Wine, food and travel writer, editor, and aspiring novelist.
I give Elizabeth Wein high marks for writing a compelling story, and the narrators are superb, but it's hard to give credence to the conceit of a confession written in literary style. There is another incredibly illogical action that I can't divulge without spoiling the book for other readers. But it makes no sense and that absolutely ruined the book for me.
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.
Obsessive reader, 6-10 books a week, chosen from Member reviews. Fact & fiction, subjects from the Tudors to Tookie, Harlem to Hiroshima, Huey Long to Huey Newton. In-depth fair reviews - from front to BLACK!!!
I wasn't aware that this book was considered to be in the Young Adult genre when I bought it. Not that it would have dissuaded me to pass on it. I bought it because of the huge array of glowing reviews. However, about 2 hours in, I thought I was listening to some other book. The way it's written is confusing with the "third person confession" aspect that I didn't really get at first. I couldn't figure out whom was whom and when certain events took place with respect to others. I had to re-read two dozen reviews just to discover that one of the key characters is a prisoner of war, being tortured and interrogated by the Gestapo as a spy!
Overall, the story is confusing and hard to follow. I love WWII stories, both fact and fiction, but this one was a disappointment. Maybe, after 2,000+ audiobooks, I'm a bit jaded but this book hardly qualifies for "the best book I've ever read", as claimed by other reviewers. It's not even in the top 50%! My advice to those readers is to get out more often!
I tried to put myself in the shoes of a YA reader yet I fail to see how this book really falls into that category. It's about grown women doing grown folks things. In some places it's a bit too violent for young people, even by today's over the top depictions of violence and sex. I think I may have enjoyed this book better if the reviews hadn't given me a false sense of its literary attributes. Also, the narrator(s) was just OK, not bothering to make much vocal distinction between the two main characters or even between men and women. Maybe I'm referring to only ONE narrator although two are listed - that's how confusing this story is. With one woman being from Manchester, England and the other one from Scotland, you'd think this would help in telling them apart. Perhaps, I missing something........ Just don't nod off or answer your phone while listening to this book! You will be even more confused!
If you liked this book, more power to you. I don't really buy into the idea that there are good books and bad books - only those which we either like or not. I did not like this one at all. However, I didn't hate it so much that I would warn others away. But neither can I truthfully recommend it.
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
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.
Addicted to books, both print and audio-.
I don't really know where to start; I can't say enough good things about this book. It's classified as young adult, but it is far more complex than much of YA literature, and holds its own as adult lit. The story itself is riveting, and the performances could not be better. The two protagonists are voiced perfectly. If the story itself weren't so compelling (which it is), you could just get lost in the characterizations. It's that beautiful. Neither narrator hits a wrong note. The writing is lovely, the story is intense and heartbreaking, and the two women are so *present* and believable. Just go listen to it!
Fast approaching retirement as a life long oncology nurse. I love family more than anything. I enjoy reading (audio only), movies, travels, paper crafting, photography, gardening and just being alive.
Wonderful, but painful story of two women best friends during World War II. I, personally, can't summarize this book, without giving too much away. Excellent story, excellent narration. It will definitely stick with you. I, also, agree with another reviewer that I need to go back and listen to the book again. I highly recommend this book - especially if you enjoy WWII historical fiction - with an added plus that the main characters are women!
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 had trouble connecting with this book, but I pressed on with it anyway. The positives are that it is very well-written, very detailed in regards to WWII aircraft and information (Which I enjoyed). But I just didn't like the story and I don't think it's such a superb book to have all these ews and awes about it. Women would probably get more out of it than men. I say that because there is a lot of emotion tied to it whereas other war books like Hemingway, etc. forego all the touchy feely bits.
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.