Pages - Menu


Friday, October 3, 2014

Pin It


Book Review: I Am The Messenger

You recognize the name Markus Zusak, not just because he’s the only Marcus who spells his name with a “k,” but also because he’s the author of the best-selling novel, The Book Thief, which was recently adapted into a terrible movie (but don’t get us started on movie adaptations—ahem, The Giver).

One of the reasons I picked up I Am The Messenger is because I really admired the unique voice that Zusak uses to narrate his more popular novel. And while the narrator of I Am The Messenger isn’t exactly Death himself, the novel still includes a coffee-drinking dog, free beer at church, and a whole lot of playing cards, which is apparently enough to tempt me into reading.

Ed Kennedy is a nineteen-year-old cab driver with no future prospects. He lives alone—well not entirely alone—though his flat mate is a coffee-drinking Rottweiler-German Shepherd called The Doorman. Besides cab driving, Ed’s life consists of playing cards with his other deadbeat friends, enduring the slews of swear words thrown at him by his dear mother, and being hopelessly in love with his best friend, Audrey.

But Ed’s life is about to become a lot less boring, because this is a book and it needs a story. But also because Ed accidentally stops a bank robbery and suddenly becomes a local hero. That’s when he gets the first Ace in the mail. The Ace of Diamonds, to be exact.

Clearly, someone is trying to send Ed a message. Or perhaps more than one message. These cards are no joke, and Ed finds himself in a position where he can't say no to the demands of the Aces. Only, the demands differ greatly from that of a typical mobster. And so Ed goes on a journey piecing together the clues from his mysterious card dealer, becoming involved in the lives of strangers and discovering that he might be more connected to human beings than he ever realized.

At first, Ed isn't sure how why he is the one chosen to carry out these seemingly good deeds. For those of you who have read it, I was worried that the reveal of the card dealer in the end would be a little far-fetched, but it makes sense that it ended the way it did, though I'm still trying to make up my mind how I feel about it. 

It's kind of like Stranger Than Fiction meets a Guy Ritchie film (everybody's a bit of a smart-arse and says "bloody" a lot). And even though it is a young adult novel, sometimes Ed catches on a little too easily for my taste. The situations play out exactly as Ed expects them to, though some of his tasks are harder than others. And because the entire novel is comprised of smaller stories, there's a lot of jumping around and small characters that are tossed around, not really landing anywhere specific. 

It doesn’t surprise me that this was written before The Book Thief, because it doesn’t yet have the same fluidity or the same sense of purpose. But even though there were times where things worked out a little too perfectly for the main character, and even though we were presented with vague solutions to seemingly lifelong problems, there’s still something about Markus Zusak’s writing style that draws readers in. I generally liked this book, and would recommend it to anyone who fears a life of ordinary. 

Title: I Am The Messenger

Author: Markus Zusak

Genre: Young Adult, Fiction

Recommendation: Yes

Best Reader Audience: Young Adults

Final Rating: 3 out of 5 Bumble Bees!

Wants to read more about mysterious playing cards? Check out the book below!

No comments:

Post a Comment