Code Name Verity – Elizabeth Wein

Code Name VerityThis isn’t the type of book that I usually read. It’s more thoughtful, probably because it is in the genre of historical fiction. Usually I read dystopia-type books, which are in a way thoughtful, but not quite like this. I find that whenever anybody reads a historical fiction book, it almost comes to life, but in the past, rather than the present, do you get what I mean? Because when it is historical fiction, I can imagine it better, which can be good or bad. Good in the sense that it makes the book a more enjoyable read, but bad in the sense that I feel all depressed now, because it almost scars me to think that it could have so easily been real, and no one would know, because so many people go missing in war, and it would be have been so hard to record every single persons story. As you can see, I am still in shock from the awesomeness of the book. This whole day I have been staring off into space, because of this book. I’m not even joking.

Summary
It tells the story of two women during World War 2. The first half of the book talks about a woman (sorry, I’m deliberately being vague here) who has been captured and has two weeks left to live. She has collaborated with the enemy, and has given 11 sets of code (just to let you know, that is A LOT) and she is writing a confession, which is what we read for the first half of the story. And the second half… I can’t say. It would be a major plot spoiler.

Cons
The Pace at the beginning
It was so slow… At some points I thought to myself, “Why am I forcing myself to read this?” But rest assured, it was worth it. It sped up considerately at the end. I only wish that the beginning was faster, rather than setting-the-scene pace.

And that’s just about the only Con!

Pros
The Quotes
They were all just so clever, and I loved how each quotes had it’s own hidden meaning (e.g. Careless talk costs lives = Shut up, but in a nice way) . Maybe I’ll try using it sometime, And the “Kiss me HARDY,” almost made me cry at the end. And I almost never cry. The only other book that has done this to me is Monsters of Men.

The Twist
There so were many twists. I can’t say any more.

The Cover
It’s just so complicated, and reflects the book entirely! Every little detail on that cover means something. From the little plane in the corner, to the red circle around Verity. The little bloodstains at the top just make it all the more real, and the more terrifying at what the interrogation was like.

The Writing Style
I have never read a book that has been written in a confession like way. And I loved it. I also loved how she wrote it in third person. It just meant that we could connect equally as well with Maddie in the past and the narrator in the present. It is truly a unique book.

The Confusion
Usually this would go into the cons category, but for this book, I feel that the confusion was a good thing, but I do think that it was overdone, as, if someone was actuall- sorry. I can’t continue, otherwise I might have given away something.

The Characters
Maddie: I loved how…

(urgh… this is so hard to do a review for, because there are so many potential plot spoilers….. hm… how do I phrase this? OK, I’m going to try to put this into code, so only if you have read this book, you can understand.)

I loved how we never actually meet her, that we only heard about her through the truth, and when we did see through the eyes of Kittyhawk, I suddenly thought; I have never actually met Maddie, but I also feel as if I know her through the truth. I wouldn’t say that that was my best ever code, but I guess it will do! Maybe I should become some sort of Watson/ Sherlock/ Moriarty!

The Truth: I really want to say some of her best attributes, but if I do, I’m worried about unintentionally giving you a hint that may lead to a spoiler. Can I just say, also in code, I loved moments like “Kiss me HARDY,” when she could communicate without spilling out what she actually wanted them to do. I think I’m kind of getting into this code thing.

SS-Hauptsturmführer von Linden: As his name is so long, I’m just going to avoid saying it. At the beginning, he seemed to be the one whom I thought was the villain, but no, as I kept reading, he became more and more human in my mind. I loved the little details that made him more of a human being, rather than a heartless maniac. It just made him more of a 3D character.

Favourite Quotes

  • “It’s like being in love, discovering your best friend.”
  • “KISS ME, HARDY! Kiss me, QUICK!”
  • “Careless talk costs lives”
  • “I am no longer afraid of getting old. Indeed I can’t believe I ever said anything so stupid. So childish. So offensive and arrogant.
    But mainly, so very, very stupid. I desperately want to grow old.”
  • “The anticipation of what they will do to you is every bit as sickening in a dream as when it is really going to happen”
  • “A whore, we’ve established that, filthy, it goes without saying, but whatever else the hell I am, I AM NOT ENGLISH.”
  • “Please come back soon. The window is always open.” (A reference from Peter Pan)

Summary
WOW. This is one of the longest reviews that I’ve written, so if you’ve read all of this , and aren’t clouded by the vagueness of it, get your hands on this book! And if you are befuddled by this review, you can either trust me and read this book, or just ignore this review, and keep leading your happy, un-depressing life. And to be honest, I can understand if you don’t trust me – this is one of the vaguest reviews I have ever written. When I was reading this book, I was thinking, “Why are there so many good reviews about this book? It seems just average to me.” But after reading: “I can’t believe I ever doubted this book. It is one of the best historical fiction books I have ever read!” If you are currently reading it, and you aren’t entirely convinced, force yourself to finish it! I did, and I didn’t regret it! So, I would say, 4.5 shuriken stars!

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Eleni on June 13, 2012 at 9:27 am

    Code Name Verity left me shaken and obsessed when I read it — that was quite a while ago, but your review made me cry all over again.

    Reply

    • Thank- you! It’s always nice when I find that people take the time to read through my reviews! 😀
      I understand what you mean completely though, ever since I have read it I get these suddenly depressing moments when I get reminded of the book… 😦

      Reply

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