I can find a book to love in any genre -- a beautifully written classic, an interesting mystery or sci-fi, a trashy romance. Bring it!
STORY (historical fiction) - Code Name Verity is the story of two young women who each play a very important role in thwarting Hitler's advances in Europe. The first half is told by Verity, a radio operator who later becomes a spy. She is also referred to as Queenie, Ava Siler, First Officer Beaufort-Stewart and Julie, which can be a little confusing. She becomes a prisoner of war and is tortured into writing a confession, so her story alternates between her life in prison and flashbacks to events as they actually happened. (Her torture wouldn't have been a picnic, but I'm pretty squeamish and it didn't bother me to hear it.)
Maddy's story is approximately the last half of the book. She is a pilot who flies secret missions and is the one who flew Verity to Nazi-occupied France. Her story dovetails with and goes beyond Verity's.
I almost stopped listening several hours into the book because it seemed to be just the story of young women becoming best friends during the war, but as the secret missions started, etc., it got VERY interesting and intense.
PERFORMANCE - There are two young female narrators. Verity sounds Scottish and Maddy sounds more British, in keeping with their characters. There's also singing and a short performance by a male narrator. Everything is well-done.
OVERALL - (Actual rating 3.5) Very exciting book after the slow start. Since it occurs during World War II, there are mature themes. Guys won't like the female bonding part of the story but will enjoy the covert activities and historical background.
This book has gotten much, much love from bloggers and Young Adult aficionados in general. Because girls! In World War II! And it's kind of a little bit dark with Nazis, toned down to YA levels.
Code Name Verity is a girls' adventure story about a pilot and a secret agent, both based in historical reality though the author admits in her afterword that she took a bit of fictional license to allow her young female pilot to fly a plane into occupied France.
As the book begins, Julie, the secret agent half of this best friends duo, is writing a confession to her German captors. She got caught as an enemy spy when she looked the wrong way crossing a street in France, and now she's in the hands of the SS. The first half of the book is her story. She is Scheherazade, trying to prolong her life by giving away secrets and playing mind-games with her captors, games she can't possibly win.
Then comes the second half, which is Maddie's tale, Maddie being the working class girl who became a pilot, who crashed in France, and now works with the French Resistance. She learns of Julie's capture and want to free her. Of course.
Much has been made in reviews of the "shocking twist," which I shall not spoil, but let's just say it is dramatic and moving but not wholly unexpected and certainly not as wrenching for adult readers who have read war stories before. Likewise, the horrors of the Nazi occupation are described, but the author spares the reader the worst.
This isn't a flaw in the book per se — not every war story has to be gory and brutal to excess, but I was constantly reminded that this was a YA novel meant to stir an emotional response. The focus is on Julie and Maddie's friendship and we are treated to long internal monologues regarding everything that passes through their heads.
The story was good and so was the writing, but despite the cleverness of an unreliable narrator, it seemed to be written to appeal to a different sort of reader. Code Name Verity tries very hard to yank your heartstrings and make you shiver with dread at appropriate times. For a teenage girl, this is maybe a near-perfect book. For me, merely decent.
Tangential, eclectic, avid listener... favorite book is the one currently in ear.
For mature YA's and adults it's an award winning read, quite intense yet uplifting. Such a difficult story to tell right... Elizabeth Wein deserves accolades for her creative presentation. I was a little irritated with the point of view jumping around from first to third and back again... and also the inconsistencies in what Queenie should know of Maddie versus the great amount of detail she shares. Thus the four stars. However, once the tale is told the reader understands this and I found in going back and listening to previously irritating spots... knowing the end made them brilliant. WWII as experienced in occupied France as a prisoner and spy was new for me and I enjoyed the historical insight. The resilience of the main characters makes what they endure much more bearable for the reader. It has the feel of "The Potato Peel Pie Society." I will read again.
Addicted to Audible!
I listened to half this book, got confused, because I wasn't really paying attention and had to go back and start over. I am glad that I did or I would have missed a gem. This book was well written, great details and the author did not stereotype her characters, they were all multidimensional. It was hard to believe that the story was fiction. I liked the fact that 2 narrators were used, rather than one changing her accent, it made it less confusing. It's definately worth your time and credit
Two characters told the story and the narrative went back and forth between them. I liked both the characters and the story caught my interest. Both women are placed in extraordinary circumstances because of the war. They were amazing women but the author had me believing that it could be possible. I had tears in my eyes at the end and since I was running while listening to the story I might have looked a bit odd to fellow runners and walkers!
The book reminds me of other action adventure novels except the two main characters are women and men play only a supporting role.
I always think it is almost like a play when there are different characters to listen to.
This is an enjoyable, engaging listen.
Overall it was just too longwinded and boring for me. I know it was supposed to be "longwinded" in the fact that Verity needs to extend her tale as much as possible because she is a prisoner but there is only so much I can read about the different types of airplanes, controls, and flight patterns.
The performance was great actually in that she nailed the accent to my ear at least, was easy to understand, and not annoying.
Overall I just couldn't get into it, and sadly quit about a quarter of the way through. It's just that every time I tuned into listen I would get bored, easily distracted and pulled from the story, and then need to rewind to figure out what was happening. Especially as the main character has so many names and jumps from time to time.
I hear voices. But maybe that's because there's always an Audible book in my ear.
I tend not to like YA books. I just don't. I never would have listened to this one if I'd known up front is was considered YA - and that would have been a pity. I would have missed a terrific listen.
While not history but historical fiction, I thought much of what happened was possible. It seems that more and more I hear about specific women and their role in WWII. I am astounded that their names are not well known to all of us. This is a perfect illustration of the kinds of things women did during the war - often without recognition.
There are plenty of plot summaries already written. They border on being spoilers and that's unfortunate. Listen to this book with an open mind and just let it take you.
The narration is spot on. I cannot imagine anyone doing it any better.
The voice actors were completely wonderful. I generally don't prefer audiobooks because the narration can be so flat, but I loved the narrators in Code Name Verity.
I loved Verity. She became such a deep character as the story unfolded.
Morven and Lucy both did a fantastic job of bringing their characters to life, but I could have listened to Morven Christie talk all day.
Julie, she would have so much to say. Also for other reasons, but I can't say without spoiling bits of the story.
The book tends to be marketed as YA, but I believe that this is a fulfilling read for any age group.
I haven't read the print version, but listening made the story very immediate -- and the narrators' voices made the point of view completely clear.
I don't want to spoil anything for those who haven't read the book, but there were several points in the story that moved me to tears, or shocked me breathless. The author creates a vivid picture of WW II, and it was particularly neat to get a war story from two women's points of view -- and from women who weren't sitting on the sidelines, either!