Posts Tagged ‘markus zusak’

Top Ten Series (Weishi)

I’ve seen a lot of tags like this (mainly on youtube) and it looked fun.

Disclaimer: I have not read every series in existence, so this list is literally my favourite series of this exact moment. It is very subject to change in the future. But it’s late and I feel like procrastinating so this is going to happen.

A few ground rules before we go onwards:
1. No Harry Potter, because that’s too easy.
2. I must have read multiple books from the series for it to appear on this list. So stuff like Ender’s Game or The 5th Wave where I can’t be bothered to read the sequels/they haven’t been released yet aren’t going to be here.
3. Only ten can appear – no more; no less.

This is sort of in order, though in reality it varies greatly depending on my feelings on individual books/series not being finished/genres that are hard to compare.

1. Chaos Walking – Patrick Ness
Also known as my favourite dystopian/science-fiction series ever. Possibly my favourite series ever (if you don’t count the serious nostalgic appeal of the HP series) and I can’t thank Yanni enough for shoving it into my hands.

2. Anna – Kendare Blake
Best Paranormal/Horror Romance that I have ever read. Mainly because the humour was perfect and the characters were fun and likeable and believable and Cas Lowood. Seriously, just read it for Cas. You will not be disappointed.

3. Skulduggery Pleasant – Derek Landy
Favourite Middle-Grade series that I ironically read once I was no longer middle-grade. And honestly, I’m thankful that I did, because my gore tolerance is not high and there is some throat-slitting/eye-gouging/body-slicing that goes on. Well, I suppose it is 11+. And yes, I do love PJO, but it’s the darkness and humour and overall characterisation that pushes SP to another level for me (not to mention the seriously brillant planning in the plot. A++).

4. Raven Cycle – Maggie Stiefvater
The writing and the characters and the dialogue and the world and just everything. Most realistic fantasy series that I can think of, and the only one where I am utterly convinced that it should be shelved as contemporary, not paranormal, because it is so believable.

5. Legend – Marie Lu
You will fall in love with the characters, and then Lu will tear your heart out. Repeatedly. And just when the first book can’t get worse, there’s the second. And when you think you’ve finally been through your utmost capacity of pain, Champion piles you in feels. I honestly recommend this book to anyone I know who likes dystopians or action or interesting worlds.

6. Unwind – Neal Shusterman
Which not only has a great use of third-person present that I’ve never seen done so well, but is interesting and full of very relevant questions and also likes to stomp on your heart.
And I haven’t read Unsouled. I’m sorry! I’ve been busy! I will, I promise, just let me get through House of Hades and Allegiant and all those other books that have been staring at me for months.

7. Skinjacker – Neal Shusterman
I wanted to not include the same author twice on this list, but I couldn’t. I wouldn’t know which series to bump down because I absolutely love both. Everlost and all its sequels are just so clever. Shusterman explores every single aspect of his world and asks the right questions to keep you thinking.

8. Percy Jackson – Rick Riordan
This is only referring to the first five books of the original series, and not the spin-offs. While I do like Heroes of Olympus, I haven’t exactly made my mind up yet on particular aspects, whereas I have some serious love for the Olympians arc. Percy and all his humour was what really made the series for me.

9. Underdogs – Markus Zusak
This one is a weird place for me, because the books vary a lot. While all are brilliant (as to be expected from one of my favourite authors), the first and third are weaker than the completely spectacular and heart-breaking middle book. However, I also know that Fighting Ruben Wolfe would not be as strong if it was not bookended by great character development and relationship arcs from the other two books.
In summary, this order idea isn’t really working out but I’m sticking to my choices because we’re nearly finished anyway.

10. Leviathan – Scott Westerfeld
The fact that this had illustrations (and absolutely gorgeous ones) bumped up my entire rating of this series. I love the steampunk setting and the world, and Deryn and Alek are awesome and endearing characters.

Do I have honourable mentions?
Nah, I don’t think so.
A lot of series I could put on here but 1. Haven’t read the second book or 2. the ending sucked. Endings are important, and if a series has a promising start but then goes swiftly downhill, I can’t do it. I can’t include it. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth no matter how good the first few books were. I won’t name any names here, but I’m sure you guys have a few (almost certainly accurate) guesses.

