The book thief is Liesel, a young German girl who is sent to live with her foster parents during WW2. There are bombings and book burnings, a Jew hidden in a basement, and Jews in a concentration camp. There are also childhood games and stories and accordion music.

The story is narrated by Death. Death has a penchant for ominous flash-forwards, and for printing short fact-filled asides in bold type, and for comparing everything to colours.

As you can see, I found Death an annoying addition to the story (at least as a narrator – I admit that where he actively participated in the story, he was necessary for the story).

The rest of the story was interesting and moving, and often went off in an unexpected direction. There are believable characters, touching scenes, and lots of emotion. But I found the Death angle annoyingly contrived, and Zusak’s handling of the English language pretentious and clumsy.

A more detailed review that says what I would say if I had time.

Amazon UK, Amazon US