Code Name Verity

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Code Name Verity
Elizabeth E. Wein, 2012

New Release! Free copy of this book provided for review by Netgalley.

Premise: Two young women became friends in England during the early days of World War Two. How they met, who they are, and why one of them is writing the story of her life from a Gestapo prison in France, are all things you'll have to read the book to find out.

Wow. Just wow. All the reviews of this book are going to talk about how difficult it is to review, but there's really no way around it. This is definitely a book which you want to read knowing very little about it, so I will do my best to focus on my response to the novel, and not mention any details revealed beyond the first chapter or two.

From the first page, this is a compelling story, pouring from the pen of a young woman imprisoned in France. “I AM A COWARD” are the first words on the first page. Is she? She writes her memories down to bargain with her jailers for a blanket, for a little more life, and perhaps just to establish her own story. You'll have to be the judge of her character.

The story she tells includes details about the British War Effort to placate her readers, but it's really the story of Maddie and Queenie. One a middle-class Brit with a penchant for mechanical things and a love of the sky, one an upper-class Scot who speaks several languages and has an electric imagination.

This is the saga of their friendship. It is not always a happy story.

I devoured this book in one sitting. I barely looked up until the last page. It felt as though I hardly breathed during the last third. I kept thinking I had reached the end, and then the narrative threw another curve ball at me. I swore at this book, out loud, in both anger and awe. I re-read phrases, burning them into my brain. When I reached the end, I took half a day to process it and then began reading from the beginning again.

Is it perfect? No – there are a few points where I have a slight suspension of disbelief problem, but they are very few and I forgive them all for letting this story unfold.

Bonus for me and others like me: this book is full of literary and historical allusions, facts and trivia. Most of the literary ones I knew, and they deepened my enjoyment of the story, and even the historical tidbits I didn't know I had no trouble following. (One particular reference I looked up later, and damn if I didn't tear up all over again.)

Reading this was full of the joy of discovery. I was completely enraptured by the characters, by the style, and by the story.

5 Stars – An Awesome Book

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Beth D. said...

I think I am going to add this to the TBR. Awesome review!

Beth ^_^

Lindsay said...

Thanks! I enjoyed this book so much, I just hope I didn't over-hype it! :)

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