Thursday, March 4, 2010
7. City of Thieves
Summary: City of Thieves is a piece of historical fiction that takes place in Russian during World War II. The book is a perfect snapshot of what it was like to live in a city under siege. The two main characters, Lev and Kolya, find themselves in jail; one for looting a fallen solider and the other for being branded a deserter. They wait their impending execution, until the commander proposes an alternative. Their mission: find a dozen eggs for His daughter’s wedding or face death. The two are thrust in enemy territory and defend their lives from monsters. In a city where food is non-existent, this task seems impossible.
Review: This book takes the perfect snapshot of Russia during World War II. It combines the horror of a city in seize with satirical wit. Benioff does not spare any detail nor censors any event the characters encounter; no matter how gruesome or perverted. He delivers nothing but the hard truth and still manages to make you laugh. Benioff creates pleasant characters with intriguing personalities and places them into cruel situations, were they either survive or perish.
I admire an author who does not censor a story. It shows respect towards the reader and adds spice to the characters. Anyone can write a story, only a true author can make you fall in love with the world. Despite the horrible nature of the story, I loved following the characters every step.
I loved this book from the first page till the last. Benioff’s writing style makes you feel like you’re walking right alongside Kolya and Lev. He places you in a world not many are familiar with. I found myself learning about Russian culture and cities as I read. This book inspired me to research further into Leningrad and Russian history during this time period.
It was ridiculous to think these two characters would attempt the task despite the impending danger. Especially when the world around them did not appear as it seemed. Then again, no one really believes they’ll do anything out of their comfort zone until faced with no other option. However, it made for a tragically humorous story which was memorable.
In conclusion, City of Thieves is a book that only comes around rarely and when is does, you cannot make it sit still. The book manages to be passed from person to person or given as a gift, because it leaves the reader with a profound impact to share it with everyone they know.