I appear to be in the minority in this considering that this book has over a 4 star rating on both Amazon and Goodreads, but I really didn't like this one very much. The first chapter is great and immediately caught my interest and attention, but as the novel progresses, I found myself caring less and less.
After Ed inadvertently helps stop a bank robbery, he begins to receive messages, written on playing cards. It takes him forever to actually being exploring the first card, which has three addresses written on it, but once he investigates the addresses he realizes that they are tasks for him to do. Some are easier done than others, but they involve helping the people on the cards with something big or small - one address leads to an old lonely woman whom Ed simply decides to spend time with while another leads to a woman and daughter terrorized by an abusive alcoholic husband and father.
The concept seems interesting enough - somehow given his previous good deed, Ed has been chosen to continue to act on behalf of his community. Ed is a self described loser, 19 years old, mediocre at sex, slacker, cab driver that lives with his ancient dog, the Doorman. He hangs out with his three friends, one of whom he is in love with. The thing is that after those first few chapters, Ed didn't quite do it for me as a character - he was so indecisive. I realize that was the point. Also, I was waiting on the big reveal but when it finally came it just seemed like such a cheap copout and pissed me off more than anything else. Seriously, that was the big ending? What the hell?
There was one other thing that bugged me so much about the novel and it has to do with Ed and his "dream girl." For the most part, they are friends, she knows he is in love with him, he knows she isn't ready for commitment due to her past, and as a result, chooses meaningless relationships and sex with guys that she won't get attached to. However, there is just enough of Ed acting like a "Nice Guy" to annoy me. For example, I can't remember how many times he sees his best friend, and says that she smelled of sex. If you're not going to make a move, stop pointing out that she's having sex with other guys. I don't like that phrase much to begin with (unless it's in a '90s song from Marcy's Playground), but for a guy to constantly be talking about how the girl he wants to be sleeping with smells of sex with other guys, is creepy and irritating. Anyone else agree with me on that one? That may be even one of the main reasons I didn't warm up to Ed - yes, he's a nice guy, but he's also a "Nice Guy."
Anyway, The Book Thief is amazing and magical, and while this one certainly had a lot of things that could have worked, overall it didn't click for me, and the ending really just ruined it.