Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Code Name Verity

by Elizabeth Wein

Grade: 4 1/2 stars
Story: She is caught in a Nazi prison, and like the coward she is, she gives in and tells them everything. As in, everything. She writes down her story from the point of view of her best friend Maddie, one of the very few female pilots in WWII. And I'm not going to write any more story description, because I don't want to give anything away.
(Note: Sorry for the lack of a Name in the above story description. There is a good reason for it.)

Thoughts: The only--let me repeat, only--thing wrong with my reading experience for this book was my too high expectations. Every review and comment I read said it was utterly fantabulous. With books like that, I expect to enjoy them as much as The King of Attolia. And I never do. So I always leave just the tiniest bit disappointed. And thus it was with this book. But I'm trying to ignore that, because it's a rather silly emotional issue. So, other than that:
It was soooo awesome! Espionage! Friendship! Airplanes! Torture! Indomitable Scots!

Primary Source of Awesomeness: Elizabeth Wein's biggest strength--I personally believe--even over her  plotting and prose, is the complete depth of all of her characters. I mean, she gave the evil Nazi interrogator depth, for Pete's sake! The only other book I've read by her, The Winter Prince, has as the protagonist one of the most complex characters I've met. I am now firmly resolved to read every single book she's written. They can be slightly hard to get through at the beginning, from my two-book experience, but always worth it in the end.

Secondary Source of Awesomeness: This is one of the very, very few female bromances around. Just in case anyone doesn't know, a bromance is basically a friendship so deep that it is very much like a romance in some ways. Except that there isn't any, you know, Romantic elements. So think...Holmes and Watson, I suppose (especially in the Moffat/Gatiss Sherlock series). Or if you're a Chesterton fan, Turnball and McIan from The Ball and the Cross (awesome, though strange, book; one of my favourites.) Troy and Abed from Community is a great example too. As might be deduced from the name bromance, you seem to find this much more in fictional men than in fictional women. For most of the fictional women I know, if they have a female friend at all, that friend is delineated to the sidelines. Often as a funny sidekick who only says a few lines. (The most recent example I can think of is the very funny, but not very important, best friend of Natalie Portman from Thor). I am constantly on the lookout for female equivalents, because I know FROM EXPERIENCE that this kind of friendship is NOT specifically male.

"It's like being in love, discovering your best friend."

P.S. I was thinking about talking about the morality of one of the main plot twists. But I think I won't. Because a) it is one of the main plot twists; and I'm worried you wouldn't be able to help yourself and you'll read what I write despite the big SPOILER warning, and b) I don't feel like writing about it. But if you are reading this after you've read the book, know that I disagree with Jamie's assessment. I think. I dunno. It's hard to tell. I don't want to think about it too hard due to...reasons.

P.P.S. I think there'll be a Top Ten (Or So) Bromances list coming soon. I've been wanting to do one for ages, but it needed the right book to set it off.

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