Here is a small fact
You are going to die.
1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier.
Liesel, a nine-year-old girl, is living with a foster family on Himmel Street. Her parents have been taken away to a concentration camp. Liesel steals books. This is her story and the story of the inhabitants of her street when the bombs begin to fall.
Some important information
This novel is narrated by death.
It's a small story, about:
some fanatical Germans
a Jewish fist fighter
and quite a lot of thievery.
Another thing you should know
Death will visit the book thief three times.
Pre Read Thoughts
Now the story of how I came to read this book is slightly different from normal. I moderate a group on Goodreads and this is one of this month's (September's) group reads. My mum then bought it for me as a sort of 'it's actually your brother's birthday but here's one for you' present. What can I say? She's thoughtful is my mum. I love the cover, Liesel dancing with Death. It's very simple but it's very effective. I also love how the background has a sort of stained parchment look to it. The UK RRP is £7.99 which is what I'd expect to pay for an adult paperback. Finally I want to point out that I'm in love with the synopsis.
Post Read Thoughts
First of all I have a suggestion: if you're going to read this book you're going to need some tissues. The ending comes at you like a steel freight train. You can see it coming but you stand there in denial until it hits you... Okay I think we've just discovered that analogies aren't my thing so moving swiftly on...
I've been left so speechless by this book that I think I've forgotten how to review. I'll give it a good go anyway though. I absolutely adored this book, when it was in my hands I never wanted to put it down. The scene setting was phenomenal, the story played like a film in my head all the way through. I also adored the choice of narrator. I love books where the layout or the narrator is a little unconventional and this one is no exception. The idea to have Death narrate a book set during a period of time when millions of lives were lost is genius. Saying that, to pull it off you have to really know how to weave a tale and fortunately Marcus Zusak can do that.
Liesel is a great character, I really loved her and I sympathised with her greatly. I wanted everything to work out for her but she wasn't my favourite character. That title is reserved for her best friend, the boy with hair the colour of lemons, Rudy Steiner. He filled the pages with life and I felt that I could almost reach out and touch him. Something I want to point out, and this happens very rarely for me, there wasn't a character that I detested. Sure there were some nasty articles but they all added to the bigger picture and that picture is sublime.
Overall I've done a very poor job of telling you why you should read this book but read it you must. The writing is stellar, the world vivid and the idea so original that it must be calling to you. I'll let you in on a couple of secrets. Not only did this book make me cry but it's going on to my very rarely used favourites shelf. This is one of the best books I've read all year.
5 stars - Beautiful, magnificent, worth every bit of hype that it gets. This blew me away and made me eager to read after a bit of a reading slump. I'm going to recommend this to everyone. It's a must read as far as I'm concerned.
A Final Note
There's swearing and violence. Don't let that hold you back though. Go forth and read The Book Thief!