Friday, 12 April 2013

Code Name Verity

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-Hauptsturmfuhrer 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.

We are a sensational team.

I am always on the look out for different types of YA fiction.  Having seen Elizabeth Wein's WWII set Code Name Verity being reviewed positively on quite a few other blogs, I decided to get a copy out from the library.

Code Name Verity is interesting without being too teachy, even if now, after reading, I can't remember all the details about the various planes used in WWII.  However, it's hard to talk about this book in depth without giving away major plot developments.  So, as usual, I will try to be as vague as possible. 

All of the twists and turns that are expected from a novel about war time espionage are there, feeding my love of an unreliable narrator.  The epistolary style can take some getting used to, especially when it doesn't seem like some of the narrative should be included in the girl's accounts.  The latter half of the novel changes to a first person narrative with a few letters added in, providing a secondary look on what has already been divulged.

Yet, more than this, Code Name Verity is about the strength of friendship.  There's no big romance to be found here, only the 'Allied Invasion of Two'.  The relationship between the two leads is portrayed excellently.  I was continually shown why these two girls were best friends and I believed in them.  I also liked that Wein  gave her 'villain' Hauptsturmfuhrer a family, emphasising that normal people did horrible things in the war because they had to.

The ending is heart-breaking, but then Wein's tale could not have ended in any other way.  Also, if you normally skip the author's acknowledgements at the end, then make an exception for those as the end of Code Name Verity.  I found them to be extremely informative, and answered a few of my questions.   For example, why are some of the locations in her tale non-existent/misnamed?

I thought this was a great book.  No romance, kick-ass heroines and a cover that ties into the novel: what more could I ask for?  Admittedly I did get a little unenthused about reading somewhere in the middle, but if you're fed up of YA dystopia's and fancy something a bit different, then why not give Code Name Verity a try?

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