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2013 Wrap-Up

I really didn’t read that much in 2013. Sure, I hit my goodreads reading challenge for the year, but that was mainly due to half of my entries being manga or short stories.

But I read enough books to find some absolutely brilliant stories. It was hard to cut this list down to only five, and I could do the whole “top 13 of 2013”, but I’m not sure if I even have thirteen books that I absolutely loved. So five it is.

1. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath –  As soon as I finished the book, I went back and re-read it; memorised quotes from it; thought about it for days. If that’s not a sign of a good book, I don’t know what is.

2. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater – A realistic, vivid fantasy with gorgeous writing. And yes, I did re-read this one. Twice.

3. Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake – I have never been so emotionally affected by a book. Theseus Cassio Lockwood, why do you do this to me?

4. Fighting Ruben Wolfe by Markus Zusak – It was gritty and beautiful and made me tear up half a dozen times. I should expect nothing less from Markus Zusak.

5. Champion by Marie Lu – The final books in dystopians almost always disappoint. Champion, however, was thrilling, exciting, emotional, and above all, realistic. A brilliant conclusion to a brillant series.

We hope you’ve had an amazing year, read some great books, and we look forward to seeing you in 2014 for even more reading adventures!

The Book Thief (Film Photos) – Markus Zusak

While scouring goodreads, I found these perfect photos of the current movie, which, from my understanding is supposed to be out November 15th. Yes. This year. Please tell me you are just as excited as I am.

I’m not sure what it is about her but I think the actress is just PERFECT. There is just something about her that I can’t put my finger on – she is just Liesel. And these photos – they capture the reeling movie that was going on in my mind perfectly. They are just all so full of life, real life, not just the life of a book.

Well only 3 months, 9 days, 2 hours and 53 minutes till the release date!

I Am the Messenger – Markus Zusak

I Am the Messenger(Also known as just “The Messenger” in… Australia? I think so.)

I hate Markus Zusak. Want to know why?

Because he is so so so so so talented, to the point where it is so annoying with how much talent he has, compared to the rest of us. He can write books and characters and dialogue and description and plot to utter perfection. He already proved that to me once in The Book Thief, and now he’s done it again.

I thought that maybe his other books might not live up to the legend that is The Book Thief, since… well…

Yanni is going to kill me for saying this, but I think it’s probably my favourite book in the entire world.

Anyway. I Am the Messenger does not disappoint. It’s beautiful and thoughtful and funny and everything you would expect from Markus Zusak.

Summary

Ed is a normal 19 year old who feels like he’s getting nowhere in life. After he accidently stops a bank robbery, he starts receiving cards in the mail, and becomes the messenger.

Cons

I don’t know if I have any.

Do I really have anything bad to say about an amazing book?

Oh!

I wanted to find out more about Alice the prostitute. I was interested in her, and then she disappeared :(. I guess that does make it more realistic and so on but I missed her.

Also…

Some people might not like this book. It’s got mentions of rape, sex, a ton of swearing… So yeah, if you’re really young or hate that type of stuff, maybe wait a bit before you read it. To the rest of you, what are you waiting for?

And Finally…

I took me half the book before I realised that the yellow thing on the cover was a taxi cab. Because I’m an idiot.

Pros

So. Many. Pros.

Plot

So simple, yet so awesome. Ed starts receiving cards in the mail. He has to deliver messages. Easy, right? What I loved about this was that it was such a simple premise. But everything, big or small, had such a massive impact on the reader.

Want to know when I cried? Because I admit it, I did cry. Not full on weeping, but getting tears forming in my eyes. When Ed visits Edgar Street and meets Angelina outside. The combination of beautiful writing, anticipation, and the sad and lonely situation, just made me so broken up. I can’t describe to you how beautiful Markus Zusak’s writing can be. How elegant and vivid he can make the scenes, his writing is simple and complex at the same time.

