Wednesday, January 1, 2014

City of Thieves Book Review

Rawr Reader,

First review of 2014! Unfortunately, I don't think I'll be as review heavy as the previous year, but I'm very capricious with these sorts of things. This is City of Thieves by David Benioff and the excerpt is provided by Goodreads:

During the Nazis’ brutal siege of Leningrad, Lev Beniov is arrested for looting and thrown into the same cell as a handsome deserter named Kolya. Instead of being executed, Lev and Kolya are given a shot at saving their own lives by complying with an outrageous directive: secure a dozen eggs for a powerful Soviet colonel to use in his daughter’s wedding cake. In a city cut off from all supplies and suffering unbelievable deprivation, Lev and Kolya embark on a hunt through the dire lawlessness of Leningrad and behind enemy lines to find the impossible.

I was in Books-A-Million and they had this in the bargain section. I can't say no to a good bargain!

(safe for those who haven't read this book yet)
  There's a magical quality in reading and when you find yourself really loving characters for their flaws. Or maybe it was Benioff's writing that I found myself just being completely soaken into this story. Yes, many of the events are a little unrealistic as to what would have happened in WWII Russia, but I think if the author was trying to create a realistic story, then it would have fallen short in its humor and entertainment, let alone the message or character development.
   Going off of the humor, this story was one of the funniest books I've ever read; and that has to be thanks to Kolya. Handsome, charismatic and loquacious but it was his personality that really appealed to me and what soon edged off on Lev. Sure Lev was the complete opposite of him, but I think their friendship/bromance, however you'd like to see it, was what Lev needed to survive the war. Simple, kind words and faith present in a time where the person was surrounded by anything but was the sliver of humanity that Lev wouldn't have been able to discover on his own.
   Each chapter is short and you find yourself just being so engrossed in the story that this book really flies by. And I think it was the quest part but it reminded me a lot of The Hobbit which I had just finished rereading a week ago. Also something that really stuck out to me was that ever line seemed to original and creative, from the dialogue to the world-building.
   I don't have much to say but if you enjoy World War II stories, or Russian culture, or adventures/quests, let alone fantastic characterization and thrills with laughter and danger, you should really consider picking this book up. I think I love it more because I stumbled upon it randomly. ^^

I give this book 5/5 stars.

Author's Quote:
"In spite of all his irritating qualities, I couldn't help liking a man who despised a fictional character with such passion."

"It made me happy that poems are referred to in the present tense even when the poet is in the past tense."
-Lev Beniov, David Benioff, City of Thieves

Next To Read:
Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

River Song's Spoilers:
(unsafe for those who haven't read this book yet, so don't read this section)
   My favorite part was Kolya telling Lev the The Courtyard Hound story. It was short, tragic, lovely and I only wish it was something he had been able to publish. And after that I realized what a beautiful title that is. It has a nice ring to it, don't you think? Or is me just so in love with Kolya that I'm a little biased? Hmm, I guess we'll never know. ^^
   Ever since the beginning we knew that we were going to meet Lev's wife in the story and I'm sure I wasn't the only one guessing who it would be from the beginning. I doubted it would be Vera, I would be very surprised if he returned to her after what she did, so every time they met a woman I kept thinking, hmmm, is it her? I guess it was meant to be with the fiery red-headed Vika being the one.
    Okay, I just want to mention the rooster Darling. I laughed much longer than I should have. Also when Kolya got shot in the ass and his exchanges with Lev afterward. Seriously, if you didn't think they had a bromance (which Vika can also support several times), at that point you had to have been thinking it too if you weren't before.
    Kolya's death was something I predicted from the beginning. Almost every story I've been reading has death of the main characters so when I read a book where a main character doesn't die, I'm very surprised. And this is a war story, someone needed to die, even if several of the events were a little too unrealistic (but of which I didn't mind at all). However, his final line really struck me, because at the heart of the man, he was just as afraid as anyone in war and his facade of uninhibited honesty with life and their experiences together. 

Until Next Time,
Nicole Ciel

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