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Princess Enchanted Tales: Follow Your Dreams

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7 ratings

Fantastic!

I couldn’t put it down!

WW2 historical fiction set in Leningrad

Kolya and Lev, a young soldier and an even younger boy are brought together by fate in besieged Leningrad. They have a seemingly simple task: bring twelve eggs to the colonel for his daughter's wedding cake. David Benioff, screenwriter of Game of Thrones masterfully sprinkles humor into a story of hard survival in German-occupied winter Russia.

Please Make it A Movie!!!

I read David Benioff's, "City of Thieves" in two sittings, though I tried to slow myself down in the end to make it last...I couldn't. Oh, how I fell in love with gawky and smart Lev, and charming and witty Kolya. On their intrepid picaresque search through war-torn Russia for a dozen eggs to secure their freedom, we are treated to a story of two wonderful characters that will capture your heart. This novel has everything; it is rich with humor, suspense, history, and characters, (both heroic and villainous) that you will not soon forget. My only complaint is that I wanted more and it was over much too soon. Thank goodness David Benioff is a wonderful screenwriter as well as novelist (if you have not seen "The 25th Hour" do rent it!) so I will happily assume that "City of Thieves" will one day be a motion picture; I can't wait.

Extremely Entertaining

I have read some good fiction lately, but this one is special like "Catcher in the Rye" or "The Curious Incident" or maybe "The Kite Runner". Instead of telling the story, I will make observations as to why I loved it: 1. Many historical fiction novels are written from the perspective of the thinking of the time. Although it is interesting to observe how people think people thought in the past, it can be a little too un-modern and sometimes boring, like reading "Moby Dick" or some other great, but somewhat over the top book. Here, we are set back in time by the grandson who is just like us, telling the story his grandfather tells him, but with language and interpretations that are how we think about things today. Instead of finding this tool to be unrealistic and too Hollywood modern, I found just the opposite. I felt like I really was back in time and I related to the characters like they were my best friends and buddies. I loved this approach to history telling. 2. The primary relationship in the book is between a shy, 17 year old Jewish boy who is intelligent, clever, educated and a great story teller. There is a running dialogue in his head describing his sometimes ridiculous and unimportant thoughts and observations as life threatening things are occurring. His older buddy is a young "man of the world" a college boy who is experienced with women, a writer and philosopher, a handsome and sometimes arrogant guy. He puts his arm around his younger shy friend's shoulder and starts to teach him about wine women and song. It is a touching and fun relationship that works as well as any friendship relationship I've ever read. The observations of the younger as to the older's sometimes graphic and raunchy statements and experiences are absolutely brilliant and spot on. This is how life and relationships really work and the author has been able to convey these experiences in a way that makes us relive similar things in our lives as older kids taught us about what really goes on in the adult world and we're half thinking it's a lie and half believing it, yet shaking our heads. I can't think of a book I've read that does this kind of coming of age relationship as well. 3. Because the story moves fast and is more about relationships and internal observations, you would think that the history of the time is secondary. However, the story gives us a very realistic feeling of how it must have been to be suffering through the invasion of the Germans into Leningrad in the horrible cold of the winter without much good food or shelter or equipment. There is a lot of good information about the cold and calculated way of the Nazis and the underfunded and yet heroic attempts of the Russian people to fend them off. And yet, as important as the historical setting of the book is, the thing that makes it work well is the commentary and thoughts of our two friends and eventually heroes. 4. There are many other great characters in the book from th

I love this book

I just finished the book today and I have to say it's one of the best novels I've read in years. After reading a review in Entertainment Weekly, I decided to give it a try, and I was blown away. I was a fan of the movie "25th Hour," based on Benioff's novel, but had never read any of his books. From the very beginning of this book, it's clear this guy is a gifted screenplay writer. I can easily picture this book adapted into a movie in the near future, and Benioff's name in the credits. The characters are wonderfully engaging and the 1st person narrative is completely believable. Every man was once a teenage boy like the protagonist, and even if we can't relate to his war experiences, we can relate to his fears & frustrations. I don't consider this a war book, but there is more than enough military substance to keep WWII buffs entertained. The best part is that Benioff never talks down to the reader by explaining what a Heinkel is, or an MP-40, etc. His characters are very familiar with these wartime household words and don't need stop the book's flow to elaborate on them. He does the same for Russian authors, Russian culture, and Leningrad itself...half of the references I didn't recognize, but it added to the reality. The book is lightning paced but perfectly balanced in its structure...you don't know where it's going, but where they do go just feels right. He never uses the characters to spew out great lines, or make a dramatic point to enhance the story. He doesn't need too--these characters interlock with one another like a puzzle. It's a proverbial page turner and you keep wondering to yourself, how could things possibly get worse for them? It really reads like a movie screenplay--my heart was literally pounding at the book's climax. Even if you have no interest in WWII or Leningrad, I think most people can appreciate Benioff's storytelling. I'm really looking forward to the film adaptation, if & when it comes out...

A thrilling and deeply moving historical adventure.

This is an enormously entertaining and illuminating novel. In addition to being a cracking good read with engaging characters and an action-packed story, it's also a window into a place and time that not enough Americans know about. Benioff's depiction of WWII era Leningrad is evocative and haunting - I confess I had no real knowledge of the horrors the Russian people endured during this period of history. This book definitely makes me want to find out more on the subject. But, above all, this is simply a great story with a beautifully drawn and unique relationship between the two lead characters, Lev and Kolya. Highly recommended.

Great Russians

One doesn't usually read the great Russians for the jokes. In "Love and Death", Woody Allen parodies a bleak Tolstoy-esque passage, "Wheat. All there is in life is wheat....Wheat with feathers. Cream of wheat." But a close reader like Woody would recognize the dark humor always bubbling beneath the surface of novels like "The Brothers Karamazov", "A Hero of Our Time", "The Nose", despite the stodgy taint that lingers with their shelving in the Classics section. Do you really want to spend hours with a novelist who doesn't see the humor in the human condition? I don't. Which is why I adored Benioff's new book. Don't get me wrong, the novel is about two young intellectuals gripped in the throes of the Germans' siege of Leningrad, trying to survive not only this evil but the sweeping persecutions of the Stalinist purges. Not a time nor a place for rollicking comedy. And Benioff's elegiacal descriptions do terrific justice to the nearly-unimaginable hardships that the denizens of Leningrad suffered through during a period when cannibalism came to seem a valid response to hunger. But along with the Russian broodiness that satisfyingly permeates this novel are a wit and wisdom I seek -- and find in my favorite works, Russian or otherwise.

City of Thieves Mentions in Our Blog

City of Thieves in 23 Years of the Alex Awards
23 Years of the Alex Awards
Published by Ashly Moore Sheldon • December 21, 2020

Have you heard of the Alex Awards? Established in 1998, they celebrate books written for adults that have special appeal for younger readers, aged twelve to eighteen. These intergenerational, or crossover, books can serve as wonderful connection points between parents and teens.

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