The Book Thief by Markus Zusak : Book Review

Book Title: The Book Thief.

Author: Markus Zusak.

Publication Date: 2005.

Rating (Out of 5 Stars) : 2.5.



** This review contains spoilers that the BOOK spoils anyways**


When I first bought this book, I was incredibly excited. I had heard about the hype and how there was a movie coming out (or did it already come out?) On top of that, it was a story set in the WW2 era which meant a lot to me because I have always been fascinated about that time period.


Unfortunately though, I was incredibly disappointed. Perhaps it was the hype behind the story that got me so excited but honestly, throughout the entire story, I felt like I wasn’t allowed to get emotionally invested or worried about any of the characters.


When I first finished the story, I really wanted to write the review right there however, I knew that the review would be incredibly negative and I would have struggled having a coherent thought so I decided to wait a bit and get over my initial reaction so that I come onto the story with a clear mind.


At first, I thought my originally issue was narrator who was supposed to be death and while this still isn’t my favorite thing, it’s not why my rating is so low however, I did want to address it.


Because of the fact that we had a named character that is so well known in the literary and culture of our community, we have a belief of how he is supposed to be. We typically know death as this very emotionally cold and distant character that goes through a lot of death, an aspect that partially excited me about reading the story.


“I do wish that the narrator had been somebody less well known in the world.”


However, I found Death to be emotionally vulnerable towards a story that, while interesting, seemed to be a common occurrence. Plenty of people during that time had been surrounded by death and surely, some of them even have emotional backgrounds but this story didn’t seem to be particularly special enough for such a strong emotion.


While I am perfectly happy that Liesel was not the narrator, I do wish that the narrator had been somebody less well known in the world such as an anonymous person or even somebody that just wanted to tell a story that he had heard from a family member. I think had it been taken with that route, the emotional vulnerability would have made a lot more sense.


Despite this, my biggest issue was actually the tiny notes that were written throughout the story. These notes, I found, often ruined the entire story for me. The narrator was so emotional through the story, reminiscing so much of the story and aspects that you wanted to care about the characters however it would give away the ending far before it ever happened.


The book thief


This aspect of the book kept me emotionally distant from the characters, not allowing me to care enough about the characters and then stabbing me in the heart because after one of the first scenes that we truly get to know him, we immediately find out he’s going to die.


“The writing style just simply left something to be desired…”


With stories that had the ability to easily force me to buy a box of tissues, I enjoy the ability to become emotionally invested as it makes me want to curl in a ball and cry but this story never allows you to do so. Which is primarily why I didn’t enjoy the book as much as I would have liked to.


The story and the characters were marvelous but I do wish that Markus Zusak had taken a better approach into writing the story and sometimes, I even find myself wanting to ask him why he ruined such an emotional plot point. He never let us worry about the lives of characters because he would tell us even though it would be covered later in the book anyways.


I, however, would still suggest this book to anybody who enjoys reading WW2 era books as it does allow for a new point of view of the story. Instead of seeing the characters being involved in the Holocaust, we see a character helping a Jewish man and still being involved in the Nazi party.


The book does allow you to fall in love with many characters and the creativity of the author was exorbitant as well as the historical facts of the time period that the book was centered around. The writing style just simply left something to be desired and I am personally under the belief that the writing style does matter a lot.


I do know that many, many people disagree with me which is why I wanted to be careful about this book review and I would love to hear some of your personal opinions about this book! I didn’t want to go into the political talk of the book or go further into depth because I didn’t want to spoil the book but if you want to talk to me about the book in depth, please feel free to contact me or message me on Twitter!


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Buy my book here!


If you want to read more book reviews/ book related content:

One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus – Book Review

Beauty and the Beast Book Review

My Harry Potter Questions

The Book That Tells You Who I Was and Who I Am

It’s Not Okay by Andi Dorfman : Book Review

A Little Princess : Book Review

Harry Potter and The Cursed Child : Book Review

Water for Elephants : BOOK REVIEW


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Sabrina Ingram

Hello, my name is Sabrina Ingram. I am the author of The White Butterfly and The Girl in the Cage. You can find me on my website ( where I talk about writing, books, personal things, and much more!

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