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GUEST BOOK REVIEW – The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Guest Reviewer: Ami  (@mama_roach)

The Book Thief is set in Nazi Germany and tells the story of Liesel, whilst she lives at her foster home in a small town called Molching at the onset of World War Two. Here, she meets an array of fascinating characters and as we read, we discover more about the war, but also the individuals who are punished because of it. The town gets bombed. Liesel dies.
Before you complain about spoilers, this book is full of them. The story is narrated by Death and initially I was taken aback by this, as I couldn’t quite follow the narrative. Death is an interesting narrator that reveals the story at the start of each chapter, but the best thing about it is that you need to know how the story gets to that point. Foreshadowing becomes a very clever device to use, even though it reveals the fate of many characters. However, this story is told so masterfully and creatively that you just have to read it and find out how the events took place.

I was drawn in by the characters and their stories. I laughed with them, cried with them and understood their motives, even ones that were morally wrong. Liesel and her book thievery is the main storyline, with Death narrating the fascinating, and sometimes devastating, events around her steals. All of the characters she comes across in Molching are truly believable, with Hans Huberman and Max Vandenberg being the most inspiring characters I have ever read about.
You’ve heard the hype. Now judge for yourself. I am pleased to say that this is my new favourite book. It is an absolute classic, which everybody needs to read. This book left a beautiful message behind. Thank you, Marcus Zusak.

Buy from Waterstones.com
Out now from Black Swan
ISBN: 9780552773898

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GUEST BOOK REVIEW – Allegiant by Veronica Roth

Having loved the first book Divergent and thinking the second book Insurgent was average, I dived into the final book ‘Allegiant’ with curiosity and an open mind, as I was hoping to rekindle my love for this series that the first book generated.
Tris has now joined the Allegiant and decides to leave Chicago, the city ruined by rebellion and greed. However, what is outside the fence isn’t much better. I felt that my questions about the world Tris lived in were finally being answered, but then as I read on, I got a little disappointed, as I was left with more unanswered questions.

We finally hear Tobias’ point of view, but it is not what I expected. It changes my view of him into someone who is not as fearless as we first think. The writing style is too similar to when we read from Tris’ viewpoint. I was hoping to find out more about the fearless Four and who he really is, but he just kept making the same silly mistakes he does in ‘Insurgent’. However, having his viewpoint does help the reader to sympathise with him, which is necessary for later events in the novel.

However, I was gripped to the actual story and characters. Allegiant definitely has more action than the second book and is far more interesting now that we know what is outside the ‘fence’, but I have mixed views about the ending. I can’t quite work it out. I can’t quite understand whether it is good or bad. Having read lots of negative reviews for this, I can agree with them to some extent about the ending. I even read Veronica Roth’s blog, hoping to get answers. But the fact remains there are no ‘real’ answers. I can say that the ending was a shock, but whether I have disappointment or admiration for Roth, I do not know. Ask me in a week and I might think differently. This is what is stopping me giving the book full marks.

This book is definitely memorable though and the world outside the fence and the problems in it really open up the readers’ eyes to their own lives. It is quite realistic in a sense and I do admire Roth for not being afraid to write a book about humanity’s faults. For the gripping story itself, the interesting characters in the dystopian-yet-believable world created by Roth and the overall compelling series, I do recommend it. Just read it with a box of tissues and an open mind.

Buy from Waterstones.com
Out now from Harper Collins Children’s Books
ISBN: 9780007524273