temporaryworlds (temporaryworlds) wrote,

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#14 I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak

Nineteen-year-old Ed Kennedy’s life has been somewhat disappointing so far. The underage cab driver is unlucky in love, has a mother that cannot stand him, and he lives in a crummy place with a smelly dog named the Doorman. He’s not really sure how he managed to stop that bank robbery, nor does he know how to react when he starts to receive aces in the mail. Each has three tasks listed that he must complete. The task could be something nice, like reading to a sweet old lady. Or it could be something more dangerous, like stopping an alcoholic man from abusing his wife. As Ed works his way through the diamonds, clubs, spades and hearts, he changes someone’s lives with every task, but he also changes himself. As the tasks continue he can’t help but wondering, who could be sending him these cards?

My first Markus Zusak book was The Book Thief, an epic tale narrated by death about a little girl growing up in Nazi Germany. I am the Messenger is a shorter, simpler story, but it still has some similarities to The Book Thief, such as the authors fragmented writing style, the theme of goodness shining through hard times, and the fact that the story is both powerful and unforgettable. I am the Messenger (originally published as “Messenger”) is much more lighthearted than The Book Thief. Ed Kennedy has a great voice that pulls you in from the start. He’ll make you laugh in one chapter and then bring you close to tears in the next. I was happy to see that the secondary characters, such as his friends Audrey, Ritchie, and Marv are equally complex and realistic, making them just as memorable as Ed. Another big plus this book has is its fulfilling ending. Often “twist endings” feel illogical, as if the author was putting in so much effort into the surprise that it doesn’t make much sense in relation to the book. I was happy to see that I am the Messenger does not fall into this trap. When the identity of person sending the cards is revealed, it’s as if everything clicks together in a way that’s both surprising and satisfying

So is I am the Messenger as good as The Book Thief? No, but I don’t think it needs to be. I enjoyed the time that I spent with Ed, and am glad that I decided to pick up this book.

Rating: four and a half stars
Length: 357 pages
Source: gift
TBR Pile: 153 books
Similar Books: To be honest, I've never read anything quite like this book before. Can anyone think of any similar books?
Other books I've read by this author: The Book Thief

Next I'll be posting a review for Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, a mammoth size audiobook that I've been listening to for months!

xposted to bookish  and temporaryworlds 

Tags: ala best books for young adults, fiction, four and a half stars, markus zusak, printz awards, year published: 2002, young adult


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