by David Benioff
Why did you choose this book? This was a book club selection
When did you read this book? March 2017
Who should read this book?
Source: library book club set
My Rating: ✰✰ 2 Stars
Here is a synopsis of City of Thieves from Goodreads
From the critically acclaimed author of The 25th Hour, a captivating novel about war, courage, survival — and a remarkable friendship that ripples across a lifetime.
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.
By turns insightful and funny, thrilling and terrifying, City of Thieves is a gripping, cinematic World War II adventure and an intimate coming-of-age story with an utterly contemporary feel for how boys become men.
This was the book club selection for our March meeting. It is probably not a book I would have picked up off the shelf had it not been a book club selection. It took a long time for me to feel any connection to the characters, and I never really felt fully invested in the story. While language, violence, or sex scenes are not normally an issue for me if it is integral to the story, I felt that this book sometimes was a bit too much. I also wasn’t too pleased with the ending of the journey when the men finally returned to Leningrad. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but it was a lot to go through, only to have the story end that way.
The story begins with an introduction where the narrator listens as his grandfather tell his wartime remembrances. The grandmother is in the background and at first is reluctant about the whole idea of a book about their wartime experiences. I really have to wonder if I might have enjoyed this story more had it been told from the grandmother’s point of view.
I need to mention that my book club did not feel the same way I did about the book. Our reviews were mixed with ratings as low as a 2 and as high as a 4. So even though I did not enjoy the book, many people do and you might be one of them. If you do read the book, here are some fun links for you.
✽ Conversation with author David Benioff about the book.
✽ Lev Beniov’s Twitter account
✽ Lev Beniov’s Blog
.I suspect these last two were down as a high school student project during study of the book!