REVIEW: Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak

First of all, I want to say that I don’t usually post a “review” of a book that I did not finish but I have seen so many people (who were sent copies for review) rating this 4 stars and saying things like, "Oh, maybe it’s lower but it’s Markus Zusak,” and basically doing that thing I hate: they receive an ARC and feel guilty about being negative so rate it higher and try and excuse it by saying, “I rated it high because I think others will love it and I don’t want to affect the rating.” It's a well-loved author, and because they wanted to love it, and because they loved other books by said author, they think they deserve a high rating even if the book is not very good at all.

The Book Thief showed us that Markus Zusak is a great writer. But Bridge of Clay? It tells a different story. It doesn't make any sense at all.

Bridge of Clay was my most highly anticipated release of 2018 (US: October 9. UK: October 11). I was lucky enough to receive an ARC for review but unfortunately, after trudging through 47% of the book, I just couldn’t put myself through it anymore. I was bored.

The book has no plot, it’s told in the most confusing way, with mix-matched timelines, and it just doesn’t make any sense.

For a book that has taken ten years to make, it doesn’t show much. It wasn’t even pleasantly written and had I not known the author's name I would never ever dared guess it was by the same person who wrote The Book Thief.

Now, I wasn’t expecting something similar by any means; we all knew what a feat it would be to write something to follow up that masterpiece, but I feel like Zusak just... Didn’t even try? Or maybe tried too hard? This book is trying to be different, but it doesn’t work.

I kept pushing through hoping something would happen but it never did. The thing is, it’s not even very well character driven. The most interesting aspect of the story comes in tiny snippets when Matthew, our narrator, talks about his mum Penny, and her life, but we get so little of that and the rest of the characters are bland and completely uninteresting.

I don’t know. Maybe I just don’t 'get it'. Maybe it’s too high-brow, literary or intellectual for me. But one of the things I’m seeing all too often is “If you loved THE BOOK THIEF” or “FOR FANS OF THE BOOK THIEF."

No. If you loved Zusak’s most well-known piece, this is nothing like it. It’s a shame, as this had the potential to be great, but unfortunately a lot of people are going to go out and spend their money on this hoping for beautiful prose and a gorgeous story to be left feeling cheated.

Did Zusak actually write this? Did some intern at a publishing house who has no novel-writing skills think it would be hilarious to put their own work in and pass it off as his? I would believe it.

Overall, this was such a disappointment and I would highly suggest rethinking your purchase of this title.

Written by Emma F.

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