  • I don’t move because my cowardice tramples me, even as I try to lift my spirit from its knees. It only keels over. It sways off to the side and hits the earth with a silent, beaten thud. It looks up at the stars. They’re stars that dribble across the sky.

I want to add the entire scene, the entire book. I won’t, don’t worry. You have to read it for yourself.

The other time I could feel myself getting emotional is the scene with Marv at the end. If you’ve read it, you know which scene I’m taking about. The one that brought a smile to your face as you read it.

And by the end you feel so… I don’t even now how to explain it. The book feels so intense with the amount of emotion it brings through people. Seeing how tiny acts of kindness can bring out so much joy. There’s an overwhelming sense of the best and worst of humanity, all bundled into this book.

Characters

Were all so human. So realistically flawed, but still redeeming in their own way.

You know how a lot of YA novels (like hush, hush) all have those characters, that are supposed to be so perfect and nice and funny and clever, so that you route for them, but most of the time you end up either hating their guts, or getting very, very bored? This is not one of them. Think of Nora from hush, hush. She is supposed to be a beautiful, clever, charming, funny character, as we are told through the book. She is not supposed to have any flaws which, ironically, is what makes her a flawed character. She’s supposed to be so perfect that we start seeing how unrealistic she is. How she is unbelievably stupid, unkind to her friends, a pushover…  She starts to not become perfect at all, but a character that we can never relate to.

Everyone in this book, however, has flaws. But because they have flaws, we can see them as real people. And they’re redeeming qualities shine through, making us love them when we’re supposed to, and hate them when we’re supposed to.

Take Ed Kennedy. He never went to university. He’s breaking the law by being an underage cab driver. He failed at school. He’s terrible with girls. He’s hopelessly in love with his best friend, but doesn’t have the courage to tell her. He has no self confidence. He can come off as weird and rude to other people, curses a lot, and is generally a smart ass (his words, not mine). He sees a woman being raped, but is to much of a coward to save her, and tries to delude himself into thinking that it’ll get better when he knows it won’t.

But we can see all the good qualities about him. We empathise with him. He’s kind, clever, self-sacrificing, loyal, and whenever he does something bad, it tears him up inside. Instead of ignoring his flaws, we can see that his good qualities outweigh his bad ones. He is believable, and we become more attached to him. We understand him, because we can relate to him. And that is what makes him a perfect character. Because he’s not perfect at all.

Sorry. Rant over.

But yes, I loved the characters.

Writing Style

GORGEOUS. BEAUTIFUL. AMAZING.

What else did you expect?

Granted, I did like the writing in the Book Thief more, but it was published 3 years after I Am the Messenger, so Markus Zusak’s writing was developing. But seriously, comparing it to average YA fiction, it is the most gorgeous writing style out of them all.

  • His hands appear to be dripping on the wheel. The tears grip his face. They hold on and slide reluctantly for his throat.

It’s clever and strange and beautiful.

  • When her hands reached out and poured the tea, it was as if she also poured something into me while I sat there sweating in my cab. It was like she held a string and pulled on it just slightly to open me up. She got in, put a piece of herself inside me, and left again.

I’m not going to have any quotes left for the quotes section.

Oh well.

  • Our footsteps run, and I don’t want them to end. I want to run and laugh and feel like this forever. I want to avoid any awkward moment when the realness of reality sticks its fork into our flesh, leaving us standing there, together. I want to stay here, in this moment, and never go to other places, where we don’t know what to say or what to do.

How can you not fall in love with this writing style? It’s impossible.

The End

I’ve heard a lot of people talk about how much they hated the ending. It took me a while to figure out who was sending the cards, but when it was revealed, and I finally understood, I loved it. I know a lot of people felt cheated out of the ending, but I loved it. At first, I didn’t want to know who was sending the cards. I thought it was better that way, but when it was finally revealed, I loved it. It was kind of open ended, and kind of not.

I don’t think whoever was behind this was important. It’s not important why he was sending it, and what his intention was, it’s what Ed found that’s important. Showing how ordinary can use their kindness to make the extraordinary happen. Showing something that is so ugly, yet so beautiful. Showing everyone that they have the potential to be extraordinary.

