The story was heartfelt and riveting. There are so many books that I have read and enjoyed, but 2 weeks later I have forgotten a lot of the details. Not with this one I still remember the characters and their stories. The descriptive writing of WWII in St. Petersburg and behind enemy lines kept my attention. One of the very best I have listened to or read. Definitely worth your time.
Books that provide insight along with story are special. Since I don't wish to spoil this for anyone by revealing too much, I'll just note there were new elements introduced I was unaware of until "City Of Thieves". I enjoy history in general and have read of the era. Discovering a unique perspective was a treat.
The narration made it seem quite real so I believe this could easily be a fine film.
As a great fan of all that is WW2, I have to say that this was wonderful, extrodinary book. I had just finished re-reading Harrison Salisbury's book "900 days..The Siege of Leningrad" and to then have the pleasure of plunging into the City of Thieves was amazing. What madness. What courage.
Indeed, in my mind, the book was an exciting subset of Salisbury's tale of horror.
The author captures in great detail all the cruelty and desperation of this massive battle between two of the world's most monsterous tyrants, Hitler and Stalin.
What great characters, I loved them all.
The reader is terrific and add's to the story in many, many ways. Story telling at its best.
I loved this book. I listened to it, read it and then listened to it again. I loved both experiences equally. Narrator is great. The characters are unforgivable.
I recommended the book to my 15 years old son and he loved it, too.
Really enjoyed this one. Definitely kept me in the car a few minutes longer in places. Bit gruesome in a couple of spots and the end was a bit of a surprise. A terrific listen - well worth the credit!
I thoroughly enjoyed this story and thought that Ron Perlman did an excellent job reading it. The characters were memorable and the events on target for the time and place. Note: as to graphic language and talk of sex, considering that the main characters were an adolescent boy and another only a few years older, I think the conversations were spot on.
If you like historical fiction, you should enjoy this book. The author provides a thought provoking view of the siege that is poignant and, at times, funny. The characters are likable and interesting. And the narrator provides a fine performance
One of the very best books I've heard! Even though the subject matter is horrifying -- experiences of Russians in St. Petersburg during WWII -- the main characters' humor gets you through. The writing is so vivid, you can see and feel what is happening in St. Petersburg and the countryside. The narrator's voice is perfect for this book. I bought it twice more for friends.
For years I have been saying that my favorite book of all time, the best written and most cinematic, is FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLES, but now another war story with partisans is pushing itself to the front of the line. CITY OF THIEVES is the perfect construction as a piece of literature and Ron Perlman, one of my favorite actors, has done a great job.
There's enough 5 star reviews that I don't have to go on too much about the positives, so I will make two other short comments.
Regarding Mr. Perlman's performance, and I would site the director for this; at the beginning of the piece there is some sloppy diction which threw my dyslectic ear for a loop. Only three or four slurs, mind you, and after 30 minutes the performance fit the book perfectly.
Regarding the one comment from a reviewer about the inappropriate language, I must whole-heartily disagree. All the language fit the characters and situations perfectly. There's a whole section of Christian literature for those who do not want to read stories written the way people really talk. Maybe there should be warnings at the beginning about harsh language, like on TV. I don't know, that's another conversation. It does purport to be young adult literature. See, I’m trying to be fair. Ah, let’s save that for another forum. I guess it shows how wonderfully written the book is that the strong language made it through the editorial process of a publisher buying a YA book. Me, I'm almost 60 and I think it’s YA only because the protagonists are young.
I will have to listen to both books again to see if Mr. Benioff will replace Mr. Hemingway at the top of my list.
Lory Kaufman, Kingston, Canada
Tucked away in the beautiful mountains of New Mexico.
This was a good book. To get 5 stars I have to be wanting to listen to it again. While this book doesn't qualify for 5 stars, it is a solid 4 and worth the download.