Friday, August 02, 2013

Book 95: Code Name Verity

This was such a great novel!  I was very impressed with the story and how much research the author incorporated into the book.  The novel begins with the written confession of "Verity," or Queenie as she refers to herself, a British agent captured in France by German agents.  After being tortured, she has agreed to give the Germans the information they want and has already revealed codes.  Given her status, she knows she has very little time left before she dies, and realizes that once they have her confessions she will likely die or get sent somewhere even worse than the Gestapo headquarters.  As a result, her confessions may seem a bit long, chronicling her friendship with Maddie, an English pilot, before she finally reveals more about herself and her mission, but her captors are both impatient and oddly tolerant of her tangents.  The commander of the Gestapo frightens Queenie but often surprises her with his knowledge of literature, even stating that she is a student of the novel, and writing her story in that way.  Queenie does an amazing job of telling her and Maddie's story while interspersing her present day predicament and the fear she faces.
I tend to focus more on the Holocaust when I read about World War II, so it was fascinating to read about the French Resistance and the way the British supported them (don't call Queenie English - she is Scottish!).  Additionally, the two women, Maddie and Verity, are just such great characters and it was a joy to see their friendship develop, even knowing that the ending wasn't going to be good.  Maddie is the one that flew Verity into France, and the plane crashed after Verity had to jump out, leaving Maddie's fate questionable.
I really loved this novel, and definitely recommend it.  My only complaint isn't with the novel but with the version I had which had a description inferring that there was a twist, so I spent the first few chapters thinking that Queenie was actually Maddie since she was writing so much about Maddie ... there's no crazy twist like that though there are surprises to the narrative and more going on than at first meets the eye. 


Anna said...

I didn't know what to make of this book at first, but I kept going with the flow and ended up loving it. So much so that I made my daughter read it...and she loved it too. :)

Malin said...

So glad you liked it. I try to get as many people as possible to read the book, because it's so good, and it's based on true events, it's not just another dystopian future vision or paranormal love triangle, which seems to be the two most popular flavours of YA literature these days.