Tag: Redacted

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.

 


Philip Lymbery – Farmageddon in Pictures | Review

Title: Farmageddon in Pictures

Author: Philip Lymbery

Type: Non-Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 192

Rating: 4*/5

 

Philip Lymbery - Farmageddon in Pictures

Philip Lymbery – Farmageddon in Pictures

 

Farmageddon in Pictures is effectively a spin-off version of Lymbery’s earlier Farmageddon, which I’ve already reviewed elsewhere on the site. I’ve been reading books about factory farming for a new novel that I’m working on, and this one has been invaluable for research because it includes images and infographics that help to put factory farming into perspective.

Interestingly, this version of Farmageddon is much easier to read if you just want a general overview, and the images and easy-to-read layout make sure that you whizz through it. It’s basically a redacted version of the main book, and so if you’ve already read that then you won’t find anything new here, but it’s an important subject and so it’s a good idea to read it twice.

Overall, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this to anyone, whether you eat meat or whether you don’t. Be warned, though – it will change your perspective on how food is created and how it makes its way into your mouth. Definitely has a place on everyone’s bookshelves.

 

Philip Lymbery

Philip Lymbery

 

Click here to buy Farmageddon in Pictures.

 


Newsletter Signup

Get special offers, new book news, cover reveals and more!