
    After previous Zafon Books,I was expecting more. Still very well written but it miss the dark and mysterious situations, and the growing of a love story. As this book is an "in between" story, there are many things that are already known and not so much new things that are brought to the public.
    But in the end, the arrival of a newcomer, tells me that a new books already in Zafon's head :)
  • (4/5)
    Excellent as always. Zafon creates (or rather, re-creates) a vivid world of a bygone age, and makes it seem real and three-dimensional. Moreover, this third installment of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books series follows closely upon the second, The Angel's Game. If I have one complaint, though, the Cemetery plays only the most minor of roles. One hopes that this merely sets up a larger role in the subsequent, fourth story.Although the author suggests that the stories can be read in any order, I disagree, and favor a more chronological sequence (Angel's Game, Shadow of the Wind, Prisoner of Heaven). Otherwise keeping the characters straight becomes a real challenge.By the way, I was prompted to seek out the short story, Rose of Fire--which explains the creation of the Cemetery. It was originally available as a free download. I could find the Spanish version, but no longer the English, and in the trying did succeed in downloading a massive amount of computer viruses. That'll teach me. I can only hope that the publisher pulled the story because it plans to release it as a print publication, which I would prefer anyway.
  • (4/5)
    As usual of his previous book, can't put down it once started. Enjoyed the hidden plots n usual emotional tugs, though story aren't as exciting as Shadow of the wind and Angel's game.
  • (4/5)
    Think this is a series worth picking up. Loved the reference to the Count of Monte Cristo.
  • (4/5)
    ‘The Prisoner of Heaven’ is the third novel in the series that started with ‘Shadow of the Wind’. In this book, while it’s told from the point of view of Daniel Semper, we learn the ‘origin story’ of Fermin Romero de Torres. Fermin featured in ‘Shadow of the Wind’ as an accessory character who, while being strong and supportive, provided a comic relief. In ‘Prisoner’, set years before ‘Shadow”, we learn of his past and the true depths of the man. This is a man who is unjustly imprisoned in a hideous place (like many during the Franco régime) and barely escaped with his life, but never lost his humanity or his sense of humor. The horrific prison is probably a pretty good description of what really existed at the time, as well as the corruption, greed and fear. Unlike ‘Shadow’ and ‘The Angel’s Game’, the second in the series, this is a very fast read; it doesn’t have the intricate plotting that those two have. Sadly, the Cemetery of Forgotten Books is barely mentioned, there is no magical realism, and Daniel Sempere is acting a bit of an ass in his personal life. But Zafon’s writing is so beautiful that I would forgive him anything; it’s like the prose version of a piece of fancy, but tasteful, jewelry.
  • (5/5)
    The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafon is a great story in the tradition of The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas. It is the third novel in the series by the popular Spanish writer designed to stand alone and pique the reader's interest in the first two novels, The Shadow of the Wind and The Angel's Game. Zafon calls these books "the literary universe of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books" in his introduction.In this novel, the action begins in 1957 in Barcelona at Christmas time. The main character, Fermin Romero de Torres is working in a bookstore owned by Senor Sempere and his son Daniel. Fermin, who is about to be married, leaves the bookstore one day to take care of marriage preparations. A mysterious crippled man painfully enters the store and buys an expensive copy of The Count of Monte Cristo. He inscribes a note in the novel and asks Daniel to deliver it to the person named in the note. After he leaves, Daniel reads the inscription and sees that the name is that of his friend, employee, and local bon vivant Fermin. It seems to Daniel that there is more to Fermin than meets the eye.The story moves back in time to 1939 to a location of a notoriously bad prison on Montjuic, a hill in Barcelona. Because of his anti-government activity, Fermin has been sentenced to an indeterminate sentence in the hellish institution where brutality and torture are daily occurrences. Fermin is thrown into cell 13. The narrative focuses on Fermin's life in the jail and the fellow prisoners he meets. A particularly interesting inmate is David Martin, a writer imprisoned for expressing supposed anti-government sentiments. He is being blackmailed to ghost-write material for the warden, Mauricio Valls, who claims the productions as his own creative work. Martin's bizarre ranting behavior has earned him the nickname of "the Prisoner of Heaven," but there is a method to Martin's madness.The story unfolds with many twists and turns, friendships and betrayals, sacrifices and expressions of love. The resolution of the mystery surrounding the bookstore visitor is revealed to Daniel as the novel progresses from 1939 forward to 1957. This is an excellent novel that seemed to me flawlessly translated from the Spanish by Lucia Graves. I enjoyed every page of the The Prisoner of Heaven and will now go back and read the first two novels in the literary universe Zafon has created.
  • (5/5)
    I did not realize when I chose to review this novel that it was part of a series. I didn't really find it out until I read a couple of reviews for it. I could see where some questions could be answered but I in no way felt that I lost at sea, so to speak. The Prisoner of Heaven can definitely stand on its own and it has certainly piqued my interest in seeking out Mr. Zafon's first two books in this intriguing Spanish tale.I was drawn to the story by the promise of a bit of historical novel, a bit of a love story and the hint of mystery. It delivered on all fronts. It's a very hard book to try and describe as it is quite unlike anything I've read before. It is a dark gem full of rich characters of both good and evil and it uses my favorite novel, The Count of Monte Cristo as a reference and a reverence.Mr. Zafon creates a dark world for war torn Barcelona in 1939. Fermin Romero de Tores is swept up into prison for reasons never fully explained (one of those questions I mentioned above) and he meets famous author David Martin who helps him to escape with the promise that he will look after his friend Isabella and her child.In present day Barcelona (1957 in the book) Fermin and Daniel, Isabella's child are best friends and the book details how that came to be through Fermin's confession to Daniel when the past rises and threatens the peace of the present.It's a horrifying and well written tale and it is not over...another book is alluded to and I will look forward to it. The writing is exceptional; Mr. Zafon's pen sets a mood whether dark or light with words that dance on the page. He draws you into the dank, smelly prison where Fermin suffers and he celebrates the beauty of a sunset just as effectively. He is a seductive writer no matter the subject. I will most certainly seek out more of his work and keep this one in my library.
