Posted on Monday, June 27, 2016

Review: City of Thieves by David Benioff


City of Thieves by David Benioff

Series: -  Published: May 15th 2008 by Plume
Pages: 284 • Format: E-book • Genres: Historical Fiction, Adult, War (World War II)
Status: read from June 20 to 22, 2016
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Rating: 3.75/5 stars



I had no idea what to expect going into this book, because I barely knew what it was about. I liked the premise, the egg hunt and WWII, because I love historical fiction and I had never before read a book set in Russia. I only just realized it wasn't YA, but instead adult. I liked it nonetheless and will definitely start reading more adult books from now on.


First sentence: “My grandfather, the knife fighter, killed two Germans before he was eighteen.”


The characters (Kolya in particular)

The characters were so great. Kolya was my favorite (not surprising being he's totally incredible), and also my favorite thing about this book. He was always happy and he's extremely hilarious. Though, his humor may be a little odd. Lev was fun as well, but not in the same way. He was younger than Kolya, and that was something clearly shown in the way he behaved in all kinds of situations.

Lev and Kolya's friendship

One of the best things about this book was definitely the friendship between Lev and Kolya. I love how they found each other in an impossibly weird situation. They were the greatest pair of friends and so funny to follow on this journey. I loved how Lev grew to love Kolya in the matter of two/three days.

It was informative (and detailed)

I think it's important for historical fiction to be, in some way, informative and City of Thieves definitely was. I haven't read a book, or know anything, about the situation in Leningrad during WWII. It was interesting and also detailed, which made it even easier to understand how it was during that time.

The writing/storytelling

The books was written as a story told by Lev, the main character and I really enjoyed that sort of writing. I liked how Lev sometimes "talked" from the future (saying something similar to "later I came to understand that.."). The writing was beautiful, not too repeating (I hate that) and had an easy flow to it.


All the words/names I couldn't pronounce in my head and got stuck on while reading!

Okay, so this was a big problem for me. I hate getting stuck on words I don't understand or/and words I cannot pronounce. I just hate it a lot. And there were quite the amount of words, Russian and German, that I couldn't pass while reading. It was so frustrating. There were names of weapons and airplanes too. So yupp, I did certainly not understand those (they clearly didn't make sense to me).

The violence

I'm not the biggest fan of violence in all the different forms there are, and this book had a lot of violence: rape (sort of), assassination, murder, fighting (also suffering and starvation) etc. It's a big part of the book though and that's what happened during the war, so I suppose it's very important for an accurate story from this war period. If you rather avoid violence/blood/etc., this isn't a story for you.

Parts of the end

I'll just leave it at that. If you have read/will read the book, you'll probably understand.

It may have been a little too "adult-y" for me to start out with as a person not-so-used-to reading adult books?

I don't know, but that may have been a reason I didn't give it 5 stars? It was a very serious book indeed, and may have been more suitable for older people (I'm 18). I feel like I would've enjoyed it more if I'd read it in a few years.

I didn't really connect with the characters

Well yeah, the main characters were two guys, 17 and 20-ish, so that may be the reason. I cared for them but let's say they aren't my favorite characters ever. At least not Lev. Kolya is much more memorable, although Lev turned out a hero in the end (as he'd always wished for). And of course, I know that it's hard to connect with characters that have completely different ways of living, thinking, being, acting etc. than myself (this book took place during a war after all) but I hope you understand what my point is with me not connecting with them.. the characters.

17927395During 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 powerful 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.

Have you read this book? Did you like it?

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