Monday, 6 May 2013

Review: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Released: 6 Febraruy 2012 (UK)
Publisher: Egmonst (UK)
Source: Bought
Reason for reading: Recommended by every author I adore
Rating: 5/5

Goodreads description:

I have two weeks. You’ll shoot me at the end no matter what I do.

That’s what you do to enemy agents. It’s what we do to enemy agents. But I look at all the dark and twisted roads ahead and cooperation is the easy way out. Possibly the only way out for a girl caught red-handed doing dirty work like mine — and I will do anything, anything, to avoid SS-Hauptsturmf├╝hrer von Linden interrogating me again.

He has said that I can have as much paper as I need. All I have to do is cough up everything I can remember about the British War Effort. And I’m going to. But the story of how I came to be here starts with my friend Maddie. She is the pilot who flew me into France — an Allied Invasion of Two.

My thoughts:

When all your favourite authors recommend a book, you read it. Even if you’re not sure it’s your thing. Even if you lent it to your mum and she couldn’t get passed the first chapter. Even if you’ve forgotten how much you actually love books set during WWII.

Code Name Verity was one of those books where, having read the first few pages, I could tell it was something special. It grabbed my attention easily and I felt like it was one of those books I was going to have a strong reaction to. I loved the way the story evolved; it starts off at what you think must be the end because where can you go from there? But the plot developed and changed and became so much more, which is amazing when it was so much to begin with.

The narration was so rich, considering it was a retelling of a sequence of events for the most part it was so rich in detail and so enjoyable which was mildly unnerving when you remember the situation. I loved how it was ever so slightly meta; how Queenie comments about the story she’s telling and comments about the story during the story and manipulates the events because she can’t remember them or because they work better this other way.

It was the shift that got me because, until then, I thought I knew how it was going to play out and then, suddenly, it was so different and unpredictable and everything made more sense which was amazing because it made sense anyway, but now it made MORE sense and everything suddenly had more meaning. This book has one of the most intricate plots ever and it was so brazen. It totally mirrors the attitude of one of the MC’s; so obvious that you miss what was there and what was going on.

There was this one moment that just hit me so hard and I just had to put the book down for a moment and just absorb what had happened because it was so impactful. That basically never happens to me and I just really desperately wanted it to have not happened and yet so amazed that it had happened.

I love how the story was mostly about friendship and overcoming adversity and while there was *some* romance (I think there’s debate over how much) it by no means drove or watered down the story.

TL;DR: Code Name Verity is one of the most masterful, absorbing and emotional books I have ever read. Set against the backdrop of a time of upheaval and horror, the WWII setting really adds to the ambiance of the story and develops the already admirable and lovable characters in ways that make you root for them even more. It's safe to say this Allied Invasion of Two will be in my head and my heart for a long time. 

I am giving away a copy of either Code Name Verity or Out of the Easy. Giveaway open internationally, simply enter via the Rafflecopter widget:

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  1. I have heard amazing things about this book! It's rated five stars by nearly everyone I know. I like historical fiction, but I kind of have to be in the mood for it, so I've been putting this one off, but I really need to bump it up my list now - really like the sound of the unexpected twist!

  2. This sounds so, so good. I've been meaning to read it for months now but just haven't gotten around to buying it so, of course, I entered your giveaway. Lovely review, Cait! :)

  3. I think I'll have to re-read Code Name Verity soon :)

  4. Great review - this has been sitting on my shelf for a while, I really need to read it!

  5. Despite all of the amazing praise and awards and having this book on my shelf since its release I still haven't read it yet! I really hope I get around to it this year. I'm glad you loved it and thank you so much for the giveaway. I'm hoping for Out of the Easy. :)

  6. I've just read it myself and I completely agree. Such a powerful story! The narration was so intricate, so cleverly devised, it made the energy and suspense of the book so high I read about 200 pages without stopping.


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