City of Thieves
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1. Many historical fiction novels are written from the perspective of the thinking of the time. Although it is interesting to observe how people think people thought in the past, it can be a little too un-modern and sometimes boring, like reading "Moby Dick" or some other great, b ...more
Everything else offered moments of escape: a paralyzed man could still read Dickens; a man in the grips of dementia might have flashes of the most absurd beauty.”
Lev Beniov wants to live. He may not be clear about anything else, but he knows that to be true. Life becomes more precious when being anywhere, not just in the wrong place, but just existing in space, can turn into a death trap at any moment. When his mother and sister fled the city he decid ...more
I love historical fiction, especially tales set in WW the Sequel, and Benioff’s crisp, effortless prose is smart and pleasurable without ever become overly clever or self-indulgent. The plot device of surreal "forced" shopping expedition to track down a dozen eggs against the backdr ...more
As the war ensues and their trip unfolds, fighting both hunger and fatigue, the two unlikely partners in crime end up behind enemy lines encountering some despicable horrors and near death experiences while sharing s...more
It's the Soviet Union 1942. Tension is thick with famine and war. The Germans are beginning their invasion. Two soviet thieves, Lev and Kolya are captured and thrown into the same cell. However, instead of death, they are given a 4 day reprieve with a mission to find a dozen eggs for a wedding cake for a colonel's d ...more
When I read books, I like to do a little research about the author, time period, the book itself, etc. I was interested to learn that the creator of the video game, The Last of Us, drew inspiration, in part, from this book.
The Last of Us is a game my son keeps begging me to play. It takes place in the near future, has nothing to do with World War II era Leningrad, and from what I’ve watched bears no resemblance to the book.
It’s all about the quest.
In the book, the quest ...more
I highly enjoyed this novel set during the Siege of Leningrad, even though I had just been complaining to my book club friends that I was sick of reading books set during WWII. I thought I had hit my limit of Nazi-related stories, but I was happy to be proven wrong.
Many of my GR friends have already read this book, but for those who haven't, I will keep this review free from spoilers. The short summary is we meet a young man named Lev, who is starving in Leni ...more
"There is a place beyond hunger, beyond fatigue, where time no longer seems to move and the body’s misery no longer seems fully your own."
City of Thieves was an amazing book! If I wasn't juggling so many other books, I would have easily finished it in a day or two. The World Wars are definite areas of interest for me, but I am always fascinated by the differing perspectives and experiences of individuals depending what country they lived in. This book explores the 900-day Siege of Leningrad ...more
"I was half asleep but I smiled. In spite of all his irritating qualities, I couldn't help liking a man who despised a fictional character with such passion."I loved this book. So much. In fact, I'm in real danger of descending into embarrassing fangirl babble and I really don't want to put you through that. This book deserves so much more than my barely coherent praise I want to heap on top of its ...more
"There isn't any good news. Just because there's bad news doesn't mean there's good news, too."
Stories often have their strengths and their weaknesses when all is said and done. They can rely more on character than plot, or vice versa. A story might be strong, but pacing is a problem. Dialogue might come off unrealistic, although narrative hits the mark. In short, most books are a balancing act. There are things done right, and things t ...more
I came away from this feeling, very cold, very hungry and with an inexplicable need to make sure my pantry was full. CITY OF THIEVES is a fantastic story; set in 1942 during the Nazis’ brutal siege of Leningrad. It’s a coming of age story filled with adventure, suspense, friendship, romance and tragedy all washed down with (from what I understand) a historically accurate picture of Leningrad during the bl ...more
"Firelight shone through the mullioned windows, warm and buttery, spilling onto the snow in front of the house. Black smoke plumed from the chimney, barely visible as a curling smudge against the dark blue sky. It looked like the most inviting house ever built, the country residence of the emperor's favorite general, h ...more
I quite enjoyed this book. It was engaging from front to end, with nicely dra ...more
City of Thieves is set in Russia during WWII. It tells the story of Lev, a boy on his own in the starving city of Leningrad, and Kolya, a young soldier from the Red Army. Both Lev and Kolya are arrested for different reasons and end up in the same prison cell. While they both expect to be executed in the morning, they are instead taken to the home of a top military man and given a task: find one dozen eggs for a wedding cake. If the b ...more
David Benioff, the author of "City of Thieves", is one of those fortunate few who has everything going for him in life. His father headed Goldman Sachs at one time (so presumably he grew up wealthy). He is very handsome and is married to beautiful actress Amanda Peet (and in the photos they look like a happy couple). He is an executive producer and writer for the successful TV show "Game of Thrones".
But none of these things are the reason I read t ...more
I cannot offer my own paltry review when faced with heavyweights like this one; easily one of the best reviews for this novel: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...
My own advice is I Highly Recommend this superb fiction. 5 ...more
Unlike anything else I’ve read―within the prologue of this book I just knew that it was going to be a masterpiece. Never mind the fact that this guy is one of the co-writers for the HBO series Game of Thrones (yes, you ...more
This book hit me on so many different levels that I still can’t believe it’s all the same book. Tension, excitement, heartache and hilarity are all seamlessly wrapped up to create this wonderfully engaging story that I read in just over a day. I might not have put it down at all if not for those pesky life responsibilities getting in the way!
I must first say that these are two o ...more
City of Thieves by David Benioff
Set in the ice cold winter of January 1942 during the brutal Nazi Siege of Leningrad, also known as The Leningrad Blockade and The 900 Day Siege.
Citizens of Leningrad dig for water from a broken main during the winter of 1942
Background on The Siege: Instead of attacking and occupying Leningrad, the Nazis surrounded the city and cut it off from the rest of Russia, leaving the most minimal food and energy supplies for the population trapped inside to live on. The p ...more
Great Story, Unnecessary Content - 3.5 Stars
This really was a very engaging story. I would compare it to the movie, Life is Beautiful. Similar to the film, City of Thieves takes a daunting, depressing and horrid setting and manages to be poignant through humour. Unfortunately, there was content that felt so unnecessary and over the top, that it hurt my rating.
The story follows Lev, a young, serious Russian Jew and Nikolai the outg ...more
Also we got phrases like this : “I've always envied people who sleep easily. Their brains must be cleaner, the floorboards of the skull well swept, all the little monsters closed up in a steamer trunk at the foot of the bed.” and “Contrary t ...more
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He later wrote the screenplay for Spike Lee’s adaptation of Hour starring Edward Norton and Phillip Seymour Hoffman. In 2005, Viking Press published Benioff’s collection of short stories, When the Nines Roll Ov ...more