Saturday, July 26, 2014

Book Review: I Am the Messenger

Author: Markus Zusak 
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Borzoi Books  
Release date: May 9 2006
Genre: Mystery/suspense
Pages: 360
My rating: 5/5 stars
Stand Alone 

protect the diamonds
survive the clubs
dig deep through the spades
feel the hearts

Ed Kennedy is an underage cabdriver without much of a future. He's pathetic at playing cards, hopelessly in love with his best friend, Audrey, and utterly devoted to his coffee-drinking dog, the Doorman. His life is one of peaceful routine and incompetence until he inadvertently stops a bank robbery.

That's when the first ace arrives in the mail.

That's when Ed becomes the messenger.

Chosen to care, he makes his way through town helping and hurting (when necessary) until only one question remains: Who's behind Ed's mission?

It has to be said, this book has a great first chapter, one that is both exciting and very funny. You enter the story in the middle of a bankrobbery, hence the excitement. The bankrobber however is not that good at being a bankrobber, and Ed, our main character, and his friends are not very good at being bankrobbery victims. They are incapable of shutting up and end up getting almost shot. But in the end Ed is the one with the gun in his hand and saves the day. 

Stopping the bankrobber is the first notable thing Ed has ever done. He describes himself as less than ordinary and I have to agree with him, although it's not a bad thing. In the beginning of the story, Ed is not a hero, not even close. Even his own mother thinks he's worthless. It isn't until he receives a card in the mail and is almost forced to be a hero. This change isn't abrupt but takes place gradually throughout the novel. It is one of the best cases of character development that I have ever seen. 

Ed is also one of my new favorite characters. He is so down to earth and knows exactly who he is and what he's worth. He doesn't pretend to be anything that he isn't. Although he isn't extroadinary in any way he manages to help people by really looking at them and seeing what they need, being extremely selfless when giving them that. Ed is ordinary yet heroic. And if he can be a hero, everyone can. 
I however couldn't bring myself to like Audrey, the girl Ed is hopelessly in love with. Maybe because I was feeling a little protective of Ed and Audrey just wasn't treating him well. Ed even describes it as her killing him slowly. I did however enjoy their friendship and the way they seamlessly knew each other.  
There were also a lot of side characters that you grow to care off in the few pages that Ed interacts with them. Sophie, the Tatupu family and of course the Doorman (although he appears througout the whole novel) were some of my favorites. 

Markus Zusak has a very unique writing style that I just love. It's lyrical but not pretentious at all. He has a great way of describing certain things that makes them so much more powerful. At one point he describes a bright light to be deafening. In a way it doesn't make sense but yet you know what he means and it conveys a feeling more than a observation and that makes it powerful. 
The book is also divided up in a cool way, every chapter is a card. It starts with the ace of diamonds and makes its way through the suits. I know it's just a small thing but it's so creative and it suits the style of the book. 

There were also a few things that I didn't like about this book. Nothing major, but still. After the first chapter and before Ed takes action there was a part where the book couldn't really keep my attention. Luckily this wasn't a problem anymore after that. 

The ending and the resolution seemed to go really quickly compared to the rest of the book. I won't spoil anything but I still don't think I completely understand how and why everything happened. It wasn't bad, it just seemed a little sloppy and I think it could have been done better. But by that point I was so engrossed in the book and the big themes that started to surface that it couldn't ruin my love for this book. 

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