If there’s something in you which draws close to the dark and revels in it, I can guarantee Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief will not be a novel you’ll soon forget. It’s hard to say how many times I’ve read it over the years, but I am again now - and the chills that washed over me at every other line the very first time have remained even still, leaving the haunting beauty of each chapter lingering.

I won’t give much of it away, in case anyone should choose to read - but even the sole premise that the book is narrated by death himself I’d imagine would be enough to pull you in for a closer look. It certainly did for me - I remember staring up at the bookcase in my parent’s house as a child, infatuated by the cover image of the girl and death, dancing - waiting for the time my mom would give me the green light to devour it. It’s an image I now have tattooed on me forever.

The setting takes place in Nazi Germany during World War II. As someone who is fascinated by the war, it is eerily gripping to see such well-known horrors unfold from the ‘other side’, from the very heart of their origin - but through the eyes of death and his muse, the evacuated child of a communist, Liesel Meminger. And deeper into the story, her unlikely friendship with a young Jewish man who seeks refuge with her host family is heartwarming - and heart-wrenching.

That is all I will say - I will leave you with only the tip of the iceberg. But this novel’s beauty is unending. It is haunting, it lingers... and still remains the only book to ever have made me cry. I would recommend the film as well. Markus Zusak’s literary imagery has been done such incredible justice. If you want something different, thought-provoking, and truly baring to the bones of humanity... read this book.

ARO VANA'S debut release, 'Origin', was released back in April via Kobalt. Check out the video for the track below.