Monday, 22 July 2013

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Code Name Verity
by Elizabeth Wein

Summary: I have two weeks. You’ll shoot me at the end no matter what I do.

That’s what you do to enemy agents. It’s what we do to enemy agents. But I look at all the dark and twisted roads ahead and cooperation is the easy way out. Possibly the only way out for a girl caught red-handed doing dirty work like mine — and I will do anything, anything, to avoid SS-Hauptsturmführer von Linden interrogating me again.

He has said that I can have as much paper as I need. All I have to do is cough up everything I can remember about the British War Effort. And I’m going to. But the story of how I came to be here starts with my friend Maddie. She is the pilot who flew me into France — an Allied Invasion of Two.

We are a sensational team.
So, there was a lot of hype about this book. A lot. Up until about half of the way through the story, I was convinced I was going to be in the minority in not really liking it, but somewhere in the last half, something changed.

For a long time while reading, I sort of hated it, but I finished it crying and hugging the book to my chest because feelings. It gave me a lot of feelings...most involving tears.

I guess I should explain the hate part first. The main character...while I liked her and there were little moments when she'd make me laugh, I was so ridiculously bored reading the first part of the story. Seriously, the first 200-ish pages nearly bored me to tears (although, it should be noted that heatwave + me + the fact that most Scottish houses generally don't have AC = me being way more moody and likely to cry at stupid crap, like being really bored). It was only stubbornness and desire to see what all the fuss was about that kept me reading.

Those first 200 pages? They were kind of a chore to get through. They were just so dull and I felt indifferent to what was happening the majority of the time--I should have cared, because of the subject matter, but I just didn't give a damn through 90% of that part.

So yeah...that covers the hate part. It wasn't badly written, it wasn't an awful main character or anything like that, I was just bored and I hate being bored, especially when reading (especially during a heatwave when I just want a distraction from uncomfortable I am).

But then in the last half of the book, it gradually got a bit more interesting until I was actually really enjoying reading it and got caught up in the story. Then, eventually there was this one page that just hit me really hard and I realised that I had started to care and I kept on caring right until the end.

The way the first part of the book comes together with that second part (and I'm trying so very hard to explain things without spoilers), it was just done really well and in a really clever way and while I still maintain that that first chunk of the book was pretty dull, the latter part of the book made me appreciate all of the boring stuff and I was so glad I read it to the end.

The way the end plays out made the rocky start I had with the book worth it, and it's the love I felt for the last half of the book that lingered with me when I had finished, not the annoyance at being bored for days while trying to get through the first half (because it took me way longer than it should to read this).

It's really difficult to say more about the book without giving spoilers (which would ruin it), so I'll just sum up a few things I loved in a list:
  • I loved the main characters, and have a soft spot for a few of the side characters too.
  • I loved the fact that the book wasn't a romance and yet it won me over anyway (which doesn't happen often).
  • I loved the friendship in the book, that was maybe the main reason I loved the book. The friendship was the reason behind all of the feels happening while reading.
  • I loved that this was a book about WW2 that had women being totally bad ass in a way not often seen (at least not seen by me--usually the women are nurses or something, if anything).
  • I loved that the book made me cry.
  • I loved that it's one of the rare books I've read that portray a Scottish character in a way that I don't find inaccurate or infuriating (although, the phonetically written accents did still bug me when they happened, still definitely one of the best attempts I've seen).
I guess, in the end, I pretty much loved the book even though I spent roughly 200 of the 440 pages convinced I was going to hate it. I'd rate it 4 stars out of 5 (maybe 4.5, because it really is quite an achievement for a book to win me over so much that far into it). So, if you're like me and struggled through the first half, don't give up on it, because maybe in the end you'll think it was worth it too.

Anyway, I'm going to shut up now and go make fan art or a playlist or a fan cast or something for the book because...because this is what happens when a book gets under my skin like this one did. (Edit: see!)



  1. OMG OMG OMG OMG. THIS BOOK. I absolutely adore this book... I read it last year and it made it on to my Favourite Books of All Time. I love your review, and I totally think I know what page you're talking about. Also, isn't this book SO HARD to review without spoilers??

    Anyway, lovely review!

    1. Yup, me too - even though I didn't give it a full 5 stars, I still made room for it on my favourites shelf. And yeah, reviewing it without spoiling it was so difficult, I tried to not even use any character names in fear of spoiling it. =P

  2. The friendship is what really sold me on this book-I sent it to my three closest friends last year for Christmas and they adored it too. So hard to review without spoilers but you did a great job!

  3. I heart this book so much. And at first, I felt like you, too. But sometimes the slower stories are the ones that creep up on you without you even realizing it. Sometimes investing in the characters is what *makes* the book so special, the changes later on such a big deal. Without including my own spoiler, I actually had to walk away, I was so upset at one point. (Man, it got to me.)

    Glad you didn't stop reading, gave it a chance, and ended up liking it so much. :)

    P.S. I cannot *wait* to read Rose Under Fire. :D

  4. AH! Seriously, I could not read this book at first. I was so, so bored. This gives me hope! I can't wait to give it another shot now :)



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