Hey Blogger Buds,I recently read I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak. You may or may not know be aware I have a major author-crush on this man. So: review!
Blurby (via Goodreads):
Meet Ed Kennedy—underage cabdriver, pathetic cardplayer, and useless at romance. He lives in a shack with his coffee-addicted dog, the Doorman, and he’s hopelessly in love with his best friend, Audrey. His life is one of peaceful routine and incompetence, until he inadvertently stops a bank robbery. That’s when the first Ace arrives. 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?
Winner of the 2003 Children’s Book Council Book of the Year Award in Australia, I Am the Messenger is a cryptic journey filled with laughter, fists, and love.
tl;dr version: I am in love with this man, and this book. Shall I compare thee to it? Shall I compare it to a midsummer's day? (Shall I shut up?)
Full version: Markus Zusak is a master. He has an incredibly distinguished writing style. He focuses on one literary device, and it turns his art into a masterpiece. Everything he writes is absolutely gorgeous. Major author-crush. (On another note: Why do Australians write such good books? And why did I start saying things like "no worries" when I finished reading this?)
You learn all you need to know about the characters in the first chapter. I love this first chapter. I think it beats Linger's prologue (which I pretty much had memorized at one point, mind you.) So much is happening, but it's like when a movie goes all slo-mo on you, and you see every little detail. And in the first two chapters, in 21 pages, you learn everything there is to know about our awesome supporting characters and our star of the show: 19-year-old, underage cab driver Ed Kennedy. All of the characters are incredibly distinct and memorable, and I loved learning more about them throughout the novel, especially in the last quarter.
My only critique is that Ritchie bothered me incredibly through most of the book. I didn't really like him very much until, and this is me trying to be spoiler-free, we really focus on him for a while.
Obviously this is the biggie. I loved the whole plot line, from the nearly-nightly games of Annoyance (spoiler alter: it's not a real game) to the entire concept of the messages. Each suit was so distinctive and memorable in it's own way.
We start with the diamonds. Ed needs to protect them. Because diamonds are precious. As were these. And, like diamonds, this section shone. (Eh? See what I did there?) It will be a while before I forget what happened here. Next is the clubs. They're not wooden, but Ed still might need to survive a beating. But there's another challenge first. The diamonds were clean-cut (man, my jokes sparkle today) but Ed has to go hunting for the names this time. And then track down the clubs. And he succeeds. Wonderfully. After digging through the spades (without a spade, if you're curious) (they're intense, lemme tell you), Ed has the hearts. And these hit closer to home than before. But man, oh man, they're so good. Strike him right in the chest.
I really loved the set-up of the cards. Each suit was significant in some way, and we didn't end with the Ace of Spades, which I was very happy about.
And then. There's a plot twist.
1) I loveloveLOVE the formatting. The book is in several parts, with thirteen chapters in each part. But the chapters aren't numbered normally. There's A-Spades, 2-Spades, 3-Spades, etc. through J-Spades, Q-Spades and K-Spades. And there's A-Clubs, 2-Clubs, and so on.
2)My only problem with the book is toward the ending. There's a major plot-twist that was kind of meh. And we find out more about the death of Ed's father. And when Ed learns all this, he just stands there. Like he didn't even hear it.
3) One feeling I have about this book can be summed up by Douglas Hofstadter: "I'm So Meta Even This Acronym." But is it?
Rating: 8* Incredible. Read it. Now.
Song: I Wanna Be Free by Panic! at the Disco (It took me a while to think of a song, then this came to mind and it, I dunno, clicked.)
Memorable Quote: (Everyone already knows this one, but whatever.)
Sometimes people are beautiful.
Not in looks.
Not in what they say.
Just in what they are.(6 of Spades--pg 224 in my copy)
What's your favorite card game?
(I don't really have a favorite, though I'm alright at poker. And I absolutely hate War.)
(*See what I did there?)