  • (5/5)
    Interesting plot. Amazing language and to think this is an English translation. The original in Spanish must be even more spectacular. I'm completely blown away by the descriptive writing style.
  • (5/5)
    I've read this story before and loved it, but I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this audio version. Great job to Peter Kenny (very well-narrated), and of course, to Zafon!
  • (4/5)
    THE PRISONER OF HEAVEN by Carlos Ruiz Zafon: While the note from Julian Carax suggests that the three books in the series (THE SHADOW OF THE WIND and THE ANGEL'S GAME having preceded THE PRISONER OF HEAVEN), I have no idea what a newcomer to the series would make of THE PRISONER OF HEAVEN as a standalone novel. My recommendation is to read the first two novels first, as THE PRISONER OF HEAVEN refers back to the events portrayed therein. If you've read the first two books about the Cemetary of Forgotten Books, I see no reason why you wouldn't enjoy the third (and the fourth, which I can barely wait for). When I say that THE PRISONER OF HEAVEN is more of the same, I mean it in a positive way: THE SHADOW OF THE WIND and THE ANGEL'S GAME were sensuous feasts of words and atmosphere that I found immensely enjoyable, and THE PRISONER OF HEAVEN was equally diverting.In this installment, Ruiz Zafon explores the history of Fermin, with Carax telling us in the prologue: "I have always known that one day I would return to these streets to tell the story of the man who lost his soul and his names among the shadows of a Barcelona trapped in a time of ashes and silence." If you find that sentence seductive, the novels of Ruiz Zafon will appeal to you; if you find it overwritten and melodramatic, you probably ought to skip this series entirely. I was immediately drawn back into post-WWII Barcelona, which Ruiz Zafon evokes so beautifully. The story begins in 1957, just before Christmas, with Sempere & Sons bookshop financially strapped. Fermin has an idea for drumming up business: "Perhaps if by chance I was seen arranging the shop window in my underpants, some lady in need of strong literary emotions would be drawn in and inspired to party with a bit of hard cash. According to expert opinion, the future of literature depends on women and as God is my witness the female is yet to be born who can resist the primal allure of this stupendous physique." Sempere decides to go the more traditional route of a nativity scene, and customers begin to trickle in. Among them is a mysterious stranger who buys the most expensive book in the store and leaves it as a gift for Fermin. This is the trigger for Fermin to tell Daniel Sempere his own story: beginning with his time in prison during WWII and revealing connections between Fermin and Daniel.My only complaint about this novel is that it was too short. Having read it on the Kindle, I had to look it up to find out that it is apparently 416 pages long, but it breezed by in little more than a night of reading. Fermin's story is gripping and the dribbles of information relating to Daniel's mother, David Martin, and the mysterious stranger are well-paced. Fermin's usual cynicism and humor lighten up the narrative, and the ending is satisfying, although clearly setting the reader up for the fourth book.I found THE PRISONER OF HEAVEN engrossing and delightful, and I recommend this book to fans of THE SHADOW OF THE WIND and THE ANGEL'S GAME.Source disclosure: I received an e-galley of this book courtesy of the publisher.Posted at On My Bookshelf.
  • (4/5)
    I really enjoy these books. They aren't action packed and full of intensity, quite the opposite really. The story unfolds slowly and I can understand how that wouldn't appeal to every reader, but it has ne invested in these characters. Each book compliments the previous and adds to the character's lifetimes. I feel like I know them all personally as if they were real, not fictional. Another great story and wonderful to listen to on audio.
  • (3/5)
    Audiobook performed by Peter KennyBook three in the Cemetery of Forgotten Books series.Just before Christmas 1957 a mysterious stranger appears in Barcelona’s Sempere bookshop. He knows much more than he lets on but it’s clear he poses a threat to Fermin Romero del Torres. Fermin is about to be married and the secrets the stranger threatens to reveal will destroy him. Daniel pledges to help but first he must understand the events of 1940s Barcelona during the Franco regime. Oh, I love Zafón’s writing! The book is very atmospheric; I can feel the chill of a wintery wind, smell the candlewax and dust, practically taste the delicacies offered at 7 Portes restaurant (a dining establishment I have, in fact, visited in real life), or feel the pain of blows inflicted by a ruthless prison guard. There are twists and turns and changes in time line that confuse, obfuscate, tease the reader and illuminate the plot. I caught references that helped tie in the first two books, though, in fact, any of them can be read as a stand alone novel, and they do not need to be read in any particular order. Peter Kenny did a fine job of narrating the audiobook. He had many characters to deal with and managed to give them sufficiently unique voices to differentiate them. HOWEVER, he chose to use British accents for everyone and that drove me nuts. The book is Spanish, the characters are Spanish, NONE of them should have a Cockney accent! Lost a star there.
  • (3/5)
    The third in the Cemetery of Forgotten Books series, The Prisoner of Heaven draws together the lives of the previous two books' main characters, but also gives sufficient back-story for the book to work on its own.

