Jason's Reviews > City of Thieves

City of Thieves by David Benioff
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's review
Dec 26, 2009

it was amazing
bookshelves: fiction, historical-fiction
Recommended to Jason by: Clarissa
Recommended for: Everyone
Read from January 18 to 23, 2010 — I own a copy

This is one of the better books I've read in some time. Good plot, quality writing, interesting characters - City of Thieves has it all.

The war setting makes every scene a bit more anxious, particularly when juxtaposed with otherwise light or humorous situations. Benioff does a nice job establishing the atmosphere, and then staying in it completely. I particularly like that the story has a deadline; you know that everything that is going to happen has to happen in under a week. This works very well at driving the plot along, even when the characters are forced to take detours.

The writing is also very well constructed. Benioff is descriptive without being overly flowery or verbose, and he does an especially good job of establishing the mood with his words. This is most evident in his treatment of the characters' greatest preoccupations: hunger and cold. He tends to go on mini-tangents, but they never last long and seem to be consistent with the characters and their thoughts.

As far as the characters, both Lev and Kolya are particularly well developed. As the reader, you feel about each character as they must feel about each other. Lev is shy and pitiable, but loyal and intelligent. Kolya is obnoxiously charming, and you can't help but love him. The two never quite get each other, but they certainly enjoy trying to learn.

Two final notes: first, I enjoyed the ending of this book, which is where many stories tend to fall short. Second, I liked the length of this book. It is fairly short for a novel, but this works well with the deadline in the story, and also keeps the writing or characters from getting stale. A good book should always leave you wanting more.

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Reading Progress

01/18/2010 page 16
6.2% "One chapter in, and it's definitely got my interest."
01/21/2010 page 124
48.06% "I'm having a hard time putting it down. A big relief after the last book, which had the opposite effect."

Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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Brian Wade Great review. This has been on my to-read list for a while. Picked it up from the library yesterday and started reading this evening, so far a very promising start.

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