Extremely highly rated, a magnificent book cover (the one where Death dances with a little girl), a seemingly intruiging tale, and Death as the narrator. Bought this book with very high expectations, albeit lowered upon finding out this is actually falls into the 'young adult' genre, which always puts me in apprehensive mode.
I really struggled to finish this. Around page 400, with 100+ still to go, I was tempted to put it away, but I pushed on. I don't want to end up like last year, putting three books on hold and finishing only a measly handful of books!
Anyway, yeah, struggling. It wasn't that it was bad. In fact it was pretty good for most of the time. It was fairly well written, the characters were fairly interesting, the narrator, although not as awesome as I had expected, gave it all a tweak of originality, the plot should be something that keeps one's interest. But it didn't. It was all nice enough, really, but I just didn't care much.
This book tried very hard to make me sad and it's probably because it tried so hard that it didn't manage very well. The narrator gives you a clue on some characters' endings, but you could easily predict how everything was going to wrap up, even without that. So not only did I not care what would happen, I could see what would happen from a mile (kilometre) off. So after a while I just wanted it to end.
The book felt too childlike at times as well, which, I think further contributed to my lack of connection to the book. I also didn't like how the narrator tried to use colours to haphazardly metaphorise events. It just didn't work. It was little things like that, and the reasons mentioned above that made this book a little underwhelming for me.
I can see why people like this, especially kids and teens (you know, the target audience), but this just wasn't for me. Certainly not bad, though. That is why I'm giving it a 3.
But hey, if this is what teens are reading nowadays, it's a big step up from Twilight. It's good to see a book from the point of view of average Germans during WWII as well. Sometimes people forget that a lot of Germans were also victims under the destructive rule of a megalomanic psychopath. It's not bad for kids to realise this and maybe relate it to some more current events.
EDIT: I did care for the Papa character for a while, even though he was unrealistically nice, until he did something so stupid that I just gave up. In fact I think that's where I really stopped caring for/about this book. Actually, I enjoyed most of the characters up until the non-caring kicked in. Oh well.