words, from friends

Just read two great books recommended by two friends from work. These are also two very different books, but both do an incredible job of pulling the reader into the worlds they create (one much more ‘fictional’ than the other) and immersing one for the length of the story.

The Book Thief by Markus ZusakThe more painful, because it is ‘believable’ fiction, is ‘The Book Thief’ by Markus Zusak. Set in World War II Germany it follows the events in the young life of a girl, Liesel, taken in by foster parents due to the ‘unfortunate circumstances’ of her biological parents, and allows us to view her life as a German citizen through the war years.

One of the many clever things about this book is the perspective of the narrator, ‘Death’, who is also a character in ‘his’ own right, and a very unusual intriguing and fresh depiction of ‘Death’ he is too.

A great deal of humanity and helplessness in the lives of German citizens of the Third Reich is portrayed here, and although intolerance and inhumanity are evident and depicted brutally, the book succeeds in making the reader understand that Germany and her people were also victims of the war, as well as those she persecuted, invaded and killed.

This is definitely a book to enjoy, as well as a book to make you think again and question your preconceptions.

Thanks Denise for the recommendation and the loan of the book.

The second recommendation, and loaned book came from Jan, and is  escapism of a whole different kind.
The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
The ‘Lies of Locke Lamora’ by Scott Lynch is pure SF Fantasy with the emphasis on the fantasy rather then the science. But this cleverly avoids the recent fantasy cliche of falling into the epic world / bigger and better than Tolkien style, in favour of a smaller scale, tightly focused alternate world which is full of humour and enjoyable characters, who if not absolutely the most original are certainly in no way stereotypical or over used ciphers.

Take for instance a ‘hero’, Locke Lamora who is not very good in a fight, more of a wimp than most of his companions and who in a nice flashback is shown to get beaten up by girls! This is certainly more of the cerebral rather than sword and sorcery, though there is a touch of both of these elements too, and much excitement along the way as well as a thrilling climax.

I raced through this and am very happy that My Lynch has written two more titles in this series of ‘Gentlemen Bastards’ novels, even if book three is yet to have a title or firm publishing date…

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