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on 12 December 2008
I,like others it seems only bought this book as I loved 'the book thief' so much. I wasn't dissapointed! This book is nothing at all like 'the book thief' but it has a few things it common with it,in that it is a wonderfully written, page turning,original and thought provoking book by an excellent Author.

Ed is a wonderful character - a nice guy with an average life. When he starts receiving cards with strange messages on, his life starts on a roller coaster journey which changes Ed forever. I loved this book. I recommend it to anyone who loves books which are a bit different, quirky and heart warming at the same time.

My only criticism is that I read it too quickly and now I need to find another equally page turning book to read. Now my search begins
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on 15 August 2010
I came to this book having read The Book Thief over a year before (it became one of my favourite books of all time). If this sounds familiar, try to allow some leniency and understanding in knowing that 'I Am the Messenger' precedes Book Thief; it is probably hard for most people, including myself not to compare the two. Having said that, I'll try to review 'I Am the Messenger' on its own merits, without drawing too many comparisons.

So, overall this was a very well written, fun and sincere book. You definitely see Zusak's intelligence and storytelling ability through this book.

Ed is a flawed, yet highly likeable guy. He has a genuine (raw) beauty that you don't see in many characters in today's books and I loved that I actually felt the emotions he went through - the tense situations, empathy for people in horrible situations and the beauty of helping his friends.

After a while you start to go what he's going through - days lost to nothing consequential, the feeling that your life isn't going anywhere fast. In a way, his friends are his saving grace and you come to love them and respect them, even with their flaws, in the way that Ed does.

This is a very Australian book; at times it almost feels more like a movie script than a book. Some of the references, particularly closer to the start of the book are very Occa, and not everyone from overseas will understand the references and humour.

While this book is aimed at young adults, I think adults will appreciate it as well (if not more) and some of the themes are definitely for older youths anyway.

(SPOILERS WARNING) I note that some people are disappointed by the ending. I am somewhat, it kind of feels a bit like an easy cop-out on Zusak's behalf but then I also see beauty in it... I think really he's just trying to say that we can write our own story and improve on it if we just try... After all, if a somewhat downtrodden guy like Ed can do, anyone can.

Anyway, in conclusion, this book isn't another Book Theif but it is fun to read, amusing and I got some interesting ideas to think about by reading it.
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on 21 September 2007
I must admit that the only reason I read this book, or considered reading it in the first place was because I had read the "The Book Thief" also by Marcus Zusak and found it a truly outstanding read. This is what brought me to read this book but I am glad to have read it. I found this book to be everything you want from a book when you decide to read it, riveting, thought provoking, heart warming moments but also the dark moments (which the author seems to write very well in all his books) which make a book more intersting.

I do not want to go into the details of the book, people can learn them if they decide to read the book themlseves but suffice to say the book moves at a good pace and always has twists and turns (and the occasional belly shaking laugh) which makes it very difficult to put down. The main characters, and even the less important characters, are well introduced and given clear and unique personalities and as in one of the previous reviews I have to agree that the character of Doorman the dog is a fantastic peice of writing by the author. However unlike the previous reviews I would disagree with the fact that this book has anything at all to do with the Da Vinci code or the National Treasure film nor would I agree with the comparison of this book to "My Name is Earl" yes there are some elements of karma in this book, but no more so than any other book, this book is nothing like that show, this book attempts too, and suceeds, in putting acroos a message, a message which I will leave readers to discover themselves.

This book is a truly great read and I would not hesitate in recomending it to anyone
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on 20 May 2008
Like the other reviewers, I read this book because I enjoyed The Book Thief so much. I Am The Messenger is a very different book, but, I think, equally as brilliant. It's very readable, (I couldn't put it down and carried it around with my all day) and the characters are flawed but I loved them all. The book is very uplifting but never wallows in sentimentality or emetic sweetness. If you like things that are quirky, and a little different, then give this book a try. I don't think you'll be disappointed.
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on 31 December 2008
After reading "The Book Thief" (you can view my review there aswell) I was compelled to read his other book in hope it would stand up to the Thief's high standard. And it certainly did.

Ed is a poor man with card playing friends and comical dog who has a pretty much boring life. Then this is all changed when he recieves a playing card in the post with addresses on. He visits these addresses and then gives a "Message" to certain people causing an amazing change for the better in others lives. Confused at why he is doing this, who is making him and at the horrors that just live in the neighburhood, Ed unravells the town's secrets and the playing cards' secrets revealing one true thing. He's not giving messages but the message himself. What message he is I leave for you to find out.

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on 16 May 2007
Any fans of the TV show 'My Name is Earl' are going to love this book - Karma gone wrong would not be too far from the mark.

The Messenger is Ed,[...]with an old soul and little of value in his life beyond a couple of friends and his dog. (The character of Ed's dog is illustrated with incredible humour and is one of the best developed none-talking roles in literature).

As in The Book Thief, Zusak displays his dark humour and blinding ability to get to the core of the reader, whilst occasionally this can be disquieting I actually found it mostly comforting.