    Daniel Sempere, of The Shadow of the Wind, is now married with a young son, and that book' best character, Fermin, is planning his own wedding to Bernada. But he is not as happy as one would expect, and one evening (and over the course of several chapters), he explains his councerns to Daniel.

    This process of bringing the previous two strands together by means of Fermin's back-story makes this work feel a little clunky. In its own right, this book is average. Inevitably, as part of a series, it must be compared to its predecessors, and while it is an immense improvement on The Angel's Game, it is, well, a shadow of Shadow of The Wind. It's a lightweight read, with little depth, and no great character development. And I was rather annoyed to find most of The Angel's Game appears to be written off, in this book, as the imagination of a man in the process of losing his mind

    It also leaves a huge number of mysteries and unanswered questions. Why does Valls seem to disappear from public life in 1956? Where is Salgado's fortune? Where did Bea go if she didn't meet her former fiancé? Why was said fiancé asked by his employer, a company owned by Valls, asked to reconnect with Bea? It feels as if Ruiz Zafon will inevitably write a fourth in the series, but I'm unconvinced that the last two have been strong enough to maintain the momentum.
  • (5/5)
    Prisoner of Heaven is Carlos Ruiz Zafron's third book and is a sequel to his other two books, Shadow of the Wind and Angel's Game.

    It is set once again in Barcelona, Christmas time in 1957. Daniel Sempere is married to his wife, Bea. They have a beautiful new baby son named Julian, and their close friend Fermin Romero de Torres is about to be wed. A mysterious stranger visits the Sempere bookshop. His appearance takes Fermin and Daniel into an adventure that takes them back to the 1940s and the early days of Franco's dictatorship. In this book we learn the background of Fermín Romero de Torres. Not only are secrets revealed about Fermin but Daniel also discovers secrets about his connection with David Martin which were touched upon in The Angel's Game.

    Although, all three books can be read in any order, my suggestion would be to read The Shadow of the Wind and The Angel's Game first. There are many references to these two books throughout The Prisoner of Heaven.

    Carlos Ruiz Zafron is one of the word's most read and best-loved writers and I was anxiously awaiting this novel for another dose of his beautiful prose. He did not disappoint, as this novel was an excellent bridge beween the first two and answers some questions but not all. Zafron does leave you at the end with an added anticipation for the last and final novel of the series.
  • (3/5)
    This book is not typical Carlos Ruiz Zafon. I don't know if it's the translation or what, but there was none of the usually beautiful and mesmerizing Zafon magic. It was just a straightforward tell-all involving existing characters. This book tries to explain some of the mysteries from other books, while also seemingly mentioning some old characters just for the heck of it. The plot (if it can be called that) was trite and altogether way too convenient. I was left more confused about "The Angel's Game" after reading this and now I'm not sure what to believe. I wish I could go back and unread this book.
  • (4/5)
    As my 5-star rating of The Shadow of the Wind shows, I fell seriously head-over-heels in love with that book. The setting, the authorial voice, the characters, the convoluted and sometimes gothic plot--I loved it all.

    The Angel's Game was okay, but didn't sing to me like Shadow did--too much gothic convolution, not enough Sempere and Sons.

    Now I've finished The Prisoner of Heaven. The sadness and loss are still there. The anger and pain are still there. The longing and love for a Barcelona that will never come again is still there. The unshakable faith in the power of the written word is still there. Twisted plots and literary allusions are still there. Beloved characters leading their lives and finding a small measure of happiness are still there. I completely enjoyed all of these things that were there.