Really, it doesn’t matter who sent the cards, just that they were sent. And that Ed found them. And he found that he does have meaning.

Quotes

Do I have any left? Of course.

  • We both laugh and run and the moment is so thick around me that i feel like dropping into it to let it carry me.
  • My arms are killing me.
    I didn’t know words could be so heavy.
  • …and the night is so deep and dark that I wonder if the sun will ever come up.
  • “My heart applauds inside my ears, first like a roaring crowd, then slows and slows until it’s a solitary person, clapping with unbridled sarcasm.
    Clap. Clap.
    Clap.
    Well done, Ed.
    Well given up.
  • Crowds of questions stream through me like lines of people exiting a soccer ground or a concert. They push and shove and trip. Some make their way around. Some remain in their seats, waiting for their opportunity.

Overall

Markus Zusak seems to have a talent to show the best and worst of humanity. Show us how we can be so beautiful, yet so destructive all at once. He showed that in The Book Thief, and he shows us again. But through it all, he shows us that something so small, and seemingly insignificant, can amount to something bigger than yourself. That one act of kindness that amount to more than you’d think.

What do you think I’m going to give this? Because you can probably guess. 5 shuriken stars. 

PLEASE READ THIS PLEASE.

 

The Book Thief – Markus Zusak

Oh.

My.

God.

How do I….

Wow.

Just, wow.

I just finished the Book Thief by Markus Zusak which got a crazy amount of praise from critics, and loads of my friends. Every single person i follow on goodreads has given it 5 stars. Every person I know who loves to read either loves the book or is planning to read it.

OH GOD IT WAS SO GOOD.

So. Summary.

The book is narrated by death. It is about 9 year old Liesel living in Nazi Germany during the second world war. And everything that ensues, with her love of books, her awesome best friends, the mayor’s wife, her awesome parents, Max… It was just so… Man. I am so mindblown.

Cons

So….

Um…

Hmmm….

Oh. I don’t like the cover of the copy I have. I prefer the one with the dominoes. And that’s being really picky. I do like this cover a lot, I just prefer the domino one.

Pros

SO. MANY. PROS.

I don’t even know where to begin. Everything in this book is perfect. PERFECT. PERFECT PERFECT PERFECT PERFECT PERFECT.

And it feels so real! I felt like I really was reading a biography of a real girl named Liesel who lived in Nazi Germany. I was so sucked into everything. Every single character had a purpose and were 3D. Actually, they were like 10D. They were so realistic that I could just imagine them all there with me. They were such real people. They seemed so… Human. Even Death, though strange and sarcastic and completely blunt. I loved all of it. Every single character tore my heart up and pulled it back together and then trod on it so hard that I was holding my hand to my mouth with shock.

Characters

At first I loved Hans, and didn’t really like Rosa. I wondered why someone like Hans would marry someone like Rosa, but I understood throughout the book how, though she is strict, she really does love Liesel and is so kind and brave. The point in the book where I thought “JESUS THIS WOMAN IS AWESOME!” is when she went and shouted at Liesel about the hairbrush. And of course Liesel was awesome. Every little action or description of her was so realistic and human and strong. Sure, she makes TONS of mistakes. But she always feels so much regret that you know it’s tearing her up inside. And when it feels like every single person she loves is leaving her you just want to run towards her and hug her like “Liesel! I’m here! I don’t care that you’re fictional and I live in 2012 I’ll save you!!!!” The best part, in my opinion, was when Viktor (is that how it’s spelt?) blows smoke in her face and she doesn’t react. She just stands her ground, being so awesome. You just know she’s thinking “Oh yeah. I’m just gonna stand here and be badass. Go on. Try me.”

And I loved Rudy. But not in a way that the author does it so that you fall in love with him (Like Jace in the Mortal Instruments. I think Cassandra Clare really wanted us to fall in love with him as much as Clary does.), but in a way that he’s so real and childlike but still having to deal with all these deaths and bombings. Every detail he adds about Rudy is so amazing. How he picks up Liesel’s swearing, his Jesse Owen’s moment, the football game when they first meet, how his hair was always the colour of lemons… I loved all of it. I found him so endearing, because he felt so human.

