Before I read this book, I had very high expectations. Which isn't necessarily a good thing. Usually when there is hype around a book, I expect too much of it and end up disappointed. This was not the case with The Book Thief. I was utterly fascinated and amazed by this book.
This story set in Nazi Germany is narrated by death. Obviously, death's workload had increased dramatically around this time due to war, but still he strangely formed an interest in a young girl named Liesel. The story follows Liesel as she moves in with her new foster parents after her mother (like her father previously) had been taken away. On the way there, death meets her for the first time when her brother dies on the train. As he is buried, Liesel steals her first book which she soon finds out is about Gravedigging. At her new home on Himmel street, Liesel forms many special relationships. Particularly with her foster father, Hans Huberman, and her neighbour, Rudy. Hans even teaches her how to read her stolen book.
At the beginning of her move, the Second World War begins. This doesn't mean too much to most residents of Nazi Germany at the time, because they were safe. At a special book burning, Liesel steals her second book. And her life as a book thief begins. As the book continues, so does the war. (However unlike the book the war becomes worse over time.) Hans Huberman had already taken part and survived one world war, this was thanks to a Jewish man who saved his life. Hans never had the opportunity to repay the man, until now. In this book we see Liesel form unique relationships with a promise-keeper, a boy with lemon-coloured hair, a Jewish fist-fighter and with words. Unlike Death (as in the narrator), I am not going to spoil the ending for you.
As well as a unique plot, The Book Thief features some of the most beautiful descriptions of colours I have ever read. In this sense it sort of reminded me of The Night Circus. (Although a lot more happens in this book plot-wise)
I loved this book. I think that it had something for everyone. A grasping plot, undeniably gorgeous descriptions, loveable characters and an element of tragedy. It was one of those special stories in which one sentence could make you gasp. There were many times I had to stop reading to fathom what I just read. My favourite character was Rudy. Like Death, that boy breaks my heart.
A little warning: It is not a quick read. In fact, it took me a little over a week. There are over 550 pages and it is a book that requires to be read with care.
All in all, this books automatically joins my list of favourites. I would recommend it to all.