I read this aloud to my nine year old daughter, at her request, and sadly, neither one of us was that impressed with the story. There's too much sitti...moreI read this aloud to my nine year old daughter, at her request, and sadly, neither one of us was that impressed with the story. There's too much sitting around and talking by the siblings and not enough action. The castle, while a fun and clever concept, fell short in execution, and turned out to be rather humdrum. My daughter, who normally loves being read to, was so bored she didn't want to finish the book. We pushed through, but her ultimate reaction was "Meh."(less)
It took me a while to get immersed in the story, almost half the book. It seems overly long and drawn out for it's simple plot. I can foresee this one...moreIt took me a while to get immersed in the story, almost half the book. It seems overly long and drawn out for it's simple plot. I can foresee this one being skipped in any rereads I do of the series. That being said, I'm looking forward to the conclusion of Neryn's tale.(less)
It has taken me a long time to get around to reading this book. It wasn't until I saw the film trailer that I got excited about reading it. Everyone I...moreIt has taken me a long time to get around to reading this book. It wasn't until I saw the film trailer that I got excited about reading it. Everyone I know who has read it loves it to pieces, so you can take my opinion for what its worth - not much.
First, the good…I like that the story looks at World War II from the German side, through the lives of ordinary civilians, a side not often shown in literature about the war. I liked the idea of the story.
Now for the bad…and for me, it far outweighed the good, I'm sad to say. I know I'm in the minority, but this book just didn't work for me. I felt like the author was trying too hard to be AN AMAZING WRITER. My biggest problem with the book is the writing style. Most people who read the book extoll the poetic language; to me, it was just awkward and pretentious, with a choppy quality to the narrative throughout the book that I feel hinders the flow of the story. Not sure what I'm talking about? Here are some nitpicks: *He has a habit of using incomplete sentences. E.g. "The mayor's wife's arms. [Next line] They hung." (p.262) *He makes up words that become really awkward sentences. E.g. "After a miscarriaged pause…" (p. 263) What does that even mean? "The oldened young man…" Here's another one: "I shiver when I remember - as I try to de-realize it." Whiskey Tango Foxtrot??? *He LOVES similes and metaphors, and uses them badly. E.g. "Pinecones littered the ground like cookies." That one makes me laugh. And from p.339, an atrocious metaphor, "For me, the sky was the color of Jews." What does that even mean? Jews have a color? *He jumps about in the timeline, leaving the reader confused as to what's happening when. *He constantly gives blatent spoilers about future events, and then gives the backstory. I would much rather have had the surprise of various events.
Throughout my reading, I constantly felt like the author was trying to shove emotions down my throat. ("You WILL cry, darn it!") I think his (Zusak's) best moments are when he strictly, unemotionally narrates Leisel's experiences, which doesn't happen often, but those were the few times the story worked for me. I kept hoping that I'd stop noticing the writing and become immersed in the story, but the heavy-handed tactics of the author kept jerking me out of it. I really wish I had liked it better, but the writing style and I obviously don't suit, making me extremely reluctant to read more of Zusak's work.(less)