11 January 2014

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Series: No
Publisher: Random House UK, Transworld Publishers
Publication Date: January 2nd 2014 
Source: Publisher [Netgalley]


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.


It's a small story about: a girl, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist fighter and quite a lot of thievery.


The Book Thief was one of those books that I'd heard amazing things about. Nearly every review I saw for this book was 5 stars which is what made me read this book in the first place. I'm not really a major fan of historical fiction, but I loved this book which was a complete surprise. 

So as you probably know, it isn't the main character who narrates this story, it's death. Markus Zusak managed to pull of this narrative perfectly. Even though I wasn't hearing from Liesel or any of the other characters, I still grew to love them and care about them. Death's was a sympathetic character and cared about Liesel and all of the people she loved, which I think is why I was able to care about them too. 

Liesel is one of the kindest and more caring characters I've ever read about. She's a young, naive girl who is being sent to live with a foster family because her mother is being taken away. Liesel doesn't understand where her mother is going because she's so young. My heart broke for her the second she arrived on Himmel Street. She was just a young girl who wanted her mother but she was being sent to live with strangers. But Liesel grew as a character throughout the book. She has such a big heart and she cared about so many people. She was friendly, lovable and just such an amazing character.

Liesel's relationship with her foster mother and father was beautiful. She was closer to her foster father, Hans, than her foster mother, Rosa. Liesel and Hans' relationship warmed my heart. Liesel had grown up without a father, so Hans wasn't replacing anyone and he became her favourite person. He taught her to read, he played his accordion for her and he sat in her room with her and calmed her when she had a nightmare and read to her. Their relationship was so sweet and Hans was such a perfect father.

Rudy was one of my favourite characters too. I can't even begin to express how much I loved Rudy. He was hilarious, reckless, stubborn and he could always make me smile. Rudy was Liesel's best friend and I adored their relationship. They were both good for each other and they always knew how to cheer each other up and make the other one laugh. Every time they were together I had a smile on my face.

I loved every single thing about this book. I know there are some people out there who felt like this book dragged and that it was really long, but it never felt like that to me. I was so captivated by this book that it flew by for me. Every spare moment I had I was reading this book and when I couldn't find any spare moments I got slightly irritated because all I wanted to do was read this book. 

I adored seeing how Liesel acquired all of the books she stole and I enjoyed hearing what she thought about them. Liesel didn't just get these books for herself, she shared them with people. Her papa used them to teach her to read, she read them to her neighbour and she read them to calm everyone down during the air raids. There was also a lot of other things that happened in this book that warmed my heart, but I can't talk about them because I don't want to spoil anything. I did enjoy that this book wasn't set in the middle of the war in Germany. There were things happening around this town, and things that moved through the town, but the setting of this book wasn't in the middle of the action which is something I loved.

Even though Death was narrating the story, it wasn't like Death followed Liesel around and gave us a play by play of her life. Death was reading Liesel's story and I loved that concept. It's such an original and unique idea and I take my hat off to Markus Zusak for writing it this way because in my opinion, it made it an even more heartbreaking story.

I wasn't prepared for the ending of this book to destroy me. I was expecting to cry because Death had already mentioned something that I assumed happened at the end (which it did), but so much more happened at the end and I couldn't take it. I think I cried for about half an hour after I finished this book. I can't say too much because of spoilers, but I will say that it's one of the most heartbreaking endings I've ever read. It's right up there with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows & The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas for me.

Overall, The Book Thief is one of the best books I've ever read. Even though the ending destroyed me and left me an emotion wreck, it was such a beautifully written book with such a breathtaking story. It's definitely a book I'm going to be recommending a lot this year and I'm pretty sure that it'll make it onto my Top 10 books of 2014 list.


  1. I haven't read this book yet cause I know I will cry my eyes out and I'm not sure I can take more emotional upheaval of that kind for a while... but I somehow I know I'll absolutely love this book!

    Great review Samantha!

    1. You definitely need to read this at some point, Pili! Although I cried my eyes out at the end, it was such a beautiful book. I definitely think you'll love it :D

    2. I know I will! Maybe for my next vacation!

  2. I read this around Christmas! I actually didn't know it was going to be narrated by death so when I started the book it really through me off. I kept reading and couldn't put it down! I loved it!

    1. I went into it already knowing that Death was the narrator, so I think that's how I managed to get pulled in straight away. You just get so sucked into the story don't you?

  3. Welcome to the club of emotionally damaged people! Haha. This book always gets to me when I re-read it.

    1. Haha! I'm happy to finally be a member of the club! It'll probably make me cry every time I re-read it as well.