And the narration was so beautiful. The opening lines just show you that the book’s narration is going to be amazing.

  • “First the colours.
    Then the humans.
    That’s usually see things.
    Or at least, how I try.”

I would quote way more, if I could. I would quote the entire book. It was just so amazing. I don’t even want to put it into a category, because it really is it’s own. It’s just so much like a biography it’s unbelievable. I really believe that Markus Zusak is a genius now.

It is seriously the most beautiful writing style I’ve ever read.

  • “Perhaps ten meters to my left, the pale, empty-stomached girl was standing, frost-stricken.
    Her mouth jittered.
    Her cold arms were folded.
    Tears were frozen to the book thief’s face.”

 

And THE END.

THE END.

It killed me. Oh man, it killed me, then resurrected me, and then killed me again. Because it was that cruel.

The last meeting with the book thief had me feeling so much, I was just… TOO MANY EMOTIONS. Just seeing every single character that you care about, and fell in love with go through so much is so hard. And even all the minor characters, all the ones you should hate, you still love them. Frau Holtzapfel. I should have hated her. But I loved her character as well, even though she wasn’t a nice person.

And, (this is the least spoiler-y way I can put it), there’s this thing about Rudy that Death tells you will happen, because mystery bores him. And Markus Zusak teases you every time. Every time something happens you’re sure that Rudy is going to meet this future, and you start biting your nails, but it never happens. And then when it does… It’s the most heartbreaking thing I’ve read. It is way worse than “that death” in the knife of never letting go (if you’ve read it, you’ll know what I mean. And, yeah, I’m being serious. It’s worse. You’ll think I’m kidding but I’m not. I’m really not.) What happens to Rudy is so sad because it feels like it really did happen. In the Chaos Walking series, they are amazing books, but you can totally tell they are fiction when you’re reading them. And Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Gone, Leviathan… But this. Man, it hits you hard in the chest. It really does. It stomps all over your little heart and tap dances all over it until you’re dead for the third time.

Quotes 

THIS IS WORSE THAN WHEN I TRIED TO FIND QUOTES FOR THE FAULT IN OUR STARS. THERE ARE TOO MANY. HOW DO I… I CAN’T… HELP ME. AND I HAVE TO LEAVE ALL OF THE SPOILER-Y ONES OUT. LIFE IS SO HARD.

  • “I wanted to tell the book thief many things, about beauty and brutality. But what could I tell her about those things that she didn’t already know? I wanted to explain that I am constantly overestimating and underestimating the human race-that rarely do I ever simply estimate it. I wanted to ask her how the same thing could be so ugly and so glorious, and its words and stories so damning and brilliant.”
  • “A small but noteworthy note. I’ve seen so many young men over the years who think they’re running at other young men. They are not. They are running at me.”
  • “It kills me sometimes, how people die.”
  • “Somewhere, far down, there was an itch in his heart, but he made it a point not to scratch it. He was afraid of what might come leaking out.”
  • “A final moment of eclipse – the recognition of another soul gone.
    You see, to me, for just a moment, despite all of the colours that touch and grapple with what I see in this world, I will often catch an eclipse when a human dies.
    I’ve seen millions of them.
    I’ve seen more eclipses than I care to remember.”
  • “Please, trust me, I most definitely can be cheerful. I can be amiable. Agreeable. Affable. And that’s only the A’s. Just don’t ask me to be nice. Nice has nothing to do with me.”
  • “I am haunted by humans.”

Overall

Guys. Guys. Guess what rating I’m gonna give this. Go on, guess. That’s right. 5 shuriken stars. That’s right. 5 freaking ninja stars for an amazing book. Do I recommend you to read this? Hell yeah! I recommend anyone that can read words to read this. I loved it. It’s definitely going to become a classic, I hope. Markus Zusak is brilliant. The book is brilliant. And everyone, everything, and every part is brilliant. Brutal, honest, and sad but worse because you know that somewhere, in Germany during World War II, someone will have lived through at least one part of this book. Many people, in fact. Thousands upon thousands of people.