2009: #61 – City of Thieves (David Benioff)

cityoftheives Book #61 was City of Thieves by David Benioff.  The back of the book reads:

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 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.

By turns insightful 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.

The great thing about this novel is that it taught me a lot about what life may have been like in Leningrad (and other parts of Russia) during World War II.  The not-so-great thing is that I started listening to this without really reading anything about it, so I completely thought that it really was based on the author’s grandfather.  I have to say that I was a bit disappointed to find out it wasn’t the case! But, true or not, this was a great story.  Something as simple as the search for some eggs for a wedding cake turns into an adventure that changes Lev’s life. Kolya’s “voice” was fantastic as he vacillated between being funny, serious, and cocky.  There’s a lot of sadness here, some of it explored and some of it glossed over. Benioff was smart to frame this as a grandfather telling his story to his grandson, because he made me believe — in Lev and in happy endings.

Audiobook length: 8hrs 29min | Approximate word count: 68,000

2008: Full Tilt (Janet Evanovich)
2007: The Color of Magic (Terry Pratchett)
2006: City of Bones (Michael Connelly)
2005: J is for Judgment (Sue Grafton)

Used in these Challenges: 100+ Reading Challenge 2009;

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