Throughout this 'done before, but not quite like this' novel, Ed meets interesting characters, some loveable, some loathsome but all of whom you end up feeling a slight twinge of sympathy for and perhaps even find the ability to empathise with. Ed has to assist each character with something that is preventing them from living life to the full and as you would expect this gradually gives his life a purpose too.

Whilst this is hardly a heart warming tale (it thankfully has no pretensions of being a `self help novel') it will make you think about what you have done in the past and how you will do things in the future. Comes highly recommended for the enlightened and not so enlightened reader alike.
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on 11 September 2008
Having read and delighted in The Book Thief, I thought that I would give I am the Messenger a go. I was in Oz at the time and so the setting was perfect. It truly is a read in one sitting book. It may have been written for young adults but is a book that all can take from.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 6 February 2015
This would have been an easy 5 stars if it wasn't for that last page or two - you know when the whole book rotates around the solution to a mystery and you can't wait to find out what's been going on? well this was like Lost for me (the TV show) - the ending just disappointed, felt like a copout.

But this didn't mean that I felt differently about everything that had gone before - I loved it! And you may enjoy the ending. I had just hoped for more.

Zusak is famous for The Book Thief, on the strength of which I borrowed this from the library, keen to try other books by him. This is more clearly a Young Adult piece, with a very different tone, setting and message.

In an instantly-arresting opening, Ed manages to thwart a bank robbery and finds himself threatened by the prison-set robber. Ed is a young man we soon see with little ambition, direction or occupation, a taxi driver in love with his best friend who plays cards and hangs out with his friends and watches his life go by. That starts to change when an envelope containing a playing card arrives at his house. Containing a list of addresses... Ed quickly finds himself trying to work out what the card-sender wants him to do, and why... And finds his life altering.

Ed is a 'loveable loser' kind of guy, with shades of Amelie as he digs deeper into the world of the playing cards. His dog, Doorman, is adorbale and integral to the humour and heart of the story, his friends all well-developed and each adding to the plot.

I loved the directions the story took, just my kind of whimsical, do-gooding, changing-lives story that I found full of warmth, smiles and also a mystery.

It would make a good film too, but for me, a tweak of the ending would be beneficial.

Try this if you like Amelie, Harvey, Being There, Forrest Gump; any story where one character brings about change in the lives of others.
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VINE VOICEon 30 June 2010
I came across this book having already read and fallen in love with another book written by Markus Zusak - The Book Thief. I love the way Zusak writes and was looking forward to getting into `I am the Messenger`, especially when a quote on the back of the book from Publishers Weekly says "Don't start this compulsively readable book without enough time to read it straight through to the final page.". (I have a different cover to the one featured here).

`I am the Messenger' is about Ed Kennedy, an underage cabdriver who doesn't have much of a future. His mother doesn't think much of him and he spends time playing cards, being in love with his best friend, Audrey, and hanging with his smelly, coffee-addicted dog, `the Doorman'. This peaceful routine without much of an impression on the world is all he has, that is until he inadvertently stops a bank robbery. Shortly after, Ed gets a card in the mail, not a greetings card, a playing card - the Ace of Diamonds to be exact. This is when Ed becomes the messenger.

Ed has been given a mission and it seems to be one he can't turn down. With clues from the cards, Ed does what he has to. However, one thing is bugging him... Who's behind it all?

I loved reading this book. I love Zusak's style of writing and the way he tells a story. The book is narrated by Ed himself. He introduces us to his friends and to the people he meets in a way that you feel you might know them. Even The Doorman (the dog) has it's own unique personality!

This is one of those books that is thought-provoking, funny, heart-warming and dark, and it's one that you won't want to put down. I read it in 3 sittings and it was quite late at night when I finished it because I just had to find out the ending. When I had finished reading `I am the Messenger', I'd gotten the message (this might sound a bit cryptic if you've not read the book, but a recent sad event in my life also gave me a similar message) and so I'm going to get on with it. Honestly, how many books can you say have really left an impression on you?

As I've mentioned before, I love the way Zusak writes his books and this book is no different. The book is split into parts and each part represents a playing card (always an Ace), and each chapter is numbered using the rest of the deck of cards as well as given a title which gives you a hint about that chapter. I love it when things like that are done imaginatively.

This book is actually aimed at teenagers, but don't let that stop you from reading it if you're an adult. It's been a decade since I was a teenager and I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and highly recommend it to anyone from a teenager to those with kids and beyond.

I also recommend Markus Zusak as an author. If you've not read `The Book Thief' then that's definitely another book of his that I'd recommend.
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on 19 July 2009
Lovely little tale centering on a group of friends who seem to be losers but in fact are just trying their best with the hands they've been dealt and how change comes about through a mystery person directing their lives through the central character. The author shows great imagination and a well thought out plot. What I like about Marcus Zusak is his characters are treated with warmth and humanity, both in this book and The Book Thief.
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