Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak

Trigger Warnings: There is a heavy emphasis on death and family grief throughout this book

SynopsisThe breathtaking story of five brothers who bring each other up in a world run by their own rules. As the Dunbar boys love and fight and learn to reckon with the adult world, they discover the moving secret behind their father’s disappearance. At the center of the Dunbar, family is Clay, a boy who will build a bridge—for his family, for his past, for greatness, for his sins, for a miracle. The question is, how far is Clay willing to go? And how much can he overcome?

Review: I had the incredible opportunity to read Bridge of Clay early, and I'm so thankful I could. First off, I really enjoyed how the book focused on Clay's story, but we also get a fair amount of time with the other Dunbar boys. Some of them felt more fleshed out than others, but they were all unique and they all added to the story. It was interesting to see Zusak make characters of the Dunbar pets as well. That's a small detail that I really appreciate. I did find some aspects of the book predictable. I don't know if that's because of the way Zusak wrote the overall story, or if I've just read similar books before. Nevertheless, my heart still hurt for this family as they had to navigate through their grief.

The plot was probably the weakest part of the book. It was still good, but this felt more character driven than anything else. Part of this might be due to the shifting narrative style. Some of the story was told during the present, but sometimes we would go back to the past and experience certain life events. This made some parts of the story disorienting. I will say, The Book Thief had some moments like that as well, but it made sense because the narrator was Death. This narrator was one of Clay's brothers so it seemed weird to suddenly be reading about how his parents met and their lives before children. The story involving Clay's bridge seemed to be neglected while we were moving through the story which is a bit of a shame. Zusak's books are incredibly quick to read, and he always finds ways to make gripping stories. I enjoyed reading this a lot and I can't wait to get my hands on a finished copy.

Great characters, but the plot seemed rather hit-or-miss

4 howls