Saturday, July 31

Book Review: City of Thieves

Title: City of Thieves

Author: David Benioff

Pages: 258

Summary: During the Nazis’ brutal siege of Leningrad, Lev Beniov is arrested for looting and thrown into the same cell as a handsome deserted named Koyla. Instead of being execute, Lev and Koyla ar 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 daughters wedding cake. In a city cut off from all supplies and suffering unbelievable deprivation, Lev and Koyla embark on a hunt through the dire lawlessness of Leningrad and behind enemy lines to find the impossible.
By turns insight and funny, thrilling and terrifying, City of Thieves is a gripping, cinematic World War II adventure and an intimate coming-of-age story with an utterly contemporary feel for how boys become men.

My Rating: 8.5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: I really enjoyed this book, it was an intriguing read, and was a very unique story, set in a very familiar backdrop - World War II, which is a setting that I just can’t get enough of. For fans of the genre, this book won’t disappoint. A Great example of the effects on war, and an everlasting friendship built between two men, who are trapped in the midst of a war ravaged county trying to survive another day. It’s also a book that has a bit of bluntness and truthfulness in it’s story telling, not nearly as in your face as other books I’ve read recently (Paco’s story), but it was an interesting aspect to the story.

The writing style in the book is lovely, and flows well; the way it is told creates a very charming book. Even in some of the slower parts, the author’s voice comes through in the narrative and keeps the reader’s attention. I found it very easy to get lost in just the story telling of this book, it’s strong enough on it’s own that if it was the case the plot wasn’t that good it would have been worth reading, luckily both the plot and writing were wonderful, I think they complimented each other nicely.

This was a very different plot than what I’m used to for a WWII themed book. It’s starts off in a war ravaged city, but soon turns to the country and small towns of Russia, as the two main characters are trying to complete a near impossible task - find a dozen eggs. Now, I know what you’re thinking, I was thinking it too, what? But, I assure you, this story is a wonderful book, on two very different, very opposite men start out on a journey, and eventually create an everlasting bond of friendship, despite the obstacles and the never ending war being fought around them. On top of this, are the people they meet along the way, all of them are trying to survive another day during the war, on what little resources they have, and at times some of it is heart breaking, while at others will make you laugh out loud. It’s a book that will make you laugh, cry, smile, have you gripping the pages and cheering the characters on. Koyla was my favourite character, very charismatic and enjoyable to read. The author did a fantastic job at creating a book with a cast of characters that wills stay with the reader, even after the book is finished.

Only two small things I didn’t like, I would have liked it to be a little longer, and had it focus on some more historical aspects of Russia and the siege that took place there, and I would have like to known Koyla a little more, before he meet Lev. Although, this couldn’t happen because it was written in first person narrative, I still would have liked just a little more information on Koyla and his past. He was a very charismatic character, and I always found my self wanting to learn about him.

Despite the small issue I had with the book, it is one well worth reading. Overall a fantastic, well written read, and very memorable characters.

Would I recommend it to read: I would, and don’t be put off by the odd plot, it was such an interesting read. I don’t remember what possessed me to pick up this book originally. I think I was surfing Penguin’s website and saw it. I remember thinking it sounded very odd, but yet I went out and bought it, it surprised me, and I think it will surprise a lot of readers. Enjoyable read, and I think a lot of readers out there would really enjoy the book.

What to read next: The Book Thief, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, War on the Margins.

Challenges: Read ‘n’ Review, Pages Read, 10/10 Challenge, 100+ Challenge, Countdown Challenge, RYOB Challenge


  1. Hi Jules, glad you enjoyed it. I didnt enjoy the book at all actually and thought that it could have been better.

  2. I almost picked this book up when it first came out in paperback, but for some reason, I didn't. I am sorry now! It sounds like a great read and I think I am going to have to make a special point of going out and getting this one. Great review, Jules! I am glad you loved it and hope that I do too!

  3. Wonderful review, I had wanted to read this one for the WWII challenge last year but didn't quite get around to it.

  4. I'm so glad to see you enjoyed this book. It's been on my to-read list forever. I'll get this link posted on the WWII book reviews page on War Through the Generations.

  5. Ms Ulat Buku - It was a good read, but I think a lot of people may not enjoy the book as much, as it has a bit of oddness in its characters, narrative and in the story itself.

    Zibilee - It was pretty good, I think it's worth picking up a copy, or at least nabbing one from the library, it was a good story and a different look on the WWII genre. I hope you enjoy the book too.

    Wanda - I think there's a stack of books out there I never managed to get through from the challenge, so now I'm doing it in "spirit," and I get to read WWII Themed books without the pressure of finishing a challenge.

    Diaryofaneccentric - A few people have said this book has been on their TBR list, and I had no idea it existed until I saw it on the publishers website - feel out of the loop heh. Thanks for the link on the site.