City of Thieves

To start off the summer, I read City of Thieves by David Benioff . This read was nothing short of fantastic. This extraordinary novel is one for the ages.  It takes place in Soviet Russia, during World War II. Leningrad ( now St. Petersburg ) is under Nazi siege, while it’s emaciated citizens struggle to survive with barely any food or water.  In addition to the detailed setting is the compelling story of an unlikely friendship between a deserting Russian solidier and a 17 year old corpse looter who are thrown together for a ridiculous mission: to avoid execution they have one week to find a dozen eggs for a wedding cake in the decimated city of Leningrad.

One reason this book is so interesting is because no one ever talks about Russia during World War II.   The War destroyed the cities and lives of the people of the Soviet Union.  I enjoyed this historical element of the book.  Another reason I liked the book is that the characters were written in such a way that made them seem more human than any other book I have read.  I felt a deep pity for the characters. This combination of comedy, tragedy, romance, and brutal reality is a masterful achievement that has been overlooked.

I would recommend this book to everyone, but some of the content is crude, violent, and disturbing. Scenes of cannibalism and awful gut-wrenching depictions of war put this book in a very mature age group. The book is not really appropriate for anyone, but books like this need to be read to educate about things society doesn’t make an effort to show us.  There are also some racist and sexually offensive scenes that can take a toll on a mind too young for the book. I say that you should be older than 13 to read this book.

Don’t be turned off.  If you are a fan of great literature or just need something to keep you occupied this summer, this book is a great choice.   No, Mr. Benioff didn’t pay me to write this review, and I will absolutely  look into his other works. David Benioff deserves a standing applause.  I give City of Thieves 5/5 stars.

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