Monday, 21 May 2012

Review: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein



  
  Title: Code Name Verity
  Author: Elizabeth Wein
  Publisher: Disney - Hyperion
  Publication Date: May 15th 2012
  Source: NetGalley
  My rating: 4 stars

  






Gosh I have no idea where to start this book; I’m not typically an historical fiction fan, and the only books I’ve read which are “war related” were the ones I was forced to read for my war module for my A2 English lit course and The Book Thief by Markus Zusak which had me endlessly sobbing. So I didn’t really know what to expect going into this book. 

Code Name Verity was really tough to get into, I would read a few pages, stop, read another few pages, get distracted by another book then try to get back into it. Some of the reasons I found it so tough was because I’ve just been devouring contemporary romances lately, so jumping straight into this which opened by focusing heavily on aircraft; the different types and the training required was hugely difficult. Also I was confused as soon as I started, as I had no idea who the narrator was, what was going on (the story would flit back and forth between time spans, what she did during the war effort and what was happening to her when she was captured). And we didn’t even know her name until much later on! 

I don’t want to say too much as it would probably give the whole plot away, but the gist of the story was that Verity was captured by the Gestapo, we don’t know how, we don’t really know where she is, or if anyone is on their way to rescue her, but the conditions are horrible. She’s given some paper and a pen to give every amount of detail as possible and if she doesn’t then there will be consequences.  Her friend Maddie who she was travelling with before she was captured has died; they’ve shown her the pictures so she doesn’t have much to live for but to tell the truth. Living with the guilt of Maddie's death and the torture she’s been put through, we are led through her memories leading up to her being captured, some are dire and heartfelt, but Verity brings so much more to the story. Despite the circumstances she finds herself in she is such a funny character some of her descriptions and writing had me laughing out loud, it definitely helped to lighten up the sombre consequences she found herself in.

It did take me until about 4o% that I properly understood what was going on and by that time I had formed such a close relationship with Verity; she’d been through so much but still put on a face of bravado and attempted to bat away her captors with her endless strength, intelligence and funny humour. I had thought that I knew how this story would turn out but I couldn’t have been more wrong. The unexpected twists and turns were like a punch to the gut and the events leading up to the climatic end I could never have been prepared for. I just wish things could have ended up differently.

The other characters; Maddie, Jamie, Rosalie and even Paul with his gropey hands brought so much to the story, that it was impossible not to fall so hard and fast for them.

I went into Code Name Verity with to be honest not much expectations, but Wein managed to deliver something which was achy, breathtaking and hauntingly bittersweet. I know it will remain a book which I won’t be able to forget.

17 comments:

  1. I struggled just a bit at the beginning too, but I was really rewarded for my patience later on. I agree with you about Verity, she is such a wonderful narrator and the plot twists totally surprised me too.
    Lovely review, Jasprit!

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    1. Thanks Maja, it was your review that made me want to check out the book in the first place! So thanks for bringing it to my attention! :)

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  2. I grabbed a copy of this to review, not sure when I will get to it. I love historical books and world war II. I know this will be a tough read but I am always interested in this time period. I am glad you stuck with it and it ended up being a good read for you, Jasprit.

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    1. Oh I hope you get the chance to get to it soon, I think it is the type of book that you will enjoy! :)

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  3. I keep reading wonderful reviews for this but honestly, Jasprit, one didn't make me want to read it as much as yours just did. Maybe it's the way you set up the plot--I think that might be it--or maybe it's because you actually talked about how it is a bit hard to get into. I felt that way about Book Thief. But once I got through that one, it was all worth it. Jo sent me a copy of this a while back so I better get reading. I haven't been feeling very YA-ish lately and I think this would be a good more serious pick to bridge the gap.

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    1. Aww thanks Flann that means a lot especially coming from an amazing reviewer as yourself. I'll look out foy your updates once you decide to pick it up, I found it hard moving from a YA contemp to this but once you get over the initial rocky starting I couldn't put it down! Hope you enjoy it too! :)

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  4. Lovely review Jasprit. :) I still can't read these types of books, though. Glad you finally got one you could rate higher than a 2!

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    1. Oh really? It wasn't too bad, they didn't really go into detail with about the torture etc, but just some of the things that happened I didn't want to? Yes I'm glad I've got out of my funk too! I've got some great reads coming up, so can't wait to get stuck in! :)

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  5. A lot of people have definitely mentioned that they found this one hard to get into and I know some people marked it as DNF. I'm glad to hear that persevering pays off! I'm picky with historical fiction but I do love war-related ones. I got this from Netgalley (it feels like EVERYONE downloaded it!) so I'll try my best to check it out myself soon. :)

    Awesome review, Jasprit!

    P.S Just the mention of The Book Thief makes me tear up and I read that like three years ago!

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  6. Aww. That's too bad, Jas. I was looking forward to this book. But I can't invest time on a book that doesn't grab me right away. Oh well, I guess I'll have to postpone reading this for a while.

    Great review! :)

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  7. Gorgeous review Jasprit, this book sounds unbelievable even with the slightly disorienting beginning. I love books I enter into not knowing what to expect that end up just blowing me away. Those are the kind that stay with me for the longest time and the ones that I put on the special shelf:) Thanks for the heads up on the slow start, now it won't bother me as much because I know it will all be worth it at the end:)

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  8. Ive heard so much about this one!! sounds great!
    I'm a ne wgfc follower, btw. :)

    notjustnonsense.blogspot.com

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  9. OH MY GOSH. I can come up with an entire list of reasons why I didn't request this book like I could have -- 1) because I'm not a big historical girl either, and 2) because this sounds so unlike my usual reads. But WOW, it sounds like such an amazing book! Even with the slow beginning, I love books that stick with me and have such strong messages like this one did for you, so I don't think I'll mind at all! (Like The Hunger Games in a way!)

    Amazing review, J! I'm a WWII junkie -- I'll have to re-evaluate this book to a must-read! ;) <3

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  10. Lovely review, Jas! This is definitely a book that I will never forget and I could even see myself re-reading it too!

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  11. Greta review Jasprit! I read this until 70% and DNFed it I really liked the narrator but the piloting and war details made me too disconnected from the story. I agree that if you can get into it it would be a really great story it's definitely well written and filled with emotions.

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  12. Such a breathtaking and beautifully written review, Jasprit! I can't imagine how hard it must be for you to write the review, because this book sounds so lovely and sad in the same time. I try to avoid books about war because they always make my stomach tightened and my eyes teary. I'm just so thankful that I don't need to experience the hard world of war. :')

    Glad you enjoyed this book! I might pick this book someday if I need something good to make me cry. :)

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  13. OH! I read about this book all around the blogosphere and now I know I won't read it in the near future. These kind of books need the right mood. I'll keep it in mind! ;) Great review! ;)

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