The Book Thief by Markus Zusack

Book Review | Long Form | Rating – 5/5| Genre – Historical Fiction

After writing the first long-form book review a month ago (see that one here), I wanted to try and give it another shot. Similar to last time, I wanted to use these moments to talk about books that I consider to be my favourites.

So, for this book review I want to talk about… ‘The Book Thief‘ by Markus Zusak.

Obligitory spoiler warning there will be a section for spoilers, but I’ll be sure to openly call them out so you can scroll right past them.

1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier.

Liesel, a nine-year-old girl, is living with a foster family on Himmel Street. Her parents have been taken away to a concentration camp. Liesel steals books. This is her story and the story of the inhabitants of her street when the bombs begin to fall.

Death will visit the Book Thief three time.

I’ve had this book for many years and I’ve read it multiple times and loved it. I’ll pick it up and read it maybe twice in a year, despite how dark the book can get and how utterly depressing the story can become, its still weirdly enjoyable to read.

If I’m remembering correctly, I wanted this book because I always enjoy the idea of Death narrating. Maybe its because I’ve always had a slightly macabre appreciation for the gothic voice, or just because it gives a different perspective for a story.

And now, here are my top 3 moments…


  • Death as the narrator
    • One of my favourite concepts in a book is having Death as a narrator. It works especially well in this book, and is one of the main reasons that I really enjoy it. As a more historical fiction based book, I’m normally not drawn into reading them. However, Death as the narrator brings a new perspective to a time when Death literally would’ve been busy.
  • Rosa Hubbermann
    • Rosa is a force to be reckoned with, sharp-tounged and unafraid to say what she thinks. She comes across rather cold and angry towards Liesel and everyone on the street. It stay pretty consistent throughout, only breaking in order to keep her ‘new’ family protected. It is these moments that make her so wonderful, which makes the ending all the more heartbreaking.
  • The ending
    • This book, is one of those rare moments where, every time I read the end I just start to cry. Whether, it is just a small tear, to full on sobbing (always depending on how emotional I’m feeling at the time). Its just so apt and real for what would’ve happened during the war. If you are one to stay clear of super sad endings, this is definitely won’t be great for you.


About the author…

Markus Zusak is an Australian born author of 5 books; The Book Thief, Fighting the Ruben Wolfe, When Dogs Cry (Getting the Girl) & The Messenger (I Am Messenger). All of which have gone to earn a lot of awards between them.

The Book Thief is possibly his most successful, having spent over a decade on the New York Times bestseller list. With this being my first foray into Zusak’s work, I can definitely say that he is a writer I will be looking to explore more of in the future.


I realise that the last review I wrote (here), I mentioned that I wasn’t a massive fan of historical fiction. Well, this also happened to be one! However, as I’ve said above, this novel give the genre a different feel. Having Death as the narrator really changes the story for me and makes it so much more engaging and interesting to read.

In ending, I would just recommend this as one to add to your ‘to read next list’.


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