Life of Pi, I read it when it was just released, so long before the book became actually famous due to the movie- which, by the way, is a rare case of a great movie from a great book.
From the first pages I thought: "Wow, it seems like another writer", but not in a negative way, I liked the fact that a writer can write with such different styles but can still keep you reading and loving the book.
The common factor is, of course, the presence of animals as strong characters in the book(s). In this case they are a monkey and a donkey, two animals that you would probabily never see together in nature but that here seem somehow a good match. The first half of the book is magic, it is a story in a story, the story of a writer which helps another writer, a book in a book, but I would not spoil much the plot here 'cause the book is quite small.
What I have to spoil though is that in the last 40-50 pages the story changes so much, that all the sweetness and the trust you had in human, and animal relationship is lost like a slap on your face!
For what I understood the book is suppose to be a metaphor of the Holocaust and I guess the idea was to bring the reader to find the truth with violence, like during the war, where people were brought on a train for "freedom" and then they had to realize on their skin which kind of freedom was awaiting them.
I just thought the book was very pretentious, and a bit disappointing, but I like and want to believe that was the actual aim of the writer.