Sunday, January 11, 2015

Review: City of Thieves by David Benioff

Title: City of Thieves
Author: David Benioff
Year Published: 2009

Genre: Adult Fiction
Pages: 258
Rating: 4 out of 5

Location (my 2014 Google Reading map)USA (Russia)

FTC Disclosure: I received this book as a gift

Summary (from the back of the book): 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 power 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.

Review: I hate to admit I cannot remember which book blogger recommended this book, but I know it was a while ago and I finally got around to reading it. I liked it, but it wasn't as good as I had hoped. I think that's on me though, not the book. And, I liked it better by the end than I did in the beginning. Perhaps that's because I started reading the book while I was at a noisy dance studio. Not the best place to start a book.

Lev and Kolya are an odd pairing, but that's one of the things I liked about this story. They played off one another, brought balance to the tale, and needed one another even though Lev would be surprised to hear that. Kolya is confident, brash, intellectual, and sexually experienced, while Lev is shy, quiet, unsure, and hasn't dated at all. On the surface it seems that Kolya is in charge with his flip attitude and habit of telling Lev what to do, it is often Lev that seems to get them out of dire situations and calm those around them.

Life during World War II was difficult (obviously), but in Leningrad, cut off from all supplies, life was particularly horrifying. The book does a great job at showing the different aspects of life in Leningrad as well as the surrounding areas. We see life for regular people, soldiers, young women, partisans, and I really felt like I got a sense of just how far people will go to survive. 

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