Hey Audible, don't raise prices and I promise to buy lots more books.
I had my doubts about reading this book. I have a hard time with books about WWII Germany. I knew this would probably be a heartbreaker too but for some reason I decided to take it on. Maybe because the book was about books, and I usually like that genre; maybe because the reviews were so good; certainly not because I read it was appropriate for "sophisticated teens and adults." For whatever reason, I am glad I selected The Book Thief. It was incredibly well-written. The characters completely came to life. While there certainly was heart-brake, the heart-warming more than made up for it. This is a book for all ages. The narrator was outstanding and all and all, it was a book I will not soon forget.
I could not call this a great book but easily I rate it a wonderful one. Some of the reviewers commented on the violence. I abhor violence and one of the reasons I liked the book so much had to do with its minimal violence. The description of a violent act in the very beginning leaves more to the reader's imagination than to the words of the narrator. The hero, Bod is totally nonviolent. He never threatens and hardly even defends. He allows the villains to do themselves in. Scary goules and ghosts? I think not. They are pretty much all loving and caring souls.
Throughout the book I considered whether this was a book for children. As an adult, I certainly enjoyed it and believe many children would also. Hansel and Gretel now that's violent and horrific. Little Red Riding Hood? That's perverted and violent. None of that here... just a delightful story in which good completely triumphs over evil... or better yet, evil does-in evil. And to top it all off, the narration was excellent.
Star-wise I find the book difficult to rate. For what it is I would rate the book 5 stars. Compared to all books in general maybe only 4. In Netflix, 4 stars means "I really liked it." That settles it.
I love reading and listening to books, especially fantasy, science fiction, children's, historical, and classics.
This is an entertaining, fresh take on the pseudo-Icelandic saga fantasy genre, filled with believable and very human characters (even the "villains"), unexpected plot developments, suspenseful and yet funny scenes, and a well-realized world. Author Stroud deftly adapts that genre to the young adult market, depicting an appealing young underdog protagonist struggling to find his place in his world: short, stubby, swarthy, homely, brave, clever, resourceful, and witty Halli. The relationship between Halli and his girl friend Aud is wonderful, for they are well-matched and feisty with and loyal to each other. Aud is a great female character: independent-minded and at least as intelligent, spunky, and humorous as Halli. The interplay between the scary, comical, and imaginative heroic legends that begin each chapter and the real world heroism that Halli must learn and attempt is fascinating. I listened to the book with a delicious sense of not knowing what would happen next but being sure that whatever did happen would be interesting and just right. There is at one point, for example, a brilliant showdown featuring a fever, a lost voice, a revelation, and a fight to the death with a poker, crockery and food-stuffs, a pair of skewers, a fireplace, and tapestries that is worth the price of admission alone.
Reader David Thorn is perfect, reading the story with a rich, dry, almost tongue in cheek tone that makes it feel as if a favorite uncle were telling you exciting legends by the fireplace. All in all a pleasurable and rewarding audiobook.