    What wasn't there was an ending. Sure, there's a stopping point and even an epilogue, but really that only serves to make the story feel unfinished. There's too much of this particular story left untold. Yes, I know that this means there will be another book, and yes, that makes my cold and black little heart leap for joy. But it also means I'll have to wait, and I'm not very good at that.

    Still, it's hard to begrudge time spent in the company of Fermin and the Semperes. The story moves quickly, right up until the point where it stops, leaving the reader desperately turning those blank pages at the end of the book hoping to find the continuation. Will I be reading the next installment? Of course--I'm already jonesing for it. But I really hope we get to an actual ending next time (for this story, not for the characters, who I think I could cheerfully read about from now until doomsday).
  • (3/5)
    A great adventure through the history of Fermin, close friend of the Sempere family. Zafon's writing is poetry in prose and his ability to weave a tale of mystery and suspense with a touch of history is incredible! Any one who has enjoyed the previous two novels in this series will not be let down. Zafon continues the Cemetery of Forgotten Books series and reveals more of the secrets . . . allowing just enough mystery for a future installment.
  • (4/5)
    I'm really glad I read this novel shortly after finishing The Angel's Game. I spotted the connections better and it helped put the previous novel into a different perspective. While excellent on its own, this novel is even better when placed in the context of Zafon's other novels about the Cemetery of Forgotten Books. A great novel and I hope to continue to find more written by this author.
  • (4/5)
    Not as compelling as Shadow of the Wind, but following the characters and still we'll worth the read
  • (4/5)
    Third in a series of "Cemetery of Forgotten Books", "The Prisoner of Heaven" is a must for those enamored with C.R. Zafon's style and this particular theme. For here, in this book, we sort of come full circle to understand some things which were happening to the characters: all of it comes together - though it's not to say that we are left with no mystery at the end of this book, for we are. So I hope that there will be continuation. On the down side, here is the problem with books that continue with installments - you have the tendency to compare the books in the series against each other, and though I liked this one, I have to say it was the weakest of the three.
  • (5/5)
    While I was reading this, my acquaintance saw me carrying it: "OOOOOhhh! A new Carlos Zafon book?!?!? When did it come out?!?!?! But... it's so TINY!"
    OK, it's not really all that tiny, at 279 pages. But it is significantly shorter that either of the previous 'Cemetery of Forgotten Books' stories. It also reads much quicker - it almost feels like a TV episode, as opposed to a whole movie.
    That said, I'm still opting to give it 5 stars, because I love these books. I love their feel, the atmosphere, the content... And, I suppose, "I wish it was longer" isn't a very valid complaint.

    This story concentrates on the character of Fermin and continues the romance we saw him start in Shadow of the Wind. A dark secret from his past turns up on the bookseller's doorstep, and dredges up the terrible events that happened under Franco's dictatorship.

    Can Fermin trust his friend Daniel to help him; or will he drag everyone he loves into danger?

    Even when Zafon is talking about people being tortured in fascist dungeons, his vivid depictions of Barcelona make me want to travel back to the city...
  • (4/5)
    READ IN DUTCH

    An unexpected surprise, I got The Prisoner of Heaven as a very late Birthday present. I started reading immediately and I was not disappointed. I had read some mixed reactions to this book as well as The Angel's Game, but I beg to differ. I really liked them.

    Okay, apparently Fermin tragic background story wasn't tragic enough already, but he's such a likeable character. As he said, the maid who could resist his charm is yet to be born. (xD) And yes, the ending really provided an excuse to give us a whole new book but I like reading them, so I don't mind.
  • (3/5)
    This third volume in the series that began with The Shadow of the Wind features the character Fermin Romero de Torres, revealing to us his horrific past experiences in prison in the 1930s as a figure from that past reappears to haunt him.I really, really enjoyed The Shadow of the Wind, but remember finding The Angel's Game much less compelling, and somewhat disappointing by contrast. I was hoping this one would take me back to the kind of engrossing read I got from the first one, but, alas, it was not to be. It's readable enough, despite sometimes giving the impression of having been rather inelegantly translated, but it never really engaged me as much as I'd hoped. Also, while there's a note in the front of the book suggesting that any of these books can be read on their own, I wouldn't believe it if I were you. Taken on its own, this book is fairly frustrating, with none of its main narrative threads coming to any kind of satisfying conclusion. I'm pretty sure that if I were to go back and read The Angel's Game, which I read long enough ago to have forgotten almost all the details of, I'd find the answers to some of this volume's unanswered questions, but I really don't have the motivation to do that.Rating: 3/5, although if I'd read it immediately after the previous book, or if it hadn't lied to me about standing on its own, I suspect I would have rated it higher.