Tag: Clockwork Angel

Markus Zusak – The Book Thief | Review

Title: The Book Thief

Author: Markus Zusak

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 560

Rating: 3.5*/5

 

Markus Zuzak - The Book Thief

Markus Zuzak – The Book Thief

 

I’ve heard a lot of good things about this book and a lot of people say it’s their favourite, so I guess it was a little over-hyped for me. I thought it was fine, but it’s far from my favourite book. It’s not even my favourite war book. It’s not even my favourite Second World War book. But it’s okay.

I think one of the problems that I had was with Zuzak’s writing style. I had a lot of issues with the way he used language, and passages that I think were supposed to sound folksy and cute just annoyed me. I also didn’t like how it constantly stopped and started and how the narrative kept on being interrupted to have a stylised list of either what had just happened or what was about to happen.

Death as a narrator sounded good but didn’t really work out too well in practice. I had issues with how sometimes he could tell what people were thinking and doing and at other times he couldn’t, which left me confused by exactly how death was supposed to work.

 

Markus Zuzak

Markus Zuzak

 

There were bits of the story that I liked, but I also thought that it relied too heavily on the gimmicks and that it was about 200 pages too long. In fact, I thought that the central plot seemed a little too easy because apart from one isolated incident, it made hiding a person in your basement for a prolonged period of time seem pretty easy.

For me, all of this meant that I started losing interest, and then suddenly it felt like 80% of the plot came along in the last 20% of the pages. By then, it was too late for me and I wasn’t emotionally attached to the story enough to really care, although I do always like a bleak ending and so that helped. But really, I think it would have been a much more enjoyable book if it had been redacted and the gimmicks had been taken out.

I know that a lot of people love this book and I can respect that. It’s far from a bad novel, it’s just also not necessarily to my tastes. It reminds me in some way of The Night Circus, perhaps because I think the world building was good in both and because they both seemed to drag while I was reading them. But it was no better than the world building in other historical novels.

 

Markus Zuzak Quote

Markus Zuzak Quote

 

As historical novels go, I’d rank it between Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare on the low end and Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier at the top. The Book Thief would come smack between them in terms of both enjoyment value and believability, at least for me. But as for the characters who are at the heart of the story, I just didn’t particularly care for them.

All in all then, I have mixed feelings. There were bits that I liked and bits that I didn’t like, but most of all I’m just glad that I’ve read it and won’t have to read it again. But it has at least made me want to pick up the non-fiction book I have about Hitler’s failed beer hall putsch in 1923.

 

Markus Zuzak Quote

Markus Zuzak Quote

 

Click here to buy The Book Thief.

 


Cassandra Clare – City of Fallen Angels | Review

Title: City of Fallen Angels

Author: Cassandra Clare

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 448

Rating: 3.5*/5

 

Cassandra Clare - City of Fallen Angels

Cassandra Clare – City of Fallen Angels

 

This is book number four in Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series, and as such it’s part of the series of buddy reads that I’ve been doing with a few BookTube friends of mine in which we’re trying to work our way through each of Cassie Clare’s books by doing one a month.

This isn’t the best so far, because that honour falls to City of Glass (which even then was only a 4/5). Still, it was all right, and definitely better than Clockwork Angel, the last book we read. Cassandra Clare seems to be some sort of divisive author that you either love or hate, but so far I’m pretty sure she’s just fine. Overhyped, perhaps, but her books aren’t garbage. Neither are they good enough to unseat Agatha Christie as my favourite (or at least, “most read”) female author. She’s just okay, you know?

The story line of this book felt a little weaker than those of others, and I’m bothered by how much of an emphasis keeps being placed on bringing characters back from the dead. I’ve always hated when authors do that because I think it cheapens death, and Clare does it in abundance. There are a few characters who I’m pretty sure have died and come back to life multiple times now, and we’re at the point where even if a major character like Magnus Bane were to die, I really wouldn’t care. In Clare’s world, dying and coming back to life is as common as changing your outfit.

 

Cassandra Clare

Cassandra Clare

 

I also wasn’t too keen on the antagonist here. I think Valentine worked pretty well as a bad guy if only because he was so unorthodox, and because I could understand his motivation. But now, we’re pretty much left with antagonists who want the world to burn just for the sake of it, making it feel like something of a farce at times. I struggled to figure out why they were acting the way they were acting, although perhaps that’s my fault as a reader. I don’t know, I wasn’t paying too much attention.

Part of that was because of all of the love stuff. I mean, I get that that’s what a lot of this series is based on, but I really don’t care if Clary and Jace end up together or who Simon decides he wants to sleep with. In fact, every time two characters share a lovey-dovey moment, the pace of the damn story stops as suddenly as a car driving into a wall. Make of that what you will.

 

Cassandra Clare Quote

Cassandra Clare Quote

 

Click here to buy City of Fallen Angels.

 


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