Wednesday, August 13, 2014
Book Review: City of Thieves by David Benioff
Author: David Benioff
Enjoyment Rating: ***
Content Alert: pervasive swearing, lots of violence, eye opening discussions of sex
Leningrad is a dreadful place to be fated to live during World War II, especially if you're a teenager living all alone. Lev is running with a band of other teenagers when he's arrested and threatened with execution for being out past curfew. While in jail, he meets Kolya, a soldier charged with desertion. Instead of killing them, the officer in charge gives them the chance to live if they find a dozen eggs for his daughter's wedding cake within the next week. In war-ravaged Leningrad, this task is much easier than it sounds.
Lev and Kolya are interesting characters. Kolya is larger-than-life-- a writer and a dreamer with a girl in every village. Lev is a scrawny Jewish teenager in awe of Kolya's ideas and his way with the ladies. Both are well-drawn and complex. In the week of the novel's action, they have adventures that would fill a lifetime for most people, from escaping from cannibals to saving the lives of a house of women held prisoner, to battles with the Nazis, to falling in love. It's an exciting story, and one that older teenage boys would enjoy, particularly if they're fans of historical fiction.