Tara's Reviews > The Book Thief

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
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Sep 13, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: young-adult
Read from January 17 to 21, 2012

This review was originally posted in full on my blog, Hey, Tara.


Wow. Just Wow.

I can honestly say I’ve never read anything like this before. I bought my copy of this book way back in September, when there were a lot of really good reviews for it out and about, and I consequently kept picking it up, and then putting it down in favor of some ‘easier’ reading.

I admit, I was worried by this book because it’s completely out of my comfort zone – I haven’t read much fiction (or much anything, really) set in WW2, and that scared me a little, not to mention the fact that so many people think so highly of this book.

I really shouldn’t have been.

The story in this book, for me, seemed to be about human nature itself, and the ways people help and hinder each other, as well as being a story about survival in the roughest of times. The whole thing felt fairly bittersweet to me, because whilst points were really touching, there was some really horrible stuff there – but I guess that’s the flavour of the time the book is based on.

I liked the fact that the book is narrated by death, portrayed as a fascinated onlooker. The slightly caustic writing style was enjoyable for me, though I can see why some people wouldn’t like it.

This is definitely one of those books that some people will really love and be touched by, but it’s almost like you have to get to a certain point first, and I can understand why some people wouldn’t get that far. It’s difficult to explain, but there’s some aspect to the book which I found almost difficult to get on with, but I was captivated enough to keep on going, and I’m so glad I did, even though the ending isn’t the happiest I’ve ever read.

Foreshadowing is used fairly heavily in this book, and I think it’s to possibly the best effect I’ve ever seen in a YA novel. It’s there, and it’s always in the back of the reader’s mind, but it’s not overpoweringly obvious what’s going to happen.

The characters were fantastic throughout – everyone was well-described, and as a reader I actually felt like I knew the inhabitants of Himmel Street by the end of the novel. Even Death himself was an enjoyable character, for me, and I was impressed, because it’s not often you find a narrator in books that is as well personified.

I’d recommend this for both YA readers and older readers, but this is definitely one for older teens. It’s a good book for those looking for something different, but if you don’t tend to like books that don’t have a happy ending, this probably isn’t the book for you.
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