Code Name Verity – Elizabeth Wein

I understand that this is a very popular book among a lot of people, and I also understand that it represents a lot of important people and a pivotal moment in history but… I really struggled to get on with this book…

This book is a little complicated to describe but I’ll do my best… in brief this book is about two best friends who are both heavily involved in WWII and both end up in Nazi occupied France. Things very quickly turn south as one of them is arrested by the Gestapo, will she tell them all she knows or will she sit in brave silence?

I’m going to start with the positives! This book was interesting, I learned a lot about various roles during the war, especially women’s roles and how much of a big part they played in terms of spying and finding out vital information during WWII. I really do think that some people would really like this book because it was interesting but it just wasn’t my cup of tea.

My main issue with this book is that the story is completely mixed up. Most of the time I didn’t know what was going on and when I did figure it out it would change… To give you a sense of this, the first half of the book is one of the characters (I would say their name but it would be a spoiler and they have so many bleeding names!!) writing about her whole life to the Gestapo. Although this is really clever and an interesting idea, in my eyes it set the book off to a bad start because I have literally NO clue what was going on and it made me instantly disinterested.

Also there was no break between what this character was writing to the Gestapo and what they were thinking or physically saying out-loud to Gestapo officers… if that makes sense? Also you’re learning everything about this world and these people’s lives through someone spilling their guts to the Gestapo who would torture them had they not said anything, so how do we know if it’s at all true? Plus, none of these stories you’re learning about are chronological and basically the whole first half of the book makes no sense. I hope i’m not being ignorant, it’s just my opinion, perhaps I was just being too stupid to understand it?

I really wish I enjoyed this book more because it was such an interesting subject that has always fascinated me. But in my opinion this book was somewhat let down by the style in which it was put together. I do stress though that others will enjoy this book! But it most definitely isn’t the book for you if you don’t like a book that you have to persevere with, it is also good to keep in mind that you really have to concentrate with this book, it isn’t great to read late at night before you go to bed because it will literally make no sense.

With that in mind I’m going to give this book a 2 out of 5 stars… it just wasn’t for me but from seeing other reviews it does seem as though it’s a Marmite book…


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