Saturday, 11 August 2012
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
I liked Code Name Verity. It's a solidly written book with many well-plotted twists. I spent the first part of the book perplexed as there seemed to be a big difference between what Verity was saying (I'm petrified and will do anything to stop the torture) and her character, which was still lively and unbroken. As the book went on, the reasons for this became clearer and I understood Verity/Julie a lot better. Wein just about manages to pull off the deceit in the characters that makes the twists believable.
There is a lot of suffering and torture in Code Name Verity, but it wasn't hard hitting. Bad things happen to the characters and Wein tried to show the impact of that, but I never really felt it. I wanted to feel Verity's fear and pain but the way she wrote about it prevented that. Had I felt more connected to Verity, more "in her shoes", I would have enjoyed the book more than I did. I liked the plotting and trying to figure out who was telling the truth but there was always a distance in my reading experience. Essentially, the characters didn't feel 'real' for their situation; at times Verity felt like a modern teenager, not a teenager of war forced to grow up too quickly.
I did enjoy the character of Maddie though. She is more straightforward and written in a relatable way. When Maddie writes of her love of flying, I wanted to be right there in the plane with her, soaring over the white cliffs of Dover. As a whole, the book was a page turner and it was one I ripped through very quickly. It was just lacking that 'oomph' and depth to turn it from a book I liked to a book I loved.
First Published: 2012
Score: 3.5 out of 5
1. Jasmine Nights by Julia Gregson - Another story about a female spy during World War Two, this one about a singer in Egypt. The spy plot is written alongside a romance.
2. How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff - Excellent rendering of teenagers during an unnamed war. This book contains the emotion I felt was lacking in Code Name Verity.
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The premise of this book is really intriguing. (British Spy in France with German Nazis torturing her, hmm) I've read accounts of Jewish prisoners in Nazi camps and I had no problem feeling their torture and pain, which I think is really important in a book like this. I'll give it a go :)
ALSO I finally have my copy of A Suitable boy (it's HUGE) do I join the discussion now?
The premise is the reason I picked this book up, plus recommendations by bloggers. Yay for having a copy of A Suitable Boy, when you join in the discussion is up to you, post as little or as often as you like...Delete
You made me realize that I felt the same way about connecting and feeling for Verity. I think it was the way she told her story...it wasn't that riveting, almost flippant, and that made it difficult. I hadn't thought about that before. Great review!ReplyDelete
I thought I was the only one Annette, seeing the glowing reviews elsewhere. I think Verity's flippant tone was a survival mechanism for her, but it did stop the reader fully relating to her.Delete
I'm on the wait list at the library for this one. I've heard gushing reviews and lukewarm ones, but I'm intrigued enough to want to read it.ReplyDelete
Susan, I hope you enjoy it :)Delete
I've been curious about this book, but having read your review, I think I might wait til I can borrow a copy, rather than spending money buying it.ReplyDelete
To be honest, it's one I am glad that I got from the library as I can't see myself rereading it.Delete
I really loved this book! I admired the girls' friendship and their courage. I did feel more connected to Maddie, but Verity was trying to hide so much that she couldn't reveal herself fully. I wonder if the fear and pain were subdued because it is a young adult novel?ReplyDelete
Yes, the girls were very brave and I agree that Verity had some survival mechanisms going on, that's part of the reason I couldn't relate to her. I would like to think that they wouldn't shy away from fear and pain just because it's YA, that would be a bit patronising.Delete
Great review Sam. I am looking forward to reading this one at some point. I thought How I Live Now was an excellent book too, I like how you've given that as a suggestion to read.ReplyDelete
I loved How I Live Now - I spent the first part thinking Daisy was the most annoying teenager ever but once I got into it, I loved her. I appreciated recommended reads sections on other blogs so try to include them in my reviews if I can think of appropriate books to recommend!Delete
I've been hearing great things about this book, but it was nice to get another take on it.ReplyDelete
It's good to have balance :)Delete
It sounds like a very interesting topic for a book-the story of a captured spy... a pity the writer could not make the character easy to connect :)ReplyDelete
I know other readers connected more than I did, so it may just be me...Delete
I think this might be the first Code Verity review I've read that isn't completely gushing (felt like the first few weeks after The Night Circus came out).ReplyDelete
You've just reminded me - I still haven't read The Night Circus. I bought it when all the hype was around it and I've been waiting for the hype to die down so I can judge it properly. Code Name Verity is a good book, but it didn't make me want to gush.Delete
I agree the girls sometimes acted/spoke more like modern teens than those of the 1940s. I think the cool thing about this book is that you see Maddie best through Verity's eyes and Verity best through Maddie's.ReplyDelete
I'm glad you finally got the chance to read it, even if you didn't fall head over heels for it.
Lindsey, you're right about seeing each girl best through the other's eyes. I think Verity's aloofness was a survival mechanism, which I understood, but which made it hard for me to relate to her.Delete